Security Technology & School Security | Fingerprint Scanners

By: 10x Marketing

Can Fingerprint Scanners Prevent School Violence and Is It Worth It?

In this age of school shootings and terrorist threats, security is a bigger issue than ever at our nation's schools. Some public school boards have decided installing fingerprint scanners at all entrances is the best way to proceed.

Proponents of using fingerprint identification at public schools say it's the only way to keep students safe in a system that is far behind the times in preventing violence. Many junior high schools and high schools looking at fingerprint scanners have hired security officers to patrol school grounds. Administrators say these officers are not enough to combat the growing violence in the schools. Fingerprint scanners would provide a means of anticipating problems and deterring violence.

Under the new system, fingerprint scanners would be placed at every school entrance open to students. They would scan in when they arrived at school, if they leave the building for lunch, when they come back, and when they go home for the day. Fingerprint scanners would be manned by trained guards who could notify others if there was a problem.

School security officers say fingerprint scanners would go a long way to prevent school shootings, fighting, bomb threats, drug use, and ditching. Using fingerprint identification would let them monitor when individual students enter and leave the school. This would be a deterrent to bringing in weapons and keep unauthorized non-students out. Officers would also be able to keep track of students with histories of violence or drug use and monitor when troublesome combinations of students were outside together. They believe drug use and gang related violence at school would drop significantly with this kind of fingerprint identification. Students ditching school would be easier to catch in the act as well.

Fingerprint identification at schools would potentially benefit law enforcement outside of school as well. Each student would have his or her fingerprints on file along with a photograph. They could be used not only to identify suspects in a crime, but also students who might be victims of kidnappings and other crimes. The fingerprint scanners would be able to tell when a student suspected of a crime or a missing student entered and exited the school. Police could use this information to piece together timelines of crimes.

Teachers agree that the fingerprint scanner solution is a Band-Aid, but a much needed one to prevent further acts of violence. A long-term solution would include investing in programs to prevent violence starting at a young age (possibly using the DARE program as a model), but this would require major investments by taxpayers and cooperation from parents.

Another arguments against fingerprint scanners in schools is that it would be very time consuming to scan each student each time he or she enters or leaves the building and this would disrupt the learning process. Even with new technology that makes fingerprint scanners very efficient, the process would significantly lengthen the amount of time needed for students to scan in one at a time at each entrance. Administrators say it will be some time before many schools will be able to afford enough fingerprint scanners to keep students moving freely.

Some people favor substituting face recognition software for fingerprint scanners. This could be much faster, but current face recognition software is much more expensive than
fingerprint scanners which are already on the market for consumer use. This would be prohibitive for many schools considering additional security measures. Most administrators agree that preventing a tragedy like the Columbine shootings would be well worth the extra time it took. They say we all have things we have to get used to if we want to be better prepared for all possibilities.

Some people think fingerprint scanners in schools would be a violation of students' rights of privacy. But others say using fingerprint identification in public schools would be no different from metal detectors in government buildings.

Whether schools use fingerprint scanners or face recognition software to ramp up security, there will always be questions about safety versus liberty. This debate can go on, but in the mean time our children have become targets for violence. If we must err, let us err on the side of safety for our children until we can find better ways of dealing with today's security threats for all of us.

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