Not content to simply entrust teachers with the apparently difficult task of looking, NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has backed the rights of several public schools who have installed high-tech fingerprint scanners to track which students are on campus at what times. The scanners, supposedly brought in to combat truancy and not to install a rudimental understanding of locked down facilities for students who plan on ending up either working in government security or in jail, have attracted severe criticism from Civil Liberties Australia, but have nevertheless been permitted by the NSW Government.
The new system removes the burden of roll call off the shoulders of teachers; people who have been employed to educate students between the hours of 9am and 3pm, in part because of their inability to visit the homes of students individually and personally they ensure they get to and from school between the hours of 4pm and 8am.
O’Farrell’s justification for the move comes in the form of this quote, “I think that’s a good thing because it reflects our policy of ‘local schools, local decisions’, which enables schools to make decisions that meet the needs of their communities.” But Civil Liberties Australia has extreme apprehensions about the issue: “We support proper use of new technology, but this development has inherent dangers which should be evaluated by schools, their governing bodies and parents,” remarked CLA chief executive officer Bill Rowlings. He argued further, “A scan on arrival just tells you who passed through the school gates on the way in. The only way to ensure a child is at school all day is to fingerprint the student every half hour. So pretty soon children will be scanned into every classroom, every separate facility within the school grounds.”
So if this is supposedly in place to prevent truancy, then surely they’re sorted out a way to stop kids from simply scanning in and doing the bolt. Call us sceptical, but we’ll take the overbearing judgment of a pair of burning eyes from a stern English teacher as she thunders down a good old fashioned role call any day.
Photo: Brendon Thorne via Getty Images.