Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Biometric lunch line runs up student debts in Idaho

Times News magazine reports that in Twin Falls schools, Idaho, the cashless biometric fingerscan system is racking up debts of up to "$600 in unpaid lunches - the highest unpaid school-lunch balance in the school's history."

Lunch trays of hot food were dumped in the rubbish bin! 150 students were given a 'sack lunch' whilst being charged full price hot meals.

It was perfectly legal, and it was not done to set those students apart from the others," said Mary Lu Barry, secondary programs director for the Twin Falls School District. "It was done to send the message to students that if they want regular school lunch they have to pay the fee."

But even after this humiliation some students didn't pay up.

"What we found is that most of the students had the money, but they just weren't paying for their lunch," she said. "On Monday, some of the students just went to their lockers and got the money to pay for their lunch."

Just as the Boston Globe reports that lunch line fingerprint scanners have been delayed in Taunton, Massachusetts, as a result of privacy and security concerns, perhaps now a cost evaluation study should be done as well to see whether or not other cases of debt have happened with similar cashless lunch systems.

Bearing the associated student debt in Twin Falls, maybe the $40,000+ planned to be spent on similar systems in Massachusetts should be carefully considered.

I wonder what children are actually learning from all this?

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