Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Ban the Scan"

Here [this link now broken, see here for story] is an encouraging story of parents, who's school district in Massachusetts were going to fingerprint children without parents permission.

After parent pressure and ACLU's involvement, the school district have backed down and made the biometric catering system "optional" - as yet not implemented.

Patti Crossman, a parent, concerned that her child would get scanned anyway designed a pair of snazzy buttons. Both say "Ban the Scan" a clear message to any adult. Patti also wrote to each school committee member, in order to voice concerns.

"I can't believe that I have to sign a permission slip for my child to take a field trip, or fill out a booklet for him to attend Nature and Me, but bio-scanning was going to just happen without any parental consideration," Crossman said recently, as she awaited a decision on a newly implemented "Do Not Scan List."

The response from the members was encouraging. School committee member Jordan H. F. Fiore said:

"As a matter of privacy, parents should have an option. We are living in a democratic society, and we should have the freedom to opt out; not that this is some '1984' kind of nosiness. I think it's important to always give parents an option."

Another school committee member Cathal D. O'Brien commented that parents could refuse their child to be scanned and said "It's none of our business the reason."

Laws are already in place in Iowa and Illinois that demand explicit parental consent for biometric scanning of any child in school. Maybe we might see a move to introduce a similar law in Massachusetts, as the precedent has already been set in these two other states.

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