Schools can fingerprint children without parental consent

>Another reason to homeschool<

M V Smith, September 12, 2006

Now we have it. The state is going entirely mad. But this is something that I have predicted some time back when I told people that the truth is that the state regards your children, all children, as its property, and let me stress again the word PROPERTY, to do with as the state sees fit, with the parents just being permitted to care for the child/children. (More about that in a future article)

It now turns out that parents cannot prevent schools from taking their children's fingerprints, according to the Department for Education and Skills and the Information Commissioner.

But parents who have campaigned against school fingerprinting might still be able to bring individual complaints against schools under the Data Protection Act (DPA).

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) has now admitted to the media that schools can fingerprint children without parents' permission. Worrying? I sure should think so.

According to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) "the Data Protection Act is about the pupil's rights, not the parents' rights over the children's information."

You might think that a child's fingerprint is one of the most personal pieces of information that can be stored in a database. But the type of information is irrelevant to the Act. Even a child's age is of little importance to the DPA, said Smith.

More important than consent even, the guidance will consider how a fingerprinting system has been applied: whether it is reasonable and proportionate. If a school wants to use children's fingerprints to control their use of its library books, anti-biometric parents might not have much room for protest within the law.

What do you do, David Smith, deputy Information Commissioner, asks, if a child refuses to have its fingerprint taken but a parent insists that it should?

The Data Protection Act is clear on this. The parent only has limited opportunity to control the consent of their child.

"Where the child isn't capable of giving consent then under the data protection act it should go to the parents," said Smith.

Schools might not even have to inform parents as long as the fingerprinting system doesn't offend the DPA and children have the capacity to decide for themselves, he said.

But who gets to say whether a particular child is capable of consenting to their biometrics being taken - whether a child understands the implications of what they are being asked to do, or whether the decision should be deferred to the parent?

"That's for the school to decide," said Smith.

All decisions, it would appear, are for the schools to make and that includes whether or not to inform the parents of the children and to ask for the consent of said parents. Have you woken up as yet dear reader, as to how the state thinks of you, the parent, in regards to your rights over your child?

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