School buses test fingerprint scan

By Trevor Hughes and Michelle Mitchell|USA TODAY

A fingerprint scanner, laptop, GPS receiver and cellular data connection track which students are on which bus, and where exactly the bus is. Photo: Global Biometrics Security

The latest: A fingerprint scanning system, approved this month for testing at the Desert Sands district, northeast of San Diego. Students will be scanned as they get on and off the bus.

“Kids get lost. It happens in every school district, every year,” says John DeVries, president of Global Biometrics Security, which developed the Biometric Observation Security System (BOSS) that’s being tested.

It happened Oct. 13 when a Prince George’s County (Md.) school employee took a 5-year-old student to the wrong bus and the student got off several blocks from home. “That just shouldn’t happen,” says district spokesman Darrell Pressley. He says the district is now considering a system.

With BOSS, students’ fingerprints are scanned and sent to a database. When they get off, they provide a “check out” print. An alarm sounds if the child tries to get off at the wrong place.

The fingerprints are not stored, DeVries says. They are converted into a series of numbers that cannot be used to re-create the print, he says.

Margaret Gomez of Palm Springs, Calif., whose daughter, then 6, was let off a bus about a mile from her home three years ago, supports the idea. “Anything is better than what they have in place now,” she says.

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