Strom Thurmond High School Eliminates ID Cards, Deploys Biometrics Identification

School turns to biometrics for cafeteria, can add readers for access control, library usage


WALL, N.J., Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- BIO-key International Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: BKYI), a leader in wireless public safety solutions and finger-based biometric identification, toady announced it was awarded a biometric contract to replace student ID cards at Strom Thurmond High School in Edgefield County, South Carolina.

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With 77 percent of its 1,012 students on a free or reduced lunch program, the Strom Thurmond High School staff sought an accurate student identification system that would work with their current cafeteria and library software. The solution also needed to be cost-effective and secure. The high school selected BIO-key's partner, identiMetrics for their identiFi (TM) solution. IdentiFi is based on BIO-key's award winning, patented biometric matching software. The system was installed by Retail Dynamics.

Strom Thurmond High principal, Greg Thompson, said, "As Principal, I am always interested in improving safety and efficiency in my school. One challenge has been accurate student identification in our cafeteria and library. Before identiMetrics, we used student ID cards with PIN's. Many students showed up every day without their cards and would be sent to obtain temporary or replacement IDs. This was extremely disruptive and significantly extended the time it took us to settle the school down every morning. We obviously needed a better solution."

"We wanted something that students could not forget, lose, damage or steal," Thompson continued. "At the same time, it had to be compatible with our existing cafeteria and library software and be cost-effective. We decided that finger-based biometrics was the solution. Students would never forget their fingers.

IdentiMetrics' solution scans a student's finger for identification and seamlessly integrates with any cafeteria application that uses swipe cards, PINs or bar codes. The software can also be used to identify students in other areas of the school for classroom attendance or in the library, nurse's office or even for security access to the front door.

"Biometric finger scanning identification was enthusiastically embraced by the School Board, Superintendent, teachers, parents and the community," Thompson added. "They all understood our need to correctly identify students and realized the disruption and cost required to administer an ID card program. Initially, there were questions regarding privacy; however, since BIO-key's finger scanning algorithms don't the actual fingerprint -- it uses unique identifying points -- everyone felt comfortable that the fingerprints couldn't be recreated."

Responding to a question of how the school environment changes in the morning since using biometrics, Thompson said, "The school now settles down within 10 minutes most mornings, a major improvement over when we used badges. "We have also significantly reduced the number of disciplinary actions required when students forget their badges. An unexpected benefit was reducing the number of student suspensions!"

"Our food service and library staffs mastered the program easily -- lines move quickly and account records are accurate. Our cashiers and librarians no longer have to type in student identification numbers for students who forgot their cards."

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