Parents in Polk County, Florida, were outraged to learn that their children’s irises were scanned without permission as part of the school board’s new security program called Eye-Swipe Nano.
One parent took to Facebook, posting: “This is stolen information, and we cannot retrieve it.”
While the school board did send out a letter addressing the new program, parents received it on May 27, five days after the program had already begun. Because parents were informed later in the week, not a single student was able to opt out of the EyeSwipe-Nano procedure.
School board Senior Director of Support Services Rob Davis praised the program and its security features.
"This was another way to provide extra level of security for them [parents] and the students," Davis said.
Parents would know when and what bus a student boards, as well as when they arrive at school and leave from school. He said that it was a great replacement for identification cards.
Davis also said the EyeSwipe was a safe and noninvasive way to collect student data.
Despite that, parents at Daniel Jenkins Academy, Bephune Academy and the Davenport School of the Arts are appalled at the lack of information offered and consent obtained, claiming the act was a violation of their children’s constitutional rights to privacy. Equally upsetting is Davis’ excuse, blaming a secretary with a medical emergency for the delayed letters.
Polk County plans to install EyeSwipe-Nano units in school buses before the next school year begins, despite continued opposition.