California school district tests palm scanners in cafeterias

April 26, 2013 - 

A middle school and an elementary school in the Hawthorne school district in California are testing palm scanners in their cafeterias in an attempt to speed up lunch service.

Reported by CBS Los Angeles, five parents have so far opted out of the program, and many students have yet to adopt the new technology at Ramona Elementary and Hawthorne Middle schools.

Under the old system, students entered a 5-digit pin code to verify their identity and receive lunch, allowing the school to process 150 students in about 15 minutes.

The new palm scanners from Fujitsu don’t keep vein patterns on file, and instead, convert these images to a numerical sequence.

As we’ve reported, many of these biometric payment systems have been hotly contested in the school setting, often because of parental concerns for their children’s privacy.

Reported previously in, the Carroll County Public School Board in Maryland has halted the implementation of Fujitsu palm scanners within the school district, and a recently proposed bill threatens the collection of biometrics from school children in the state altogether.  

The proposed bill, Senate Bill 855, would prohibit school boards from collection biometric information for the use of electronic identification.

According to Joseph Getty, the Republican State Senator who proposed the bill, the issue came up in Carroll County as the county board of education decided to make the purchase without wide notification and public process.

A recent feature investigates these systems and takes a look at the arguments from both sides of the issue of biometric payments in schools.

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About Adam Vrankulj

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