Ban of biometrics in Tampa Bay area schools - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Ban of biometrics in Tampa Bay area schools

Posted: Updated:
State legislature may ban palm scans like these in Pinellas schools. State legislature may ban palm scans like these in Pinellas schools.
TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLA) -

Use of biometric devices in two Tampa Bay area schools prompted the state legislature to take a hard look at the use of personal information of students.

Last week the Senate in Tallahassee passed a ban on the use of biometrics in schools. A house version by Representative Jake Raburn, (R)Valrico, is ready to go to the floor at any time.

Raburn said it important to protect students' privacy and personal information.

"When we look at big data breaches, credit card numbers , we can get a new credit card number, we can get a new debit card number but we can't change our fingerprints and can't change our eyes," said Raburn. 

Rep. Raburn said he was first contacted by worried parents after some controversy in Polk County.

Polk County parents were outraged last year when they learned that their children's eyes were being scanned before they entered buses in a pilot program to keep track of students.

Parents were not informed of the use of biometrics before the plans were implemented.

In Pinellas County, palm scanners are being used to check children into the lunch line. The school district paid more than $176,000 for the scanners four-years ago. 

Parents can go online to transfer money into their student's lunch account. After getting their lunch tray, students place their hand over the scanner and it brings up their account on the cashier's screen, and deducts the cost of the lunch. Also, students on free or reduced lunches are not singled out publicly. 

Parents are notified of the palm scanners and can choose to opt out for their child.

Wendy Huntington, who has a daughter at Osceola Middle School, doesn't believe the scanners should be banned.

"I don't know if that's a good idea. I think it's helped the school system. It's expedited the school lunch lines, she puts her hand in there and she's good to go through the line. Before they had to look it up by name and by grade and it slowed everything down," said Huntington.

If the bill becomes law, Pinellas would no longer be able to use the scanners.

"If that's the will of the legislature, so be it. We want to protect the children at all costs, so we'll find another way," said Art Dunham, Pinellas Schools Food Service Director.

In the senate version of the ban, Pinellas County schools may continue using the palm scanners through next year until they can find a different program. The House version is expected to come to a vote on the floor this session.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

  • Don't Miss ItMore>>

  • Stacie talks to Ellen about season 12, debut on WFLA News Channel 8

    Stacie talks to Ellen about season 12, debut on WFLA News Channel 8

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:20 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:20:57 GMT
    WFLA anchor Stacie Schaible talks with Ellen about her upcoming season on WFLA News Channel 8WFLA anchor Stacie Schaible talks with Ellen about her upcoming season on WFLA News Channel 8
    An enthusiastic crowd had already gathered hours before The Ellen Show was scheduled to tape. When I arrived on the Warner's Brothers lot, I was greeted by one of Ellen's Producers. Though I hoped for a ride in Ellen's golf cart, we walked a few blocks to the set and my behind the scenes tour began.Ellen's studio is massive by Hollywood standards.
    An enthusiastic crowd had already gathered hours before The Ellen Show was scheduled to tape. When I arrived on the Warner's Brothers lot, I was greeted by one of Ellen's Producers. Though I hoped for a ride in Ellen's golf cart, we walked a few blocks to the set and my behind the scenes tour began.Ellen's studio is massive by Hollywood standards.
  • Maroon 5 announces Tampa show

    Maroon 5 announces Tampa show

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:58 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:58:11 GMT
    Photo courtesy Facebook/Maroon 5Photo courtesy Facebook/Maroon 5
    Multi platinum-selling and Grammy Award-winning rock band, Maroon 5, revealed details today for The Maroon 5 World Tour 2015 in support of the band's fifth studio album, V.
    Multi platinum-selling and Grammy Award-winning rock band, Maroon 5, revealed details today for The Maroon 5 World Tour 2015 in support of the band's fifth studio album, V.
  • Where's 'Katharine' been?

    Where's 'Katharine' been?

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 12:35 PM EDT2014-09-02 16:35:30 GMT
    Photo: OCEARCH FacebookPhoto: OCEARCH Facebook
    Katharine, the well-known great white shark tracked by OCEARCH, has been spending a good amount of time outside the Carolinas
    Katharine, the well-known great white shark tracked by OCEARCH, has been spending a good amount of time outside the Carolinas
  • Most Viewed Stories on WFLA.com

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664
Email: talkback6@wjbf.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.