Parents in Polk County, Florida are outraged after learning that students in area schools had their irises scanned as part of a new security program without obtaining proper permission.
Students at three facilities â€” an elementary school, a grade
school and a high school â€” had their eyeballs scanned earlier
this month as part of a â€˜student safetyâ€™ pilot program being
carried out by Stanley
Convergent Security Solutions.
â€œIt simply takes a picture of the iris, which is unique to every
individual,â€ Rob Davis, the school boardâ€™s senior director of
support services, wrote home to parents in a letter dated May 23.
â€œWith this program, we will be
able to identify when and where a student gets on the bus, when
they arrive at their school location, when and what bus the
student boards and disembarks in the afternoon. This is an effort
to further enhance the safety of our
â€œThe EyeSwipe-Nano is an ideal replacement for the card based
system since your child will not have to be responsible for
carrying an identification card,â€ Davis wrote.
Parents at Daniel Jenkins Academy, Bephune Academy and the
Davenport School of the Arts received the letter from the school
board on May 24 informing them of the EyeSwipe-Nano program and
that their childâ€™s principal
should be notified if they donâ€™t want their son or daughter to
But elsewhere in the letter, the board explained that the program
would begin last Monday, May 20. By the time the letter was
received on Friday, iris scans had already been completed at the
three area schools without a single student opting out, Angel
Clark wrote for The Examiner this week.
Because Memorial Day landed on May 27, parents were unable to
receive confirmation from the school until this Tuesday, nearly
one week after the scans began.
In the letter, Davis described the scanning as a safe and
noninvasive way of collecting studentsâ€™ biometric data as a way
of ensuring the safety of pupils in the Polk County school
district. Parents are appalled that they werenâ€™t informed of the
program ahead of time, though, and are calling it an invasion of
â€œIt seems like they are mostly focused on this program, like
the program was the problem. It’s not, it’s the invasion of my
family’s Constitutional right to privacy that is the problem, as
well as the school allowing a private company access to my child
without my consent or permission,â€ one concerned parent wrote
in a Facebook post that has since been shared hundreds of times.
â€œThis is stolen information, and we cannot retrieve it.â€
When the parent reached the school on Tuesday, she was told that
the program was suspended.
Reporter Michelle Malkin caught up with Davis on Wednesday and he
apologized for the boardâ€™s actions and confirmed that the data
had been destroyed.
â€œDavis told me that â€˜it is a mistake on our partâ€™ that a
notification letter to parents did not go out on May 17,â€ she
wrote. â€œHe blamed a secretary who had a â€˜medical
Polks planned to install EyeSwipe-Nano units on 17 local school
busses starting next year. The scandal comes just months after a
high school student in Texas was suspended for refusing to wear
an identification card to class.
This article originally appeared on: RT