School dinner cashless payment row

There’s a bit of a fuss going on in Berkshire regarding use of biometric data for school dinners. I’d never really considered the payments for school dinners to be an ecommerce related problem, but thinking back to my days at school, when you were issued with a paper dinner card ticked off with a marker pen as it was used, it makes sense to put a better payment process in place.

Several schools have tried plastic payment cards, but they get lost, bent, damaged and often (unsurprisingly) the magnetic strips become unreadable. The solution – fingerprints, take an image of the pupils fingerprint and they can use that to pay.

An added bonus is that parents can then not only top up their children’s school meal accounts online, they can also monitor exactly what their offspring are consuming at school and whether they’re eating healthily.

Of course nothing is quite that simple, a parent complained to a Lib Dem Councillor that their child had been fingerprinted and now all sorts of questions are being asked.

Should children be fingerprinted, is it a violation of their civil liberties, even though it’s only an image of their fingerprint that stored and it’s not shared outside the school?

Not having children I’m not well qualified to answer these questions, so to those of you with children what are your thoughts? Would you support a cashless payment system for school dinners that identifies your child from a finger scan? Would you prefer to be able to top up their account online? Or would you prefer the old days where they forget or lose their dinner card and go hungry or have cash extorted from them in the playground?

What’s the best method for children to be able to pay for school dinners in today’s modern world?