Parents Upset Over Lunchtime Palm Scanner
$300,000 system leads to privacy concerns.
Parents of students at Carroll County schools in Baltimore say a new policy that scans kids’ palms to pay for their lunches goes too far.
With the PalmSecure system, students hover their hands over an infrared scanner that ID’s them by the unique patterns in their skin and registers a sale, according to a report from the Daily Herald.
The Herald talked to Mike Richmond, who has two children at a Westminster elementary school. He said the scanning started before parents were given the chance to opt out.
"I didn’t appreciate how they handled it. I’m concerned about it. I know it’s the way of the future, but it’s fingerprinting, it’s palm-printing."
The district said the goal is to decrease the time it takes to pay for lunches since the children have a limited amount of time to eat their meals.
The controversial system is operating in three Carroll County elementary schools with plans to expand to the whole district within a year. It’s also used in many other schools around the country where there have also been concerns about invasion of privacy as well as the cost of the system. Once implemented, PalmSecure will run the Carroll County district about $300,000.
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Photo: Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images
So every kid in the school has to touch the thing before they eat? Kind of throws that whole "wash your hands before you eat" thing out the window, huh.
So they are spending $300,000 to prevent the ocassional theft of a $2 lunch?
Lets just assume this machine prevents $10,000 of theft in a school district (Probley too much, but we will go with it). It will take 30 years just to break even from the cost of the system! This school does not have a very good return in their investment.
Something tells me they did not perform the standard business cost-benifit analyses.
Why not just have bar codes on their student ID cards? Every school where I've lived, from kindergarten through highschool, the students have an ID card with a bar code so they can check out books from the library and log into the school computers. Why not just add the facet of paying for lunches that way? Then parents would not have to worry about and 'privacy' issues by what essentially is a biogenic reader/scanner, and the schools would have a fast way to get the kids through the lunchline.
This is really the school's fault though. Allow the kids enough time to actually eat their lunches without having to choke them down in 10 minutes. It's not healthy or helpful to their learning process.
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