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Ohio School District Tests Fingerprint Scanners for Lunch Payments

A school district in Ohio is now testing the use of biometric fingerprint scanners for students to pay for their school lunches, a report reveals.

Students at three schools in the Westerville City School District are participating in a pilot program where fingerprint scanners are being used to identify students and assess lunch fees.

The new scanners are being tested at Pointview and Longfellow Elementaries, as well as Blendon Middle School in Westerville, Ohio, a small suburban town north of Columbus.

Proponents of the scanners say the new system is faster and more efficient.

“We have a limited amount of time for lunch in a day and it varies from age group to age group. So we have a lot of kids to serve and that experience in their day is what’s important to me,” said Kari Dennis, manager of Food Services for Westerville City Schools.

Dennis also noted that the plastic lunch cards that the children formerly used were often problematic.

“Kids would often play with them. Sometimes they would slide them into register vents. Sometimes they would crack in half and then it stops the line,” she said.

“I think it’s just easier too because we used to do a lunch card system,” a student told the local NBC affiliate.

The website FINDBiometrics notes that the data being maintained is “relatively secure.”

The program is “being undertaken in a relatively secure way, with students’ biometric data encrypted and stored with the same level of security applied to other records kept by the schools, and later deleted when a given student graduates or is otherwise no longer enrolled,” the webpage states.

FINDBiometrics also reports that the cost of the scanners is $3,731 per school.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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