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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.

ICantFindAFreeNickName Wed 21-Oct-09 23:44:50

Skidoodle - whilst I agree that the TA was in the wrong & should have checked all the permission slips, I don't understand your comment 'This is the problem with having unqualified people in the classroom' - what do you mean by this, in our school all our TA's are qualified.

eclectech Thu 22-Oct-09 00:15:36

I would be fuming, and you're unfortunately not alone. Schools aren't set-up to protect data to the extent needed (why should they be?). Fingerprints are critical, irreplaceable personal information.

ARCH have more information on the current situation, although I think the critical thing is that the "Information Commissioner is now advising schools that they should obtain the consent of parents if a child is aged under 12, and the joint consent of both parent and any child aged 12 or over, and that fingerprint records should be removed by a data cleansing service when a child leaves the school."

hocuspontas Thu 22-Oct-09 16:20:40

I'm spluttering at the abuse aimed at the TA. How do you know the TA was in charge? They could all have been standing waiting with the teacher, fingerprinter, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all, and it just happened to be the TA who the OP's son addressed his comment to. Why would the TA have to be the one to check? Maybe she did check with the teacher who said permission had been given. Why would she even see the slips? It's so easy to kick the 'unqualified' hmm one at the bottom of the chain. TAs assist the teacher and most certainly wouldn't 'lie' about permission slips.

As an aside, dd3's junior school did the fingerprinting for the library system. We weren't asked but I felt at the time we should have been.

hippipotamiHasLost72lbs Thu 22-Oct-09 16:38:02

I too am horrified at the way you are all blaming the TA.
I am a TA. Trust me, we would not even get to see the permission slips. We would be told 'Take class X to be fingerprinted'. Permission slips are dealt with by the office and then the teacher. So if the order came from a teacher then it is not the TA's job to double check. We generally have to accept what the teacher tells us and therefore I would have assumed the slips had been checked and the teacher was on the case.

If Mini Clarabel told the TA he did not want his fingerprint taken the TA would probably have assumed he was scared / reluctant and reassured him with 'It's ok, mummy signed a permission slip'.
If Mini Clarable told the TA he did not want his fingerprint taken because mummy did not want him to, then yes, the TA should have double checked the permission slips with the teacher / office.

But as it stands, it seems the TA carried out a teacher's instructions and got it wrong. I see no evidence of her lying. Unless she is really a secret government agent ordered to obtain the nations's youngster's fingerprints at all costs hmm

DeepnGreen Mon 19-Nov-12 22:27:54

About 30% of schools are using this technology. It has many administrative advangates for the school.
A couple of days before DD1 started at grammar school I had a chat with her: "If they ask for your fingerprints, tell them no. If they ask why not, tell them to phone your Daddy." Sure enough, first day at school, I got a phone call "Your daughter says you want some more information about the Vericool system. I replied "I don't need any information, I just don't want you to take my child's fingerprints." The class teacher said it wasn't the whole fingerprint, just the fingertip. I said I didn't care and I didn't want her to take them. She said she would get someone who knew more about the system to phone me back. I phoned No2ID.
When the Dep Head phoned back we were both very polite (first day at new school etc) and she explained that no fingerprint would mean no ability to use the canteen. I replied that under the PROTECTION OF FREEDOMS ACT 2012 (Chapter 2) parents and/or children can refuse to allow the school to record and use biometric data and, what's more, wherever a school uses biometric data (inc fingertips) to deliver a service there has to be an alternative delivery method for those who opt out. I said that for the first couple of weeks I would send DD1 in with packed lunch, but suggested the Dep Head ask the peddlers of Vericool about the law and the alternatives. Surely I couldn't be the 1st person in the County to ask the question? (Surely...).
What made me laugh was the Dep Head asked if I why I hadn't had the same conversation about my other daughter. I replied that my other daughter isn't at the same school. 'Oh' she said, 'We have a child in Year 9 with the same surname and assumed they were sisters'. Now that's what I call secure data protection/data management!

I followed up the conversation with a polite but firm letter saying that the school had better make sure they hadn't got my child's biometric data.

The school confirmed that there is no biometric data on any system. They have also provided an alternative means for DD1 to use the canteen. It is very high tech. When she arrives at the till she tells the dinner lady her name and the dinner lady writes the transaction down in a book. Simples.

At another local school I've heard that each time student has tried to sign in to the fingermachine it pops up with the name of someone with a similar fingertip. Brilliant.

Worley Tue 20-Nov-12 18:47:20

ds1 had his fingertips done for their register and canteen whislt he was in yr 7, ready for when he started the new school going in to yr 8. he's now in yr 9 and they want the whole school done again as they lost them all. I havnt signed the slip to let them do it again. they can just find them all... and they still don't have the system set up anyway.. so taking his prints when he was still in yr 7 was useless..

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