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Fingerprint taken against wishes

(81 Posts)
Clarabel22 Wed 14-Oct-09 22:03:25

A few weeks ago the school sent out a permission slip for allowing them to take a thumb print from my son (age 6 Yr 2) for the purpose of borrowing a library book. I am aware that many people aren't bothered by this sort of thing creeping in to our schools but I am absolutely against it. Anyway, happy to let them get on with it, and just opt out, I correctly filled out the permission slip and returned it. I also, suspecting the school might be inconvenienced by our non-compliance, had a talk with my son and made him aware of what to say if the teachers asked for his print (i.e. mummy doesn't want me to have my thumbprint taken).

Tonight I found out that they did it anyway. He told them twice that I didn't want him to have it done and the TA said to him that it was ok because mummy had written a letter to say they could do it.

If anyone else finds themselves being asked to give permission for this, first read up about it on the internet so you are aware of all the arguments for and against. Secondly, if you don't want to do it, write a VERY CLEAR letter to the head or they may just go ahead and do it anyway, as they did in our case.

Geocentric Wed 14-Oct-09 22:08:15

That's absurd, that you specifically denied permission and they did it anyway. Why did they even bother asking??!!

butterscotch Wed 14-Oct-09 22:28:27

You should complain to the school and ask for evidence of the letter, I would also complain to the local education authority. Complain about the specific TA and you want your child to have nothing to do with this untrustworthy person, how do you know if they might not do something else against your childs/your wishes?

I'm disgusted on your behalf!

mynamesare Wed 14-Oct-09 22:33:32

That is awful. I would definitely complain and take it further.

Dysgu Wed 14-Oct-09 22:38:12

I agree that that was appalling - if they asked for permission which was denied then they should not have taken his thumb print.

However, from experience of librarian systems used in primary schools, I just wanted to add that the thumb- or finger print is not actually stored by the computer system but is turned into a numerical code.

That said, if you denied permission then all they have to do is print him a system number out (easily done without thumb prints) and he simply has this scanned when borrowing a book instead of sticking his thumb onto the little scanner (although this is the bit the kids love!).

mumofsatan Thu 15-Oct-09 07:05:42

appalling and agree you should make a complaint, in particular with regards to the TA who appears to have lied to your DS.

kreecherlivesupstairs Thu 15-Oct-09 10:24:48

That's outrageous. I don't know why you didn't want his thumb print taken, but that is your choice and you clearly made your decision felt. I too would complain and be sitting wondering what else they do against your wishes.

igivein Thu 15-Oct-09 10:48:04

I would make it plain to the school that you consider what they did to be an assault (as indeed it was). Might make them think twice in future.

PixiNanny Thu 15-Oct-09 11:06:30

Find out your rights immediately and screw them over for it. What they did was illegal as you did not give permission for it! I hate this f-ing nanny state country.

Clarabel22 Thu 15-Oct-09 11:44:13

I complained to the teacher this morning. She apologised and admitted it was an oversight and they didn't check the slips thoroughly.

What concerns me are two things. Firstly, if a school is to be entrusted with data like this (whatever your views on whether it's acceptable, it's still biometric data and highly sensitive) they have to demonstrate that they take this responsibility seriously and to fail to check the permission slips is a serious failing at the most basic step. They cannot be unaware of the ethical objections that a significant minority have to this sort of thing and therefore should have scrutinised the permission slips for anyone objecting.

My main problem however is that the TA put my son in a terrible position, lying to him about me giving permission, confusing him about who to believe and undermining my authority. It was sloppy in my opinion and I've made my feelings known.

I have also asked that they remove his details from the database. Although I think the risk of his data being misused is negligible (for example they aren't sharing the data with other schools... YET) I think that it will be a useful exercise for the school to ensure they are competent to cope with this kind of data collection and storage (and destruction). I will be extremely concerned if they struggle to do this and show me proof.

sunnydelight Thu 15-Oct-09 11:50:49

It is technically assault as you have specifically withheld permission. How far you want to take it is up to you obviously and I'm sure some people will say "get over it" but I would be equally outraged and I would not let it pass.

I would phone the school tomorrow and tell the head you are considering contacting the police to file a complaint, but you are giving her/him a chance to explain what happened before you do that. The TA needs to understand that what s\he has done is totally unacceptable.

sunnydelight Thu 15-Oct-09 11:51:45

Cross posted. I'm glad you got an apology, careless in the extreme though!

SuperSoph73 Thu 15-Oct-09 12:13:35

Hi clarabel22. Just wanted to post as I am a school Librarian and we too take fingerprints so that students can borrow books from us.

Firstly, I want to say that what the TA did was completely inexcusable in my opinion, especially as your child had already stated that you didn't want him to have his fingerprint taken. All she had to do was check the reply slips for his year group.

All reply slips regarding fingerprinting in this school come to me automatically as I'm the one who does the fingerprinting.

Secondly, the fingerprinting system that we use cannot be used for any other purpose than showing us the students name and year group. We use the option of fingerprinting because the students cannot lose their fingers (hopefully wink ) but they can and do lose their Library cards and have to pay for a replacement.

Fingerprints are not stored by the system and it is not possible to create an image of a finger from the information that is stored in the Library system. This means that we are not contravening the data protection act.

Hope I've made sense here and put your mind to rest.

Clarabel22 Thu 15-Oct-09 12:26:48

Thanks SuperShoph, I was really hoping I'd avoided debating the safety of the system, but have to reply to your post. The issues are complex and many have not thought beyond the simplistic nature of the school library id system. There are many of us who feel this country / government, whatever is gaining far too much control over individuals' lives and these things are a very slippery slope. Governments change, laws change, who's to say the data will be secure in 5 or 10 years time. and look at the polarised views about national ID cards. Parliamentary debates are had on privacy issues, it is a principle many feel strongly about protecting.

Ask yourself, would you feel comfortable if your local library insisted they took a scan of your fingerprint to store so that you could take a book out?

I don't like my child being conditioned to accept this as normal. Start them this early and when he's older he won't think twice about giving a DNA sample for a national database.

Anyway, I respect your views, but the implications run deeper than the school library.

clam Thu 15-Oct-09 18:44:28

Rant forthcoming.

You filled in a form expressly forbidding permission. Your DS re-iterated this.

They went ahead anyway, BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T READ THE SLIPS PROPERLY!!!!!!!!!!

So what was the bloody point of.... Oh, I give up.

ABetaDad Thu 15-Oct-09 18:53:48

Clarabel22 - very much agree with what you feel about thsi and apallled that your DS was subjected to this. Agree with thers - totally unacceptabel.

We threatened to take DSs out of a school where they asked permission if they could do it for library cards.

We have told DSs to never agree to give finger prints to anyone without asking us first. I was extremely annoyed when a police schools liaison officer came to DSs school and he set about encouraging the children to put their finger prints on a piece of paper like in the police station. He did not take copies but I just thought that was very clever social conditioning.

If DSs ever have have to do this compulsory we are leaving the country and we mean it. The implications for civil liberties are very significant.

sarah293 Thu 15-Oct-09 18:56:57

Message withdrawn

Divvy Thu 15-Oct-09 19:05:21

I think finger prints for a school library book, is OTT! Dont they know the kids names that they have in there school? hmm

Whats wrong with cards! Its not like they are borrowing the crown jewels is it!

Ewe Thu 15-Oct-09 19:14:14

We just used to have a book! Write our name, the name of the book, our class and when it was due back - tres simple!

sarah293 Fri 16-Oct-09 08:00:41

Message withdrawn

Divvy Fri 16-Oct-09 08:05:18

Riven that is very wise, I would keep them off too, just incase!

teamcullen Fri 16-Oct-09 17:58:48

Sorry but I really cant see the problem of using fingerprint technology in schools.

I can understand your point about refusing permission on a permission slip and it being ignored, and am with you on that, but...

Why is fingerprint technology so wrong? DD has this for school dinner money, they pay their money into a machine and then when they get their dinner they pay with a finger print. I really dont see the problem!

piscesmoon Fri 16-Oct-09 18:02:05

I don't see why anyone could possibly object! If they asked permission I think they should have read the replies, but the system requires a fingerprint-don't you want them to have a library book?

stuffitllllama Fri 16-Oct-09 18:08:41

Glad there are mums like you Clarabel. It's no fun having to be prepared to make yourself seem stroppy and unpopular and making a fuss over nothing when actually it is a pretty big deal -- I think you've articulated it well.

wannaBe Fri 16-Oct-09 18:14:00

asalt? wtf? shock

So on one thread today I have encountered people that think that locking children in their bedrooms over night and washing their mouthes out with soap is perfectly acceptable practice and on another taking a child's finger print is asalt?

Fuck me, I've heard it all now. hmm

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