Outrage over 'risky' feature in Sydney school's toilet

·News Reporter
·2-min read

A Sydney high school has installed fingerprint scanners to give students access to toilets, in a divisive move to prevent vandalism.

The technology at Moorebank High School is not compulsory, with students being able to instead use a keycard from the office to access the toilets.

The fingerprint scanners were installed in term three after two years of consultation with the school's community focus group, The Guardian reports.

And while almost all of the 1000 students have provided their fingerprint, not everyone is happy with the move.

Moorebank High School's new finger scanners outside toilets. Source: Google Maps and Nine News
Moorebank High School has installed fingerprint scanners at the entrance of toilets in a bid to address vandalism. Source: Google Maps and Nine News

"I've had my daughter's fingerprint deleted," parent Kylie Anderson told 9news.

"I rang the school straight away and told them to delete my daughter's fingerprint, she's not a criminal, you've taken my parents' rights away because you didn't consent me, no email, no nothing."

"Maybe the staff and teachers should have to give their fingerprints to use a toilet and be treated like criminals too," another mother chimed in on a Facebook group.

According to a statement from NSW Education, "all parents were notified" of the decision.

"The information was disseminated to parents via school newsletters and the minutes of community focus group meetings were also emailed to all parents,” it read.

While some believed it was a privacy risk, others thought it would be a good way to address vandalism, which they claim is being exacerbated by TikTok challenges.

"Students at my high school are causing thousands of dollars worth of damage every term, and we know this is happening everywhere," a student from another school said on Facebook.

"There are Tiktok challenges encouraging kids to damage / steal school property and post videos about this.

"They are pulling cisterns off the wall, pipes from the basins, soap dispensers ripped off the wall, mirrors smashed. Basically anything they can destroy they will."

Some also sympathised with the school, saying "It’s pretty sad that the kids have made this the only course of action for the school".

Program lead at Digital Rights Watch, Samantha Floreani, also spoke to The Guardian, saying preventing vandalism was not a good enough justification to do this.

“Students should have the right to go to the bathroom without having their biometric information collected, and [their] movements constantly monitored,” Ms Floreani said.

She warned that the risks outweigh any potential benefits when it comes to privacy.

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