A Senate committee has passed a bill giving Iowa school districts the authority to force students to show a fingerprint to get their lunch. A few Iowa schools are using the technology, replacing lunch cards and paper punches with an electronic fingerprint reader.
Senator Mike Connolly, a Democrat from Dubuque, says fingerprint I.D. systems appear to be the wave of the future. Connolly says schools in several other states have a number of districts using the technology. He says the bill merely gives Iowa schools authority to use fingerprints as an I.D. for school lunch.
The legislation only allows the technology to be used for the school lunch line, and the district must obtain parental consent to be able to take a child’s fingerprint. The bill also bars law enforcement from using the fingerprint data base for a criminal cross-check.
Senator Jeff Angelo, a Republican from Creston, isn’t convinced that prohibition would stick. Angelo says lawmakers always have a good reason for asking people to give over private information that’s put in a public database. He’s concerned sometime in the future the fingerprints of those children will be used for some other purpose.
Senator Nancy Boettger, a Republican from Harlan, likes the fingerprint I.D. idea for school lunch tickets. Boettger says as the mother of four kids, she could have saved a lot of money buying new lunch and school activity tickets to replace the ones her kids lost.