SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Biometric Scanning
By Charlanne Thomas


December 17, 2011

First of all, I would like to make it very clear that I am in no way criticizing the staff of Point Higgins School. I realize they have a difficult job and I appreciate their dedication to our children. My complaint is with technology that is implemented without my consent. Biometric scanning has been implemented at Point Higgins school in an attempt to alleviate manual input of student lunch records and supposedly the library. While I understand that we live in an age where technology is expected, this process was completed on my child without my approval. When I discovered that his finger had been scanned and stored as a "10-digit binary code", it was too late. His unique code has been stored and is available, whether it is deleted or not. I'm sure the School District backs up their systems on a nightly basis, and once something is in a system, it's there for years.

I don't care if the information is "protected" behind firewalls, encryption, or passwords. Any system can be hacked and any system will be hacked eventually. Even after hearing the explanation, I insisted my child be removed from this system. It is not okay to take something like that without my permission. Identifying a child in an elementary school in Ketchikan should not be this difficult - after all we are not in New York City! This school district has always taken steps to protect our children, to the point of them hiding in their classrooms and pretending someone is trying to hurt them during a Code Red drill. As a parent, I am not allowed to send a cough drop to school with my child because it's considered medicinal, but the school can scan my child's finger to obtain an identifier that is unique to them. Retinal scans and DNA swabs are sure to come next.

Since these numbers will follow our children until they graduate, what guarantee do we have it will stop there? Anyone could obtain a subpeona for the biometric information of our students and there's nothing parents could do. Nothing is ever truly deleted from a computer! Anyone with a computer knows that.

Ketchikan prides itself on being a small community where everyone helps everyone else, and everyone knows everyone else. Is it really necessary to reduce my child down to a finger scan??!! Personally, I can think of much better ways to spend district funds. I emailed my concerns to the entire school board, specifically requested a response, and only four responded. After reading the article concerning last nights meeting, I feel more people need to be made aware of this new technology. I am against this new system, and I will continue to deny my approval.

Charlanne Thomas
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Parent of a Point Higgins student."

Received December 15, 2011 - Published December 17, 2011



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