Indiana school district considers biometric system for lunch payments, could expand to classrooms and buses

May 1, 2013 - 

The Southwest Allen County School district in Indiana is considering implementing a biometric payment system for its cafeteria program.

Reported in The Journal Gazette, the district is specifically looking at a fingerprint-based system from IdentiMetrics, which would cost $32,314 to install in all school cafeterias. According to Jim Coplen, Southwest Allen County district’s business manager, the system has already been given positive reviews by a nearby district in Indiana.

According to the report in the Journal Gazette, the district isn’t just looking at the biometric system for lunch service – according to Coplen, the system could be expanded to include buses and classrooms. Individually, the units from IdentiMetrics cost $789.

If the purchase is approved by the district board, the new system could be operational by the beginning of the next school year.

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

As we’ve reported, some 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.

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

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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