Pupils to be fingerprinted

In a controversial scheme that will launch this autumn the pupils at a school in Berkshire will have their fingerprints taken and stored. The plan is for pupils to have their fingerprints scanned each time they enter or leave the school.

Jul 27, 2006
By David Howell
John Boyd

In a controversial scheme that will launch this autumn the pupils at a school in Berkshire will have their fingerprints taken and stored. The plan is for pupils to have their fingerprints scanned each time they enter or leave the school.

The system has come under attack from the school’s own sixth formers who have complained that the proposed scheme will infringe their human right to privacy.

The Edgebarrow school in Crowthorne will test the new system with their sixth form students beginning in September before deciding if the scheme can be rolled out to all pupils later in the year. Participation will be completely voluntary.

Sixth former Shaun Woodage, 17, told the Guardian newspaper: “Clocking in and out” at each end of the day would make him and his friends feel like criminals. “The lack of trust and respect from the school to the students seems to be apparent. We have the right to hold on to our own biometrics and have the right to say who we shall disclose them to.”

The headteacher, Robert Elsey, said the scheme was an attempt to hand pupils responsibility for signing themselves in and out. “All our sixth formers are being invited to take part in the pilot scheme, but there is no compulsion to do so. We have spoken to students and received a positive response regarding the new scheme.”

A spokesman for the civil liberties group Liberty said: “Our main concerns are what will happen to this data after the students have left the school. We will be monitoring the scheme.”

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