Moorebank High School has installed touch pads to scan students’ fingerprints outside the bathrooms if students want to use the toilet during class.
“They’re are trying to do their best to keep them safe and I think there is nothing wrong with it,” a parent said.
The biometric technology was offered to the school by the education department to stop vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the school toilets.
Parent Julia Scutella is on the school’s community focus group and said the technology is about making students feel safe.
“The state of the bathrooms, you cant use a bathroom that is covered in urine and faeces,” Scutella said.
But not all parents are happy about the new technology.
“I’ve had my daughters finger print deleted, I rang the school straight away and told them to delete my daughter’s fingerprint, she’s not a criminal, you’ve taken my parents’ rights away because you didn’t consent me, no email, no nothing,” Kylie Anderson said.
“We haven’t had any sort of information on what’s going to happen, like, or asking parents to give permission,” Svjetlina Brajic said.
Privacy experts are also concerned about the use of biometric data.
“Because it’s innately tied to our physical bodies, it’s not something you can readily change, if anything goes wrong with this information, then it can put these children at risk,” Samantha Floreani from Digital Rights Watch said.
“We really should be questioning, are we okay with students being monitored in this kind of way.”
Moorebank High School isn’t the first school in NSW to use the technology, as other state schools have been using fingerprint scanning to monitor attendance for years.
In a statement, the state’s education department said, “The use of this system is not compulsory. If students or parents prefer, students can also access the toilets during those times by obtaining an access card from the office.”
“The parent community was consulted about the new initiative at Moorebank High School via a community focus group. The decision to install the mechanism was ratified by this group on more than one occasion.
“All parents were notified. The information was disseminated to parents via school newsletters and the minutes of community focus group meetings were also emailed to all parents.”