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Retina scan aims to safeguard poor

Thursday, January 9, 2003

The Associated Press

LONDON -- A new high school said Wednesday its students will be charged for their lunches with a retina scanning device to prevent poor children who eat for free from being ridiculed in the cafeteria.

Dr. Ed Yates, headmaster of the Venerable Bede school, said the advanced eye-recognition software will be in place when the institution opens its doors to 900 students in September in Sunderland, western England.

He said the school is concerned that if students are forced to pay for their lunches in cash the poor ones who receive food for free could be stigmatized. So officials have decided to make the entire school "cashless."

The retina scanning device also will be used in the library when students take out and return books, Yates said.

He assured parents the low-intensity light of the retina scanning devices will be safe for all students.

"We think we are the first (school) in the country to use this," he said of the device. "But this is not a James Bond school for spies. ... This is not science fiction. This is technology that exists."

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