Thursday, April 19, 2007

Parent pressure works in Taunton, MA.

Taunton, Massachusetts, schools district committee have "banned the scan" [this link now broken, see here for story]after parents successfully put a solid case together opposing the use of the technology in schools for lunch line payments.

Initially all children were going to be fingerprinted regardless of whether or not they had a school lunch. After nearly 5 months of campaigning these parents have convinced the school board it is an inappropriate technology to be used with children. With security experts around the world echoing the concerns of parents this has been an expensive $40,000 lesson for the school district to learn.

It is clearly is the case now that the drive to improve administration time along with the industry's marketing should be carefully weighed up with parental consultation and informed research into the technology before purchase.

"I am thrilled that the battle is won, but the war is not over," said parent Patti Crossman, minutes after her rallying cry, "Ban the Scan," had finally reached beyond the button on her shirt and materialized as school policy.

Crossman and a determined team of parents, new faces joining each week, have attended each school committee meeting since the issue first surfaced in February.Each night, they took over the podium, one by one, carefully delivering their argument layer by layer.

And piece by piece, the committee listened, some members spending hours outside of public session researching the controversial technology for themselves.

"I am very happy that the committee 'banned the scan,' " Crossman said. "It gives us more time to work with our state legislators to get laws in place, without worrying that the scanning will have already begun.

What can I say - well done to the parents and school committee for looking into this and making a informed decision. Lets hope the legislators now follow suit.

Well done Patti and all!

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