Nebraska students use fingerprints to buy lunch

Westside Community Schools is abandoning ID cards for student lunch purchases in favor of a fingerprint technology. Students "never lose their finger," a Westside Nutrition Services representative said.

Students at a Nebraska school district are using their fingers, instead of ID cards, to buy their school lunch.

Westside Community Schools, located in the greater Omaha, Nebraska, area, is abandoning ID cards for student lunches in favor of a biometric identification program.

“Students lose their ID, they left it at home, it went through the washing machine, there were all kinds of reasons why kids didn’t have an ID and it took a lot of time for them to fish it out of their pockets and holding their tray at the same time,” Diane Zipay of Westside Nutrition Services tells Omaha NBC affiliate WOWT.

“They never lose their finger.”


Under the new system, students pay for their items by scanning their fingerprint on a pad. The scanned image is checked against a database that retains all the students’ identification information, according to the news station.

Only about 20 families in the school district and a “few individual high school students” opted out of the fingerprinting program, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

“At the high school, the new system, along with changes in federal snack rules, means students now can have just one account for the main cafeteria and the convenience store rather than two separate ones,” according to the paper.

The technology behind the system has the added benefit of allowing parents to monitor what their children are purchasing.

The biometric readers and software cost the Westside district a total of $55,000, according to the paper.

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