Nebraska SD Scan Student Fingerprints for School Lunch

Scott Middle School recently joined other Lincoln Public Schools that use biometric finger scanning to pay for lunch, reported the Lincoln Journal Star. Elementary and middle school students in the Nebraska district now can pay for lunch with a touch of their finger instead of carrying a lunch card or remembering a PIN.

The decision to implement the software was to streamline school lunch lines and give students more time to eat, LPS Nutrition Services Director Edith Zumwalt told the Lincoln Journal Star. Previously, the district used a cash register system that required a six-digit PIN. Teachers helped young students memorize their number which was time-consuming. Other schools used lunch cards that can be scanned but kids often forgot them. Finger scanning was a solution to these problems.

The way it works is each student’s finger is scanned and the software identifies unique points on the finger which are stored and used to identify students. Each time a student gets their meal, the software searches for a match in the school’s database.

With new technology comes privacy and security concerns. Zumwalt assures the technology can’t be used anywhere else and the software doesn’t keep the students’ fingerprints. Furthermore, the information gathered from the software is protected by federal student privacy laws. Parents also have the option of opting out their kids.

LPS purchased scanners from identiMetrics that cost $600 apiece. The company works with schools around the country and can be used for library, attendance and other identification needs in schools.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of School Planning & Management magazine. She can be reached at ymarquez@1105media.com.