Sunday, 28 October 2012

Fingerprinting of School Children - letter to NWN

I wrote the following letter to the Newbury Weekly News last week. It did not get published - they printed a letter that I had sent the previous week for the second time!

Dear Editor,

it is reasonable and understandable for parents to be suspicious and concerned when asked to permit their children to be be fingerprinted by schools ("Anger as fingerprinting introduced at school", NWN, October 18th).

Parents should therefore be given the option of not allowing their children to be fingerprinted without disadvantaging them. Their children must still be allowed to be served school meals.

Parents are concerned that the fingerprints may be used for other purposes. Also, there have been occasions in the past when the computer databases holding details of such fingerprints have been hacked into. Schools must therefore assure parents that:

- fingerprints and associated data will only be used for school meal identification purposes

- the databases that hold the fingerprint data have state-of-the art security preventing unauthorised access.

Both schools that have introduced, or are proposing to use, fingerprints are academies. However,  West Berkshire Council have responsibilities as community leader and should therefore advise all schools in the district on best practice on the use of this technology.

--

Alan Macro
Opposition Spokesman for Children and Young People
West Berkshire Council

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