I really thought I had heard it all, but when I was told by a reader last week that my old school was fingerprinting all its pupils I thought I was being sold a pup of a story. No, the reader said, it is completely true. Well, today I finally got the evidence. Saffron Walden County High School is introducing a payment system for school dinners whereby instead of paying with cash, pupils just put their fingers on a reader and money is then debited from an account into which their parents have paid in money online.
The letter sent out by the school "Business Manager" (we didn't have one of those in my day!) is careful to reassure parents that the fingerprint data is totally safe and once a mathematical code is taken from the fingerprints they will be disposed of. Hmmm, we've heard that sort of thing before, haven't we?
Fingerprinting children is just plain wrong. Sorry, but it just is. No matter how many assurances that are given, you're still trusting the state to look after the most personal of information.
I understand that many parents are outraged at this, but no doubt most will fall in line and give their agreement. Having said that, the school is running an 'opt out' rather than 'opt in'.
I am not a parent, but if I were I would have severe reservations about agreeing to let my child have his or her fingerprints taken, no matter how innocent the reasons may appear.