AÂ Florida school district scanned the eyes of 750 students without their parents’ knowledge.
The Polk County School District was carrying out a pilot program to track bus riders administered by the private surveillance company Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, The Lakeland Ledger reports. The district sent parents a letter giving them a chance to opt out of the program, but by the time it was sent, the studentsâ€™ biometric information had already been collected.
The newspaper’s review of email records indicates the school districtâ€™s superintendent, John Stewart, was unaware of the programâ€™s existence until it was too late.Â Ann Marshall, a safe schools specialist assignedÂ to the superintendent’s office, promoted the program to several school principals, telling one the district would be able to track students â€świth a blink of the eyeâ€ť using the new technology.
Marshall did not respond to one principal’s question about whether the district would be contacting parents about the program.
â€śIt was almost a comedy of errors,â€ť Wes Bridges, the school boardâ€™s attorney, told The Ledger.
The biometric information has since been deleted by the company. But some parents remain unhappy that their kidsâ€™ information was ever recorded in the first place.
â€śThey have no concept of what they’ve done here,” one parent of an eight-year-oldÂ boy atÂ told the Ledger. “I feel like my son’s civil rights were violated.â€ť
Rob Davis, a district administrator, said the district has dropped the iris scanning program due to the parentsâ€™ disapproval.