The sage of the school playground, Welsh Assembly Member Joyce Watson, has decided the process of getting lunch at schools in Wales is far too simple and it therefore requires fingerprint technology in every school canteen around the country. Her justification stems from the potential for embarrassment for children from poorer backgrounds in Welsh schools.
Supposedly some children from families with financial difficulties had previously felt stigmatised as their peers knew they were receiving free meals due to a ticketing system. Her solution to this problem simply beggars belief.
Ms Watson has suggested installing a fingerprinting system at every school in Wales, at a cost of at least £30,000 per school plus annual maintenance costs of £2,000.
In the middle of the largest international financial crisis seen for decades, it is absolutely shocking that an elected Assembly Member could consider this an effective use of taxpayers’ money.
Stephen Jones, the head teacher of Ysgol Glan-y-Mor in Burry Port, Carmarthenshire came out with this outlandish comment:
“The children like it. It's almost a fun element to having their lunch, the fingerprints. It's much quicker so they're happy about that.”
“The offshoot, I suppose, would be that parents can actually have computerised printouts of all the food and drink that their children consume and they can keep an eye on whether they're having a healthy diet or not.”
An alternative way of viewing it would be an effective method of brainwashing children into volunteering their biometric data without a second thought. Parents are also invited to spy on the diets of their children, an odd concept which many people may find intrusive and offensive.
The pernicious accumulation of biometric data in schools around Britain seems to continue despite constant complaints from parents and children. Pupils from poorer families should not be bullied for their financial circumstances, but there are a variety of other ways this problem could be solved.
A simple, cheap key card system would serve the same role without the excessive cost of £30,000 per school and the invasive use of fingerprint technology. Alternatively, an effective policy of dealing with bullying would remove the need for any kind of technology in school canteens.
There will be a debate in Cardiff bay on Tuesday 28th June about the introduction of these systems, Big Brother Watch has received a number of complaints from concerned parents in Wales and a petition is currently circulating to raise awareness and express concerns about this ludicrously disproportionate method of providing children with lunch.