PUYALLUP, Wash. – Washington’s Puyallup School District plans to have palm-scanning devices in all of its 32 schools by the end of the school year, which will allow students to pay for their lunch with a wave of a hand.
The scanners work by using infrared technology to look for vein patterns in palms, reports Kirotv.com.
A district spokesman praised the scanners’ “efficiency” and said they will reduce human error and fraud, and will allow parents to know how much their children are spending on lunch.
Who knew there was so much fraud and human error involved in school lunch programs?
As noble as cracking down on those things may be, some parents say the costs to students’ privacy outweigh any benefits.
“If the school district needs my signature in order to obtain my daughter’s photograph and use that photograph in publication because of a privacy issue, then I believe I should have to sign an authorization to use my child’s identity … for them to do that,” said parent Christina Allen.
But district officials believe that parents should not worry.
“It doesn’t take a picture of a finger print or a handprint, it simply connects the activity of the vein to the number system (to) the account where the parents have already given us their Visa number or MasterCard number and paid for lunches,” said Brian Fox, a district spokesman. “It’s the same information we already keep like Social Security numbers and phone numbers and addresses, we are charged with keeping confidential.”
Yet there are still many parents who are not buying into what the district is saying and find this program to be troubling.
“To hear those words ‘vein recognition program’ … it’s very invasive to me. What is it in my daughter’s veins … they need to photograph?” Allen questioned.
Students do have the option of opting out of using the scanners, and accessing their accounts by punching in an identification number, reports the story.
The district reportedly spent $38,695 on 71 devices.