Target: Dr. John A. Stewart, Polk County School District Superintendent
Goal: Don’t force students to undergo eye scans for security purposes
Security measures, both at airports and in schools, are starting to sound more and more like science fiction. Recently, Florida’s Polk County School District installed eye-scanning cameras on school buses at a local elementary, middle, and high school. The district didn’t inform the parents about the cameras until four days after they had been installed.
Polk County School District was teaming up with Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, a private company, to try out its new EyeSwipe-Nano technology. Says Rob Davis, security director for Polk County Schools, “Within seconds, we could tell parents, ‘yes, they got on bus No. 0750. They got on the bus at the high school at 2:05; they arrived at their bus stop at 2:45.’”
Parents were informed–when Polk County Schools finally sent them the letter–that students would need to obtain permission from the principal to opt out of the scanning. By that point, students from 17 school buses had already had their eyes scanned. After countless calls from irate parents, Polk County School District removed the cameras from the school buses, and Stanley Convergent Security Solutions says they erased all the eye-scans from their database.
“It seems like they are mostly focused on this program, like the program was the problem,” one parent wrote on a Facebook post. “It’s not, it’s the invasion of my family’s Constitutional right to privacy that is the problem, as well as the school allowing a private company access to my child without my consent or permission. This is stolen information, and we cannot retrieve it.”
Condemn Polk County School District for implementing this invasive security measure, and implore them not to do similar things in the future.
Dear Dr. Stewart,
We were horrified to hear about the Orwellian security measures recently taken by Polk County School District. Implementing eye scans for students is taking biological information that isn’t used to track people even on airplanes. Furthermore, you didn’t obtain the parents’ permission, and students were informed that they couldn’t opt out without permission from the principal.
We are glad that you removed the eye-scanners from school buses, but what’s the rest of the story here? How much was the school district paid by Stanley Convergent Security Solutions? If there are security problems at Polk County Schools, is there a less offensive way to address them? We agree with Polk County parents that the eye-scanners are an invasion of privacy. These types of security measures are making school look like prisons from the year 3000. Do you want that?
[Your Name Here]