Mixed response to installation of fingerprint technology at Ellenbrook Secondary College

Stock image.
Stock image.

PARENTS and community members have taken to social media to argue for and against the installation of fingerprint technology at Ellenbrook Secondary College.

The College released a statement saying it was “leading the way in technology and security” with a new biometric technology system being installed.

OPINION: with Ellenbrook Secondary College bringing in fingerprint scanning, how far is too far in the name of safety?

The system uses fingerprint technology to manage student attendance and communicate with parents.

The school is only the third public school in WA to take on the new technology.

College principal Peter Havel said the school’s board approved the use of the new system, known as Academy, in late November.

The letter sent to parents (1/2).
The letter sent to parents (2/2).

“The way the system works is to record student attendance quickly and accurately by placing their finger or thumb on the scanner,” he said.

“The students sign in and select a reason that they are either late to school, leaving school early or seeing the school nurse, for example.

“The software identifies the student from their finger or thumbprint characteristics, but it does not keep a record of their entire finger or thumbprint.

“The system allows us real-time information about attendance of our students, which is very useful in a busy secondary school with more than 1700 students.”

Dr Havel said the news had caused some concern with students over privacy.

He said the image could not be replicated or used by other agencies or systems and would be deleted when the student was no longer enrolled at the college.

“Following a notice to parents last week, the school has had feedback from around 10 parents with questions and concerns about the system,” he said.

“The school’s executive team has been speaking with any concerned parents over the phone and will consider running an information session if there is enough interest.”

Parents and community members took to social media to discuss the issue in the Ellenbrook Community Chat and Connect group on Facebook.

Some said they felt concerned about the lack of consultation, while others declared it was not “anything to worry about”.

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