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Florida School District Begins Fingerprinting Students 294

Posted by timothy
from the mandatory-attendance-including-your-fingers dept.
First time accepted submitter Boogaroo writes "The Washington County school district in Florida has placed fingerprint scanners at the entrance to Chipley High School. They've also made a decision to run an alternate trial by placing the scanners on buses since most kids in the district ride buses every day. Since the beginning the fingerprinting, attendance is up, but not everyone is in agreement that the costs and risks are worth the attendance boost." Aren't there simpler and less-creepy ways to count kids, like looking at empty desks?
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Florida School District Begins Fingerprinting Students

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  • by TheRealGrogan (1660825) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:31PM (#37649076)

    The nannying police state creeping into all aspect of people's lives. I would pull my kids out of any school that did that. I'd bet that "attendance" isn't the primary goal of this process.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:41PM (#37649166)

      Wet fingers cause problems (rain, just washed your hands, etc).
      Dirty fingers cause problems.
      Dirty scanners cause problems.
      Etc, etc, etc.

      I'm thinking that this is just an excuse to spend money on "hi-tech" for the school district. Follow the money. Who's getting paid for it?

    • by neo8750 (566137) <zepskiNO@SPAMzepski.net> on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:53PM (#37649260) Homepage
      When i was little we lived in NJ. I was finger printed by the school as far as i knew it was state law there. given this was 20 some years ago. (Damn im getting old)
    • On one hand it attendance is the issue I can sympathize with their goals. On the other hand, I'm nervous that this desensitizes those kids to finger printing.

      On my third non-existent hand, what would their primary goal be if you doubt their sincerity? Kick backs for buying these products? Not gathering fingerprints as my school, several times in the 80s and 90s, took my fingerprints with full blessings from the parents as part of "kidnap recovery" programs. Few parents said no to that.

    • Where they're always sceaming about intrusive government and their rights. Go figure. More fascism for a fascist state.

    • And go where? Eventually this will be mandated at private schools, and not everyone has the resources to home school.

      • And go where? Eventually this will be mandated at private schools, and not everyone has the resources to home school.

        Ya think so? Why?

        The elites don't go through the scanners at the airports, either, why do you think they would try to mandate anything for their kids?

  • Sadly, no (Score:5, Funny)

    by lolcutusofbong (2041610) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:31PM (#37649078)
    Florida students have been hiring illegal Cuban body doubles for years now.
    • by Larryish (1215510)

      This could be an attempt to keep drop-outs from sneaking in to sell various things to their friends.

      • This could be an attempt to keep drop-outs from sneaking in to sell various things to their friends.

        Then wouldn't the result be that attendance is down, instead of up?

  • Know thy students (Score:5, Interesting)

    by burnit999 (1845596) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:32PM (#37649088)
    "Aren't there simpler and less-creepy ways to count kids, like looking at empty desks?" Are you suggesting that teachers should actually get to know the kids in their classes so that they can recognize when someone isn't there? How dare you. Think of the children. I suppose next you will be saying that it is ok for teachers to talk to students outside of class or even be friends on facebook! If we allow this sort of outrageous behavior our kids may have adult figures in their lives that are actually worth looking up to!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SpiralSpirit (874918)

      yes, blame this on teachers, not on the management that is making the decisions. good job, you've managed to blame someone with no say in this at all!

      • somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed,. that was obviously a sarcastic post and you jump on him...calm the **** down kid.

        • by syousef (465911)

          somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed,. that was obviously a sarcastic post and you jump on him...calm the **** down kid.

          ...or else we'll have to take your prints!!!

      • by Fnord666 (889225) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @04:12PM (#37649786) Journal

        yes, blame this on teachers, not on the management that is making the decisions. good job, you've managed to blame someone with no say in this at all!

        Whooosh!!!

      • by houghi (78078)

        I raise your management with the parents and the general public.

        As long as they keep voting for fake safety, do not take any responsibility and let it all happen, it is going to get worse.

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      Just wait until the kids figure out they can cut off their fingers and pay jonny two shoes to scan-in for them every day, No more school!!!!

    • If we allow this sort of outrageous behavior our kids may have adult figures in their lives that are actually worth looking up to!

      I thought you were talking about public school teachers?

    • by KalvinB (205500)

      I'm currently student teaching (High School) and there are a lot of reasons not to friend students on Facebook. My current primary reason as a student teacher is that I'm still exploring the limits of personal information / stories that can safely be shared without it coming back as an attempted torture device. I told students I took French in high school and college and a student decided calling me "Frenchie" would be a good idea. I just laughed and said "Say 'chowder'' which defused that right away. F

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:32PM (#37649092)

    Lets just go all out and fuck our society

  • Ah yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:33PM (#37649096) Homepage

    Getting the new generation ready for "Papers please, Comrade" and "If you go nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" society.

    • It's pretty sad that our kids are going to hear stories about how good things were back in our day. I'm not putting my kids into this kind of crap, no way. I'll home school them in the evenings after work if that's what it takes.
      • Every generation gets to hear stories about how good things were

        Heck, my parents got to walk to school in the cold! And if they misbehaved, they got hit with a ruler! They loved it!

        But yeah, things will suck for the future kids. I may consider not having any just to spare them the misery.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Society already accepts the use of law enforcement for the purposes of social engineering, there is no need for expensive measures like travel papers and universal tracking.

      A good example is the use of societal resources against people found to be in possession of small amounts of unapproved substances. There is something really twisted about a societal barometer that judges the possession of a small amount of marijuana as a worse thing than detainment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dutchmaan (442553)
      I find your implication of communism a bit ironic considering that I'll bet you more than anything that it was a business man that made a deal with the school district to get his product sold, and not the school district seeking out a finger printing system to buy. People moan about the "nanny state" when I'm personally more concerned with business men using the state as the consumer and pulling strings to get their products shackled onto the public.
      • Don't you mean business women "using the state as the consumer and pulling strings to get their products shackled onto the public."?
      • I find your implication of communism a bit ironic considering that I'll bet you more than anything that it was a business man that made a deal with the school district to get his product sold, and not the school district seeking out a finger printing system to buy. People moan about the "nanny state" when I'm personally more concerned with business men using the state as the consumer and pulling strings to get their products shackled onto the public.

        Isn't that a problem with government, though? I mean, businesses don't have coercive authority, only governments do. Blame the corrupt politician or bureaucrat or the system itself for allowing this to happen. It's bad, yes, but I find it hard to blame a business for taking advantage of government corruption when it can create a big market for their products.

        Take Virginia. The entire state IT infrastructure was given to Northrop Grumman along with $2 billion to run it. And they have run it into the gro

        • by Dutchmaan (442553)
          Don't get me wrong I aboslutely agree with you 100%, it's the kickbacks and the corruption that comes with people trying to make a buck for themselves that is the root of the problem, be they in the business sector or the government. My main issue was with the parent poster's use of 'communist' terminology to define the situation, which I feel is 100% opposite of what's going on here. Governments do have coercive authority over the people.. and businesses have a corruptive influence on the government offici
  • by SpiralSpirit (874918) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:33PM (#37649116)

    Since when was it ok for government to force you to be fingerprinted if you haven't been charged with a crime, joined the military or police, or work in some other high security facility?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Since when was it ok for government to force you to be fingerprinted if you haven't been charged with a crime, joined the military or police, or work in some other high security facility?

      Ever since schools became high security facilities, of course.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      Schools are high security facilities now, haven't you heard? Some schools have better security than many prisons, and that attitude is only spreading. Bars on doors and windows, metal detectors, locker searches, I think some schools will even have strip searches on occasion (I remember hearing about just such a story on /. a while back).
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Since when was it ok for government to force you to be fingerprinted if you haven't been charged with a crime, joined the military or police, or work in some other high security facility?

      Ah, have you seen a campus recently? I'd say the latter example you've provided fits pretty damn well here. It's nothing more than a high security facility with kids "working" there.

  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:36PM (#37649134)
    What happened to the good (not so old) rollcall
    • It takes time. There's a good argument for wanting to get rid of it, because it can waste 5 minutes at the start of a lesson. My school only did them first thing in the morning and after lunch, not sure if American schools do them more or less frequently, but that's still ten minutes of the school day wasted. It always seemed a bit pointless to me, because if you wanted to skip school you could go to those two lessons, skip everything else, and still appear on the register. I can see why you'd want to s

      • It takes time. There's a good argument for wanting to get rid of it, because it can waste 5 minutes at the start of a lesson.

        I don't remember the process taking 5 minutes ever, not even the first week of class when teachers often did an actual roll call while they learned the kids' names. Maybe you had larger classes, mine were usually around 30 kids but often less and a missing kid was noted pretty quickly. Teachers without that mental gift would do a quick head count or put the students in assigned seats and keep the attendance log sorted by seating order.

  • by PPH (736903) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:38PM (#37649150)

    Patrol the shopping malls during the school day. Nab all the 15 year old girls who ditch class and hang out at Starbucks with their 27 year old mullet-wearing, TransAm driving boyfriends. Crack down on the 'homeschooling' moms who ditch their kids and hang out at the cocktail lounge all afternoon.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In my country some towns do this. Policemen patrol the city, identify every young person, then contact their school to check if they have a class at the time. If they do, the policemen take them to the station, and their parents have to come for them. The same happens if the kid can't identify themselves, wich is really absurd because here you are not required to carry an ID 18, and you can't even get one 16.

    • by Belial6 (794905)

      Crack down on the 'homeschooling' moms who ditch their kids and hang out at the cocktail lounge all afternoon.

      That is a new kind of 'homeschooling' mom that I have never seen. 100% of the "I don't want to deal with my kid. I just want to go out drinking" moms I have ever seen have been huge fans of the school system. The school facilitates daytime drinking in parents. I'm not saying that there is no one that fit's your homeschool drunk mom demographic, but it is certainly rare. Public school drunk moms (and dads for that matter) are WAY more prevalent. Even then it is a very small percentage.

  • Wellllll (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cmv1087 (2426970) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:39PM (#37649156)

    We already have cops in high schools, given the principals the authority to ruin the lives of high school students on the slightest whimsy, and eroded (if not destroyed outright) any suspicion that these students nearing adulthood actually have any rights while ensuring the parents have no actual responsibility for their child's eventual success or failure.

    I will point that there have been pushes to fingerprint kids in schools all over the nation for years now. Fingerprint scanners are a natural combination of this and the above. Schools are prisons and daycares now. Who needs education? Just give them a pass if they can spell their name and move on.

    • " suspicion that these students nearing adulthood actually have any rights while ensuring the parents have no actual responsibility for their child's eventual success or failure."

      The issues are way more complex then you're painting it. The whole idea that a childs scholastic failure is the result of the parents has a whole tonne of social assumptions and expectations built into it as well as ideology, socioeconomic model. Not to mention the general douchebaggish nature of the human race generally speaking

      • by sjames (1099)

        We have over 10% unemployment right now. That means the rest are working harder than they should be. Work is not an intrinsic virtue, it is a necessary evil. The willingness to do one's fair share of a necessary evil is the virtue. Our society has been manipulated by the leaders so that in defiance of any logic, those who do the cushiest work get the lion's share of the money and the people who do the most odious work barely get by. All capped by a few at the top who do nothing but talk about how wonderful

        • Of course. It's cheaper to make somebody on salary do an 80 hour work week with no overtime than it is to hire a second person so they both work 40 hours. It's all about the profit margins at corporations.

          Incidentally, that's also why I studied arts when I went back to University, and why I avoid IT jobs like the plague these days. That kind of mistreatment doesn't seem to happen nearly as much when you're working in a non-IT capacity.

          • by sjames (1099)

            You are correct and that is why our current economic system is at best a kludge. It will never be able to implement anything like a system we would actually consider to be just or rational.

    • We already have cops in high schools, given the principals the authority to ruin the lives of high school students on the slightest whimsy, and eroded (if not destroyed outright) any suspicion that these students nearing adulthood actually have any rights while ensuring the parents have no actual responsibility for their child's eventual success or failure.

      At my High School they still require Seniors who are 18 years old to get their parents signature for things like report cards and for signing out of school.

  • by GNUman (155139) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:46PM (#37649210)
    Good work freaking out the rest of the world, keep it up. Go USA.
    • Re:freaky (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:54PM (#37649266)

      I feel duty-bound to point out, the US is a wee bit behind on this..

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/09/schools-surveillance-spying-on-pupils
      http://www.vericool.co.uk/index.html
      etc etc etc...
      Just Google fingerprinting +schools + britain

      Y'know I bet you Orwell didn't realise he was writing a feckin 'How to' book...

    • by mvar (1386987)
      Don't worry the US are the testbed for such stuff. The UK will adopt it if it hasn't already and then the rest of the EU
    • Good work freaking out the rest of the world, keep it up. Go USA.

      Don't generalize too much, school districts here are pretty autonomous. Even within a single state you'll find a wide variety of practices and policies.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:48PM (#37649226) Homepage

    The US Supreme Court has found on at least two [justia.com] occasions [justia.com] that collecting fingerprints constitutes a search, and that the government must therefor produce probable cause before being allowed to do so.

    Especially when you consider that for kids under the age of 16, attendance at High School is required by law, they are now in the ridiculous position of requiring a search without probable cause for failing to break the law.

    • by sco08y (615665)

      Neither of those held that a fingerprint is a search. They concluded that it is evidence based on "the fruit of the poisoned tree." Any evidence that is brought to light, whether it is testimony, physical evidence or otherwise, that only comes to light because of an illegal action by the police can be classified as such.

      (Personally, I think it's a stupid doctrine. The person should be guilty based on the evidence, but the individuals involved in the illegal conduct should then liable to that person or their

      • by timothyf (615594)

        If the search was conducted illegally, how can you trust the evidence not to have been tampered with?

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        So an illegal search which results in a murder conviction and lethal injection. What damages are you proposing the searcher pays? Do we need anohter court case with a jury deciding if just how much difference that search made? I predict no jury ever convicts anyone for it and the police trample rights even more than they do now.

        The doctrine is fine as it is. The cost of letting a guilty person go free is far far lower than the poice ignoring the rights of the people. Said guilty person can still be convicte

      • An interesting thought, about the illegal search thing, but I think the reasons used in US Law for dispensing with any evidence 'from a poisoned tree' so to speak has more to do with uncertainty about the validity of said evidence. Not to say the evidence will be tainted or invalid, but that if the officer could not be arsed to follow the book to obtain the evidence in the first place, the chain of evidence is tainted from the onset. Better to let 100 guilty men go free type of thing.

        • by gewalker (57809)

          Actually the reasoning behind the poisoned fruit logic is that the consequences will be such a significant impediment to prosecution so that the police won't be tempted to use illegal methods in the first place. There are exceptions (all requiring good faith errors by law enforcement)

      • Personally, I think it's a stupid doctrine. The person should be guilty based on the evidence, but the individuals involved in the illegal conduct should then liable to that person or their family for damages equivalent to the additional sentence imposed as a result of it.

        How would this work in murder cases? The guy still goes to death row, and the infringing police are liable for the value of the man's life? You're talking about indentured servitude for cops who screw up; even the value of time in prison often comes to at least $10,000/year when it's calculated in cases of wrongful imprisonment.

        Plus not all poisoned evidence comes about from clear-cut police misconduct. It seems semi-common to hear of searches being overturned in court based on simple mistakes that made

      • by tragedy (27079)

        Personally, I think that an officer who is allowed to commit what amounts to crimes such burglary under certain conditions which justify the action should be charged with the crime that they committed if the special conditions which justify the action don't exist. I note that you mention that they should be "liable to that person or their family", which implies that you've considered the possibility that the "search" kills the "suspect". For pretty much any other profession, making a simple mistake when peo

      • by sjames (1099)

        If we really want it to stop, we will keep the poisoned tree doctrine AND prosecute involved police for their actions exactly as anyone else unless they can show they acted in good faith (in which case we just toss the illegal evidence). That is, charge them with breaking and entering and burglary. Since a search would be illegal and police never have a duty to break the law, it could only have been a private act of the individuals involved.

        Currently, in defiance of abundant evidence to the contrary, we jus

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by artor3 (1344997)

      Those cases were back before the Republicans started stacking the SCOTUS with partisan hacks. If those cases were argued today, the result would yet another 5-4 decision pissing on us serfs.

      • So you're arguing that all five of the current justices nominated by conservative presidents are "party hacks" through and through? You don't think that's a bit of an overstatement, not to mention just as partisan and self-righteous as any Republican?
        • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @06:16PM (#37650594)

          They ruled that money is equivalent to speech, and corporations deserve all the rights of actual human beings. They issued this ruling, overturning a near century of precedent, because it benefited their party in an upcoming election. Even the plaintiffs that "won" the case hadn't asked for such a ruling -- the so-called "justices" ordered them to go back and re-argue the case for no reason other than to give them an excuse to issue the ruling they had already decided on. Only an absolute fool could fail to recognize just how corrupt they are.

    • Until you're 18 you don't have rights, you have privileges. If parents don't like public education and the rules to attend they can go to a private school or home school. This is why it is important to defend both those options and make them as available as possible.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @02:56PM (#37649284)

    I'm not sure a school can legally take a fingerprint from a kid even the police can only do so if the person in question has committed a crime. Also, what about the kids who don't use the schoolbus?

  • Sheeple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by p51d007 (656414) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @03:16PM (#37649424)
    People don't get it yet. They know good & well that ADULTS will balk at anything like this, as they have demonstrated during the last election. We don't want government telling us what to do, so, they enact their silly little socialist utopian ideas in the schools. Think about it. Starting with your first day of kindergarten, they have the children place their OWN school supplies in a box...a "community" box, that everyone can share, because some may not have those bla bla bla bla. Then, it's off to the cafeteria, where in some schools, you are prohibited from bringing certain snack items to school, which will be taken away because they "aren't good for you". Then, in one school, instead of parent-teachers meetings being held at the school, they want the teachers to come to your house to see how your kids act in their home environment. The fingerprinting, is done for "safety". Don't you sheep get it? They know that by the time these brainless kids are adults, they will be conditioned to accepting searches, eating "the right foods" and on and on. Listen to what the commies said when they started the whole stupid idea...“Give me just one generation of youth, and I'll transform the whole world.” Vladimir Lenin Get em while they are young, and you can have them forever Adolph Hitler pretty much said the same thing. Give me the youth of Germany, and I can rule the world. He almost got away with that! Thankfully, he was a complete moron. Wake up people...before it is too late! Around 50% of the USA gets "free stuff" from the government. When more than 50% realize they can vote to make the rest of those pay for their "free" lifestyle, this country is history.
  • Unfortunately, the guy who came up with this idea isn't the dimmest light bulb in the pack.

  • Wate of money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mustangdavis (583344) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @03:24PM (#37649472) Homepage Journal
    As our nation's schools "cry poor", this school district has the NERVE to waste money on a system like this? A classic case of TERRIBLE administrators, and people not wanting to be accountable. Get this ... we PAY teachers, administrators and bus drivers to keep track of the kids. Why do we even need this? The only think this school is teaching with this system is only good for criminals ... and that is how to be finger printed. Is that the kind of future we want for our kids???
  • by LoRdTAW (99712) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @03:30PM (#37649498)

    So finger print scanners are increasing attendance? I call bullshit. When I was in high school 13+ years ago they had this thing called attendance. Each teacher would check to see if we were in class. So once that data was compiled at the end of the day by the attendance office, it was known if you skipped a class, skipped out after half a day or the entire day. And the next day you could expect the home room teacher to send you directly to the deans office as they would be notified in the morning.

    The funny thing was during my first year we had a school ID card with a bar code. It was pretty high tech for 1994 and the scanner had a slot you stuck your card into, kind of like an ATM machine. It had an LCD screen and three lights on top. If you cut class or skipped out for a day or committed any other offence to the school, the scanner would lock your card, sound an alarm and the read light would flash. School staff who monitored the clock in process would then escort those red flagged students to the deans office.

    During my second year the scanners were gone. No one told us what happened but my shop teacher in senior year did. He said during the summer of 94 there were contractors working on the school and sometime during the summer the machines were stolen. They couldn't prove who did it and they couldn't convince the board of Ed to fund replacements. So after that we went back to old fashioned paper and pencil attendance which worked just as well.

    And in all seriousness the school cant force kids to go. I knew plenty of kids who didn't give a shit about school and would take entire weeks or months off. They failed and either kept going and skipping class or just dropped out. If the kids don't give a shit, no fancy bio-metric scanner will make them go to class. Their parents didn't care either and probably saw the school as a free baby sitting service. The stupidity of schools never ceases to amaze me.

    • by Bengie (1121981)

      "I knew plenty of kids who didn't give a shit about school and would take entire weeks or months off."

      Over here, if your kids skip school too often, you get fined some like like $200.

  • by formfeed (703859) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @03:51PM (#37649624)

    I was completely unaware of the fact that Florida had residents under the age of 65.

    They have children, too? - That means, that somewhere in Florida they also would have to have women under the age of 45-50.

  • Finger scanners used by private industry are not the same as the the scanners used by police. The police scanner takes an exact picture of the fingerprint and sends it through a system which compares it with national databases. Commercial scanners do not store an exact fingerprint and therefore are not valid for identifying a person in a court of law. They take a scan of the finger and use an algorithm to reduce it to a hash. This hash is then compared with the database of other hashes to find a match. For

    • by tragedy (27079)

      The system(s) the police use stores a picture of the print, but it also examines the features of the print and stores it as a hash. Even that may not be universal since there have been plenty of different vendors and standards throughout all the different jurisdictions and authorities collecting prints. You don't actually think that fingerprint searches are done by running some sort of image comparison between the print they're looking for and every other print in the entire system do you? It looks cool on

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        Here are a few issues;
        1. The hashes woulds have to be compatible. Different algorithms create different incompatible hashes. Conversions don't even work as data is lost during the hash and the original print can not be re-created.
        2. The school hashes would have to be accessible by the police. They are not and it would be illegal for the police to access them. Any arrest and subsequent searches based on a match from a school database would be thrown out in court. So even looking at the school database would

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @04:40PM (#37650002) Homepage Journal

    the only finger that these students should give to the authorities there is the one located between the index and the ring finger.

  • You can bet on it - this all comes from some sales guy who convinced the school system that they had to do it for some bogus reason. He's got his commission, the school will abandon these after a little while, the taxpayers get gypped, but not in a way that most of them will notice.

    This is the story of most modern government...

  • Here are at least some day care centers where the parents are finger printed so they can enter the day care center.
    And somehow it doesn't sound too stupid.

  • That public schools in America are nothing more than prisons?
  • by Alicat1194 (970019) on Saturday October 08, 2011 @11:33PM (#37651902)
    Apart from the political / legal / social implications of this, has anyone considered the health problems it might cause?

    Consider this: Little Johnny has the flu, and wipes his nose with his finger (hey, he's a kid, they do gross things). He then puts his finger on the scanner. Little Suzy comes along after him, puts her finger on the scanner, and picks up a nice little viral present left behind by Johnny (being a kid she also doesn't think to wash her hands afterward).

    Repeat for 100+ kids, and the viral / bacterial load on the scanner would be a pathologists dream.

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