Ill. School District Adopts Biometric System for Students

District officials say the system will make lunch lines in school cafeterias move faster.

A school district in northeast Illinois installed new food service software that will give students the option of scanning their fingerprint to check out lunch items.

Lake Zurich Unit School District 95 is the latest district in the Chicago area to purchase the technology, which can replace student ID cards and simplify the payment process in cafeterias, reports the Chicago Tribune.

District officials approved the change in February, although this fall will be the first time students will be able to use the fingerprinting technology to make payments.

The system, labelled TouchID from a company called PushCoin, eliminates the need for ID cards and manual identification entries, a process administrators say will make things more efficient.

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“The option of using biometrics is being implemented as a convenience to avoid issues with the need to carry and retain a payment card,” District Board President Doug Goldberg says. “It is one option of the payment system and is not mandatory to use.”

The system is also expected to simplify the process for parents who constantly have to add money to their child’s account.

PushCoin is a cloud-based payment system that offers a school webstore, parent portal, administrative website and a point-of-sale mobile application.

Lake Zurich schools join approximately 100 others that have installed the system, including nearby Geneva District 304. Parents at that school district have said the system has made for quicker payment processing and more flexibility in payment options.

Still some people, like Director of Communications for the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union Ed Yohnka, have voiced privacy concerns over the system.

“Students are being funneled into these programs either through some reduced pricing or some efficiency, like being able to move through lines quicker,” Yohnka says. “There are also larger implications whether parents are given ample information about what the privacy ramifications are to be able to make a meaningful decision for their families.”

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