A finger is scanned through an Anderson District 5 school's new lunchroom system. (Oct. 18, 2012/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Biometric eye or finger scans may take one's thoughts to movies like Minority Report, but now similar technology is in use in some Upstate school lunchrooms.
Anderson District 5 is piloting a new program for kids to pay for their lunches by touching their forefinger to a scanner. That scanner reads the picture of their fingerprint as their student ID. District officials said they are trying it because they are looking for efficiency in cafeterias.
So far principals at the two pilot schools, Calhoun Academy of the Arts and Whitehall Elementary, said the new technology gets an entire grade through the lunch line in just 10 minutes.
Instead of showing a card, saying a name or even typing in a pin number, the finger scan takes less than a second. It reads the finger like a barcode and turns it into a number.
The school district said no fingerprint is stored in the system.
One mom at Calhoun Academy said while she loves technology, she thinks this gets a little too personal.
Gabrielle Murdock said her son was sick the day notes went home to parents about the system, but she's upset there was no permission needed for the students to begin participation.
Murdock thinks the new system is a breach of her son's rights, and she wishes that parents had more of an opportunity to prevent the district from taking kids' fingerprints before it was too late.
Murdock said this is the kind of program that should be opt-in versus opt-out.
If the pilot programs continue to go well over the next few months, the other elementary schools in Anderson District 5 could see the scanners soon. If lunches go well, the technology may be used in media centers when kids check out books.
Murdock hopes the district will give parents more of a warning. She wants information to be posted on the District 5 website.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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