School iris-scanning program has parents seeing red

An iris-scanning program with potential safety benefits had to be halted at three Florida schools. Parents were not notified of the program until after students had been scanned.

Parents of students who were subjected to iris scans are furious that they weren't given the option to opt out before the program began.

The Examiner reported that three schools in Florida had to cancel their iris-scanning program. Daniel Jenkins Academy, Davenport School of the Arts and Bethune Academy high, middle and elementary schools, respectively planned to use a pilot security program.

But, the Examiner reported, the school let Stanley Convergent Security Solutions take iris scans of an unknown number of students well before parents were notified.

A letter parents received on May 24 says the program was "an ideal replacement" for a card-based identification system the schools had been using. But after complaining to school officials, parents were told the program had been shut down.

The technology behind the iris-scanning controversy is far from new. It already helps make us safer at airports, and could do the same in schools.

In 2006, ABC reported that a school in New Jersey used an iris-scanning program to make sure kids were picked up only by authorized adults.

At the time, ABC reported that iris scans were already at work in airports. At Orlando International Airport flyers could bypass security lines by paying about $80 to subscribe to a program where they'd get an iris scan instead.

And while the schools in Florida went about their program incorrectly, the safety features of iris scans in schools do seem to have some benefits.

Tech News Daily reported that the derailed program may have given parents crucial information about their kids' whereabouts, especially if their child was a bus rider.

According to Tech News, the system could have scanned students' eyes in a fraction of a second as they boarded a bus. The time-stamped scans would let officials and parents know who had gotten on and off the bus, and when.

Tech News reported that the program could have even sent texts to parents when children got on or off a bus.

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