LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Unified School District is pushing a plan to fingerprint some students before they can get their lunches.

Critics say the plan to biometrically identify students could lead to civil rights violations, but the district insists a cashless food system would pose no security or privacy risks.

Superintendent Ramon Cortines says struggling students who receive free lunches would no longer have to pay with embarrassing tickets. The plan is also designed to save money while speeding up long lines.

As the nation’s second-larges district, the LAUSD serves more than 500,000 meals a day.

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Comments (76)
  1. notlovinLA says:

    LAUSD has literally no money for the students’ and teachers’ curriculum and they want to spend money on this idea? What sounds like a better and cheaper plan is to teach the students some compassion and understanding for the students on free lunches. Besides, I don’t hear ridiculing coming from students who aren’t on free lunches towards those that are. What a waste of precious dollars this would be!

    1. One who knows says:

      This system is very inexpensive to implement and will pay for itself quickly.

      1. NO MORE WELFARE says:

        Show me your proof that it will be inexpensive. I have a better idea. Let’s give everyone free lunches. That way no one will be embarrassed because they have the money. While we are at it… Let’s give everyone a laptop and new sneakers and the latest big screen tv.

  2. American 1776 says:

    Why should anyone have to pay to have their food? Just give everyone free everything, the taxpayers won’t mind. After all don’t we work so you can have free. Isn’t that the new American way?

  3. ginny25 says:

    IF the LAUSD is gong to spend money on anything, how about they firstspend it on verification that all of those enrolled in the free melas programs actually qualifyfor it. I know first hand of many that do not qualify yet receive the meals for nothing. But if they shose to ignore that this is going on and has been since the program started, how much is this newed brilliant idea really going to cost? I don’t trust any of their numbers.

    1. Duh! says:

      So Ginny,
      If you know first hand that people are abusing the system, why haven’t you reported them? You are part of the problem.

  4. ginny25 says:

    Sorry for my typos this morning.

  5. utopian87 says:

    Once again, LAUSD finds a way to spend outrageous amount of money on ludicrous programs. Spend the money on more useful things, i.e. Teachers/Schools, educational programs.

  6. Lomairena says:

    LAUSD once again doesn’t get it! If your going to invest $ in this rediculous system then just provide free health meals to all students (it’ll be cheaper). Invest the $$ in where you need it most computers, books, teachers, etc. Hmmm, did they just hand out pink slips because they didn’t have enough $$$ to pay their teachers. LAUSD go back to the basics!

  7. liberty is dead says:

    What a wonderful idea.
    Lets gather some unique bio-identifying information from the low income populace to make it easier to convict of later crimes.
    After all, the prison industry needs convicts to help pay the bills, and who better to target than the people that cant afford to properly defend themselves.

    The rate of ‘unsolved’ crimes will go up, the prison population will go up, and who wants these un-desirables on the street anyway right?

    After all, all the law enforcement need to place you at the scene of the crime are your finger prints.
    Go ahead and give them all they need to place you anywhere they want.

    1. David says:

      The system being used has a proprietary encoding system that in way can be used to replicate an individuals fingerprint for identification purposes. Secondly, this system is very low cost.

      1. David says:

        I meant “in no way can be used.”

      2. Freddy W says:

        David: You are delusional if you honestly believe that a system that recognizes fingerprints “can in no way be used” to replicate them.

        Do you also think that downloading Anti-Virus software means that you “can in no way get a virus?”

  8. Stone - Like a Rock says:

    I love it, the idea is: “would no longer have to pay with embarrassing tickets”
    The solution: “Instead of tickets, we’ll be fingerprinting them”

    You think that the students won’t notice that too? Except now your giving them the exact replication of one of the most associated-with processes of being arrested. Kinda stigmatizing them by this association may leave students feeling as if they did something wrong.

  9. Spock says:

    This is all part of the Socialist movement, Did not Obama say he wants Biometric ids on everyone? (oh except illegals, they do not need id’s) this is the test for it!!

  10. Adam says:

    If parents let this happen to their children then they are bad parents!

  11. JoeS says:

    So THIS is where people get the idea there really is something called a ‘free lunch’. It is ingrained at an early age and bulds from this seed. How horrible that a parent won’t pack a lunch for their offspring. It doesn’t cost much to supply a lunch. Our last child is a senior in high school and still takes a lunch in a brown bag.

  12. ValleyMom says:

    The free lunch program at LAUSD is so heavily promoted that at my daughter’s high school this year, locker assignments weren’t issued to anyone until they had filled out the free lunch paperwork. Whether you ended up qualifying or not, or elected to simply put a check in the box for “not interested,” it still showed how powerful the welfare operation in this state has become so that everyone has to participate in it, like it or not. What a lousy message to send to our youth!

  13. give me a break says:

    We’re edging closer and closer to imbedded chips just like dogs.

  14. Crosscut says:

    Could be a good way to weed out some illegals too.

  15. Sean Patriot says:

    We need to Pray.

    Pray for meteors to wipe California, DC and Iran off the map.

    1. ValleyMom says:

      You sure you want to wipe California off the map?

      No other state compares to California when it comes to agriculture. California is the top producer of agricultural products in the nation and has been for 50 consecutive years. You might not like the people who live here, but the state is doing the lion’s share when it comes to producing food for the country.

      1. Cogs says:

        actually it’s the 51st state…Mexico that produces the most food for the USA.

      2. Ray says:

        Weed doesn’t count.

  16. gov_spy says:

    We should install micro-chips into poor people to keep track of them.

  17. Aunt Bee says:

    All government schools should be shut down. There is no provision in the constitution for public education and they are dens of abject stupidity creating unknowing, uncaring and unmanageable dolts. http://911essentials.com

  18. Ray2447 says:

    Don’t forget, there are more Republicans in California, than the entire population of many a Midwestern state. We lost California to illegal aliens during the Reagan years, when I personally saw Hispanic, gang graffiti explode in my neighborhood. Couple that with decades of the federal government’s Dept. of Ed.. ruining our schools and you have a recipe for disaster, that a huge number of citizens in California (read Large number of Republicans) have had forced on them. Bush did nothing about it during his term. What a wasted Presidency his was for true Republicans. Obama is now preparing such a Reagan years scenario for other states. Wake up America your country is being ripped out from under you.

    1. patricia allen says:

      what in the world are you talking about? California is an extreme democratic state. look who is constantly voted into office!!

  19. Kevin says:

    They tried this in Irvine at the IUSD and the parents stopped this fast

  20. Sisao Tresed says:

    My parents were dirt poor, and my old man worked 2 jobs for most of my childhood. He was a WWII veteran, and my mother and father made sure that their 5 kids went to Catholic School, wore clean clothes ever day, and brought a sack lunch each day. We ate dinner at the same old rickety table, and we lived in an old house that my father used as his project, fixing it up, whenever he had any spare time. All of my siblings are successful, family people, who are well-liked within their respective communities. I know what my father’s opinion would be regarding getting a “finger scan, vs tickets for free lunch. He’s say “if yer gettin’ it free, then you don’t have any say in the accounting system.” I guess he was just a mean racist.

  21. rob says:

    My high school Palm Harbor University High School, near Tampa, Fl has been using this system for two years now. The creators claim that no image is taken of the finger, and instead uses a system that reads patterns on your finger print. I never liked this system because any computer system that can identify me uniquely, even without a picture, could one day harm me legally. The only opt-out option they gave us was to remember a 16 digit number and recite it everyday with a line of dozens of people waiting behind.

  22. Mike says:

    What our society is going through right now has been spelled out in the Bible. This is just a stones throw from the literal mark of the beast. Socialism, communism, Marxism–all are evil and all have crept into our society via the political system, by and large, via the Democratic Party. Ignorance, apathy, hunger and desperation have played a role in the ease with which these evils have overtaken our Republic. When will enough be enough? Will the families and students, the voters and taxpayers of LA stand up and say NO WAY! I doubt it. Too few care. Too many are corrupt who are in power. Too many are hungry and desperate and will take whatever relief they are offered. It worked with Adolf Hitler. And it’s working right here in America in 2010. God help us all.

    1. joe says:

      If you are a Christian, then you know that the ‘end times’ are a part of God’s plan. If what is going to happen is part of God’s plan, then you should know that it is GOING to happen, no matter who you vote for. No man can thwart God’s plans.

  23. heatherfeather says:

    Ten to one 90% of the parents whose children need “free” lunches smoke a pack a day, and have no shortage of $$ for beer.

  24. Sam says:

    This Orweillian development is shocking! What hath technology wrought? Oh wait. I just remembered that in 1990 at the University of Georgia on-campus cafeteria they were scanning our hands with biometric readers in exactly the same way. This was to validate identity and prevent the sharing/selling of the “all you can eat” meal plans with friends, etc. I know it has been 20 years, but could the black helicopters still be following me? Is this why I can’t unsubscribe from Smithsonian magazine? It’s all starting to make sense…

  25. lyndsy a says:

    im a mother of a child in public school in louisiana. just so you know all students who eat lunch whether paying or not, must have finger imaging. this is not the mark of the beast, as it is clear in the bible that the mark is a choice that you are aware of making and is a form of worship to the antichrist. not a fingerprint scan in your childs lunchroom. also the comments on this page are surprisingly disappointing. who are you to judge whether someone is a good mom b/c of legislature? think about the impression you are giving people. you are supposed to be loving of others as christians. these comments for the most part are a far cry from love your neighbor as thyself.

    1. Garry says:

      not so, It says no man may buy or sell lest they have the marc the number or the name, Ya see do not be ( succored ) later after the majority has given in then if you do not obey ie (worship) then they will simply shut off your account access , can’t pay rent get pay ect ect ect ….

  26. pac says:

    Let’s see, tickets are embarrassing and fingerprinting isn’t?

  27. Unplug says:

    The power behind the thrown want a cashless society in order to track and control you. Do you really think they care about you? Wake up!

  28. dt520 says:

    They wouldn’t have to use “embarrassing” tickets, they would just have to do something thats both embarrassing and violating their privacy. Don’t you love how this only happens in “open-minded” and progressive cities?

  29. NannyMo says:

    All these fingerprints will end up in a national database. Hello, FBI and CIA and LAPD. Why not just use a card reader and give the kids cards, like it cards? Because they want the fingerprints.

    1. joe says:

      #1. they are not fingerprints
      #2. kids forget their cards and can give the cards to other students
      #3. all your personal information is already in multiple national databases. get over it.

      1. Ray says:

        Welcome to the USSA kid. Some of us still fight for this country. Would you like me to buy your ticket to Russia?

  30. Tom Bender says:

    The LAUSD should learn how to run a school system and teach kids with proper books than some they used based on lies.
    What the LAUSD does to the school kids is criminal.

  31. Brian100 says:

    No. 1
    I don’t like any system or process that brings us closer to having numbers or bar codes on our hands or foreheads; or computer chips in our bodies. There are several companies that offer this stuff already.

    No. 2
    Physically touching a surface that the general public touches is very unsanitary. If you notice, more and more Movie Theaters and Restaurants have bathrooms that automatically flush or run faucet water. These high schoolers are going to be exposed to more germs when they touch the finger print digitizer.

    1. juan says:

      No. 3
      That’s why they have removed all the doorknobs and door handles at the LAUSD schools.

  32. Using School Children says:

    The School Board in Palm Beach County Florida approved this same thing. Parents had to OPT IN and not enough did to implement the program.

    This is just DAMN WRONG! Vote on November 2nd Get the nutz out of our government!

    Send people to investigate Palm Beach County District Schools. They are out of control.

  33. Rick A Hyatt says:

    “Red Dawn,” the movie, is alive and well in CA.
    I read of a new super-ballon that can transport cities, even.
    Can we transport LA to Red China, where it belongs?

    1. Patrick says:

      That’s the stupidest comment I have ever seen. What the heck does a dozen students fighting a guerrilla war against invading Soviet forces in the Midwest have to do with the LASD fingerprinting students?

      I’ve seen stupid comments before but you by far have outdone them all. I am shocked over how you even managed to turn your computer on.

  34. PT says:

    hey everybody. How about we don’t let the these fascists take our blood, scan our fingerprints or retina scans. Does no one see where there is heading? Has anyone seen the movie Gattaca? We need to stop the constant Government surveillance. We need our FREEDOM!

  35. Dan says:

    No free lunch. Let the kids learn that one!

  36. Facts says:

    LAUSD is not attempting to streamline services, it is attempting to fingerprint and catch thieves in one of the largest property theft schools in the nation.

    Like 24 Hour Fitness, which recently implemented fingerprint scans at all of its locations, it has a very high internal recurring property theft problem.

    It can’t place cameras in minor’s locker rooms, but it can fingerprint each kid and compare repetitive crime scene prints with students prints.

    Think that student’s prints won’t be used to solve crimes? Then you aren’t really up on what Police and the Justice Department are using FastTrak/EZPass data for these days.

  37. Chief568 says:

    This is a load of happy equine excrement folks! Sure it’s an inexpensive system…but WHY can’t they just let the kids buy MEAL CARDS like colleges do and let them use them like ATM cards?

    Sorry but this stinks to high heaven and I wouldn’t let them do it to MY kids!

  38. Marbran says:

    I had the meal tickets. Every Monday in homeroom they’d give me my five for the week, one lunch per day. No one ever made a comment about them in all the years I received them. There is another motive behind this program. They probably have fake lunch tickets going around.

  39. Patrick says:

    Might as well prepare these kids now for what is in store in their future. Most will be fingerprinted for the crimes they will commit so get them used to having their fingerprints taken now.

  40. George Orwell says:

    A generation raised on receiving lunch by paying with fingerprints will be GOOD SLAVES for the coming BIG BROTHER ONE WORLD GOVT – wake up people, they do it step by step – this is CONDITIONING for the future – just give them a card to pay with if needed.

  41. Jubal Harshaw says:

    Any chance that the data cam be passed to ICE?

  42. Plastics says:

    Why don’t they use a plastic card with a magnetic strip, like a school ID card. This is so stupid.

  43. Small Government says:

    It would be a lot cheaper/easier/better for society if they just stopped giving away free lunches.

  44. Anthony Minchella says:

    I’m 19 and live in Florida. My high school began doing this my senior year and it definitely does speed things up. However, in my opinion its a horrible waste of money and there is no guarantee that the information is disposed of once its no longer useful from students graduating/dropping out/transferring/etc. Having seen the benefits first hand i can understand where they’re coming from, but the benefits aren’t worth our students privacy. On a side note I stopped buying school lunches when it was implemented.

  45. maandrews says:

    Sad but true…. most of the LAUSD students are anchor babies and outright illegal aliens(some much,much older than their stated age) attending what amounts to free daycare with breakfast,lunch and afternoon snack.The dropout rate by the 10th grade is 60%!
    Most legal citizens now send their children to private schools or home school them
    keeping them out of what is now a racialized third world conflict zone and at the bottom in ranking!

  46. Rbrt says:

    This is already happening in our small town in Idaho. It definitely speeds things up and is working better than the plastic swipe cards.

    Privacy concerns, really? With the information we spew onto Facebook and other social sites, are we really crying about privacy?

  47. MsJ says:

    It is happening in LA now. I want to know how to get my child’s fingerprints out of the system when they no longer attend LAUSD. It does seem like it is a violation of my child’s civil rights, and especially when I wasn’t notified that the process was going into place.

  48. PyramidCY says:

    This is ABSOLUTELY A VIOLATION OF ONE’S CIVIL RIGHTS.’ You’ll NEVER get those fingerprints out of the system. DON’T FALL FOR THIS! It’s totally BS! Jim Crow was ‘well rationalized” too. PROTEST THIS! DO NOT LET THEM FOOL YOU!

  49. Esther says:

    Other school districts, like Downey and El Monte, have students just enter a lunch ID #…..There is no need for fingerprinting. What is next, orange jumpsuits as uniforms??. This is a bunch of B.S… Really, they were still using tickets??? I can’t believe they are fooling the public with this BS. Wake up people!!

  50. GetAClue! says:

    I don’t see a problem IF every child that doesn’t want to pay cash for lunch gets scanned. Parents who pay can set up an account online and deposit funds for their child – this will lessen the embarrassment for all children and decrease the time WASTED by LAUSD staff to wait for children to get their stuff together. Plus this ensures the a child who receives aid actually GETS the meals they deserve (these are KIDS people!) and can’t sell their tickets off. This program is one of the few good ideas that LAUSD has had in a long time.

    Get beyond the anti-welfare mentality – it will be more expensive for each and everyone of us in the long run to allow CHILDREN to not receive the proper nutrition they need to succeed in school. This program helps many, many innocent kids that have nothing to do with the actions of their parents.

    We need to help these children succeed in life or they will continue the cycle.

  51. Docrich says:

    It’s a great idea to remove waste, and that’s why it will not be used. If they realize that 60% of the kids that were signed up for free food at the beginning of school, are not eating, then the school will lose that $275 millioon budget money.

    The bioscan/RFID is just a test case for another time 😉

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