ENCINITAS -- Parents in the Encinitas Union School District are voicing their concerns over a biometric facial recognition software for school-issued iPads.
“I’m not against technology. The iPads have produced some really great programs from my kids,” said parent Jennifer Hamler.
Hamler said she is against installing the software.
The school district recently approved the software, which is manufactured from Virtual Keyring. The district says the software allows a simpler signon for students.
Hamler is calling the $63,000 price tag for the pilot program “a frivolous waste of money.”
On her change.org petition, others agree. One person called it an “invasion of privacy.” Another also said it was “wasteful.”
“We are constantly being asked to raise money for fundraising… yet they are spending $63,000 for a software program that scans our kids’ faces every 60 seconds,” Hamler said.
In an email to one parent, the district’s IT director said the software provides “strong cyber security” for the iPads.
EUSD Superintendent, Timothy Baird, Ed.D, released this statement to Team 10:
EUSD is in the very early stages of exploring the Virtual Key Ring project. Information will be sent out before anything is implemented district-wide. The goals of the project are to provide single sign-on capability as well as added protection of student data. Facial recognition would be an optional feature that parents could opt into in lieu of a password.
A pilot of the single sign-on software will be implemented with a select number of students and staff. Before the pilot is rolled-out, the parents and staff will be notified. This is a proof of concept pilot with the vendor. The vendor must show EUSD that the single sign-on process can work for our district students and staff. Funding for this project will be reimbursed by the vendor if the project does not pass the proof of concept pilot.