Maryland school district halts implementation of biometric palm scanners

December 13, 2012 - 

The Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland have halted the implementation of palm scanners within the school system until further notice, WBAL reports.

At a Board of Education meeting, Carroll County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Guthrie said that the decision to stop the scanner implementation within the district came after some parents expressed privacy concerns.

“I made the decision to suspend it after concerns were being expressed by the community,” Guthrie said in the WBAL article. “There was division on those who were for the palm scanner and those who were against it. It is not my intent to alienate any segment of our community. It is my job to unify the community, not to create divisions.

The goal of the palm scanners was to increase participation in the school system’s lunch program. The total cost of the program would have been US$300,000 plus maintenance contracts with PalmSecure, a Fujitsu property, the Examiner reports.

Previously, school officials said they had hoped to have the scanners installed in all 43 county schools in the next year and a half.

According the Examiner article, Carroll Country elementary students in a pilot program were scanned before the school gave parents the option to opt-out.

Guthrie announced yesterday that the county school board will not remove the palm scanners that have already been installed and won’t install the rest of the equipment without “further notice.”

The Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland are not the first to consider implementing a biometric system for their lunchtime cafeteria program. As reported previously in, in November, the Treviglas Community College similarly introduced a biometric fingerprint system to enable a cashless process for students to purchase food and ensure those requiring subsidized meals are fed.

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Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj