Goal: Commend 13 year old for upholding her rights by refusing her fingerprint for a school database
A 13 year old student at a Wales secondary school recently staged a one-person protest against mass fingerprinting. Melody, whose last name has been withheld due to her age, refused to submit to her school’s demands for her fingerprints, and held a protest in the school’s cafeteria over lunch hour. The demonstration was successful – her school did not obtain her fingerprints, despite a cafeteria worker’s efforts to physically force her finger onto the scanner.
When Melody’s school declared that it would be collecting students’ fingerprints to shorten cafeteria lines, she doubted the school’s intentions. She spoke with her mother over dinner about a way to protest the measure, and had her mother sign a letter of non-consent. The next day at school, she refused to be fingerprinted, and donned a Guy Fawkes mask over lunch hour.
After a cafeteria worker tried to physically force her to enter her fingerprint into the database, she backed away and restated her refusal. She showed the attendant the signed parental letter of noncompliance. At the time, only two children at the school refused to be fingerprinted for school records, however the second student’s fingerprints were obtained later in the day.
This academic year in the UK, one quarter of schools are estimated to be using biometric technology. This means that the fingerprint data of over one million students could be recorded. With an increasing number of UK schools implementing biometrics programs, Melody set a good example for other students and parents about considering and protecting their rights. Thank Melody and her family for upholding their right to privacy and for drawing attention to the growing issue.
When a Wales secondary school announced that it would be collecting student’s fingerprints for a cafeteria database, an intelligent and free-thinking student stopped to consider her personal rights. Melody, you gained parental non-consent to the biometric scan, refused to be fingerprinted and held a one-person demonstration over lunch hour. Despite a cafeteria attendant’s efforts to place your hand on the fingerprint scanner, you stayed firm and refused the scan.
Currently, one quarter of UK schools are estimated to employ some form of student fingerprint database. This means that over one million UK students could have their fingerprints recorded, all without due cause. Your demonstration has highlighted a growing issue, and will encourage students and parents to consider their personal rights before submitting to biometric recording. I applaud your show of strength against student surveillance, and hope that you continue to be a positive influence to your peers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Esti via Flickr Creative Commons