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WCS Food Service Department Pilots Biometric Finger Scanning at Three Schools

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A Pointview student has her finger scanned.



The Food Service Department at Westerville City Schools is in the process of implementing state-of-the-art identification equipment that will provide security for student meal accounts, eliminate clerical errors, give children more time to eat their lunch, and offer students an easy way to identify themselves when entering the building and using the cafeteria Point-of-Sale system.

This form of identification is called Biometrics which, when translated, means measurements of human characteristics.  The software scans the finger for identification, but does not store a copy of the fingerprints.  Biometric measurements are converted to something else entirely – a number.  This template is then stored in the school’s database with the same high level of security as all school records.  When a child graduates or is no longer enrolled in the school system, the templates are deleted.  At no time are fingerprint images stored, nor can they be recreated or delivered to any agency, governmental or otherwise.

The software scans the fingerprint to create and store individual templates of unique points that identify each student.  When a finger is enrolled, a variable amount of measurements and the style of the fingerprint are taken.  These measures and styles are then converted to a binary number which gets encrypted and stored.  If decrypted and given to another party, that person cannot reverse the process since many variables are not present.

Once this system is implemented, each student is in complete control of their own identity.  They only can be identified by placing their finger on the reader, which protects them from losing an I.D. number or sharing that number with other pupils.

Biometric Finger Scanning will be phased in over a period of time, starting with three schools – Blendon Middle School, Longfellow Elementary and Pointview Elementary.  Once the district is confident the system is working well with its Point-of-Sale software, it will move forward with implementation at the rest of the schools during the 2015-2016 school year.

“It is important to us that each child’s experience in school is educational and rewarding,” said Kari Dennis, DTR and Manager of Food Services and Purchasing.  “We hope parents will find this way of identifying their child to be safe, easy, accurate and efficient.”