Biometric Identification for Nutrition Services

Our district is implementing a state-of-the-art identification process for meal checkout called Biometric Identification. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

What is Biometric Identification?

Biometric identification is an automated method of identifying a person based upon human characteristics. This system takes a biometric measure (or finger geometry) of five unique points on each student's index finger.

How does finger scanning identification work?
Using a finger scanner, the software scans certain unique points on the finger to create and store individual templates that identify each student. The machine can only read small, identifiable portions of a finger and cannot capture a child's entire fingerprint. Biometric measurements are used to create this enrollment; however, they are converted to a multi-digit code that is tied to a student's name and lunch PIN. When the student returns, the software again scans the finger and looks for a match in the database.

What about our students' privacy?
We are not fingerprinting the students and the system does not create or store a fingerprint image. Instead, the software creates a template of the unique points on the finger. The template is stored in the school's database with the same high level of security as all of our records. The system is one directional; we have no knowledge of the style of fingerprint or how many measurements went into the matching process to create this unique numeric. It is impossible to recreate a student's fingerprint from this system. The templates are also protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is the same Federal Law that protects all student records. When a student graduates and is no longer enrolled in the school system, the templates are deleted.

Is my child's information safe?
We chose the IDconnect® Finger system because it is secure, accurate, cost-effective, and non-intrusive. All of the student data is stored on Boonville R-1 servers, not in the "cloud" or on the company's servers. The data is encrypted and protected with the same strong security measures as a student's education record and SSN. In addition, the company that created the software has no access to our database. This program is more secure from a privacy standpoint than a student ID, which has a name, picture and school on it. There are over 2000 districts utilizing this system, along with after-school programs, gyms, public libraries, colleges, and universities. IDconnect® is a family based business, so identity protection is their #1 priority. That is why the software is designed to not store any biometric information, matrixes, fingerprints, measurements, or images. Many states are now banning this type of storage and ID Connect is the only one certified to run in those states.

Why did the district decide to use biometric identification?
The main purpose for implementing this system district-wide is to get the students through the meal checkout process quickly so they have more time to eat their meal. Also, in grades 9-12 where the students are charged for their meals, this provides identity theft protection because there is no way for another student to generate meal charges on their account by giving a false name or lunch PIN.

Is this mandatory?
This is not mandatory. All parents should contact the district if they have questions or wish to opt their child out of the program.

Other questions?
School District Contact

Glenda Curnutte: [email protected]

660-882-7474 ext. 7304

Educational Biometric Technology Contact

Bob Engen: [email protected]