Tags: Polk | eyes | scan | permission

Schools Scanned Kids' Eyes Without Parents' Permission

Monday, 17 Jun 2013 01:46 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Parents in a Florida school district are fuming after learning officials failed to ask permission to scan their children's eyes for a high-tech school bus security program.

The Polk County School District claims a series of errors led to the program moving forward. Parents were told they could opt out — but only after 750 students had had their irises scanned.

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"It sounds like a simple case of "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission," said Connie Turlington, whose 11-year-old son's eyes were scanned at the Davenport School of the Arts.

Even the interim school superintendent at the time, John Stewart, says he didn't know about the program until it was too late. District administrator Rob Davis admits his office emailed  principals in the central-Florida district too late for letters go out to the parents in time.

The company doing the scanning, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, started the scans before a contract had been signed, The Ledger reports.

"It was almost a comedy of errors," School Board attorney Wes Bridges said.

The company says it deleted the information it gathered from students, but parents say they still worry, saying nothing is ever really deleted from the Internet.

The district is no longer considering iris scans after the parents' protests, said Davis, but many parents believe the district's change of heart is coming too late.

"They have no concept of what they've done here," April Serrano, the mother of an 8-year-old, said. "I feel like my son's civil rights were violated."

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