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Safe Kids, Safe Schools: Evaluating the Use of Iris Recognition Technology in New Egypt, NJ

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2004
146 pages
This study presents an evaluation of the implementation and impact of iris recognition technology at three schools in New Egypt, NJ.
In 2002, the Plumsted Township School District received Federal funding to purchase iris recognition technology in its three schools: New Egypt Elementary School (NEES), New Egypt Middle School (NEMS), and New Egypt High School (NEHS). The technology chosen identifies teachers, staff, and parents seeking entrance to schools, makes a decision about granting entry, and unlocks the doors for those allowed entry. The process and impact evaluation was conducted from October 2002 to July 2003 and relied on both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Site visits were conducted, as well as interviews with teachers, staff, parents, and other stakeholders. Systematic social observation methods were employed to observe the system in use and a survey instrument was completed by parents and teachers. Finally, data were gathered on school visitation patterns. The findings concerning the implementation of the iris recognition program revealed some problems, such as the technology "freezing up" and issues of "tailgating," but overall, the implementation of the system appeared to be successful and most users considered it a safe and convenient method of security. The impact findings revealed ease of use and a heightened sense of safety for parents, as well as for teachers and staff. Six general recommendations are offered for those interested in implementing their own iris recognition system and nine recommendations are presented specifically for the improvement of the Plumsted Township School District iris recognition system. Recommendations include the need to remove outdoor cameras with low success rates and to keep video camera images of the entrances of the school on computer screens at all times. References, exhibits, appendixes

Date Published: December 1, 2004