(LAKELAND LEDGER) — BARTOW, Fla. — The unraveling began in late May, when the Polk County School District sent home a letter to parents. A new pilot program, it explained, will track bus riders using a feature unique to every child — their irises.
Parents could opt out, but by the time they learned about it, a company named Stanley Convergent Security Solutions had already captured images of about 750 children's eyes.
When parents began to complain, the district halted the pilot, chalking up its failure to inform parents to a clerical error. Rob Davis, a district administrator whose division includes transportation and school security departments, said his secretary belatedly emailed the letter to principals, who would have sent it to parents.
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But a look at emails sent among district staff members, along with interviews with administrators, show the late letter was only one of multiple behind-the-scenes mistakes that left parents and some top school administrators in the dark, allowing a company to collect children's biometric information without the parents' knowledge.