An elementary school in Louisiana, planning to introduce a palm vein scanner in their cafeteria, is faced with the challenge of overcoming the concerns of some parents who fear the scanner could give their children the biblical Mark of the Beast.
After parents of students at the Moss Bluff Elementary School read a letter introducing a new program using a palm vein scanner to move students through the lunch line faster, many parents opposed the program, saying it could be prelude to giving their children the 666 Mark of the Beast.
According to a parent Mamie Sonnier, whose child is a student at Moss Bluff Elementary School, "I was very, very mad and disappointed [with the school authorities]." She explained: "As a Christian, I've read the Bible, you know go to church and stuff. I know where it's going to end up coming to, the mark of the beast. I'm not going to let my kids have that."
KPLC-TV reports the school principal Charles Caldarera, said the new system for the school, with almost 1,000 pupils, is designed to move students through the lunch line faster and more accurately. The Christian Post reports that instead of paying for meals or using a card, the device would scan the students' palms for identification.This will make the lines at school lunch time move faster.
Principal Caldarera said the school was acting on a recommendation from the school food service director, Patricia Hosemann. According to KPLC-TV, Caldarera said: "We are so large. With an elementary school, they all come through line, and most of them eat here. It would make us more efficient and more accurate. We've had parents complain in the past, because they felt like their children weren't eating, that we assigned them a charge for the day, and they might have been right."
Caldarera says Sonnier is not alone in her fears that the palm scanner will brand her children with the 666 Satanic mark. He said many other parents have also expressed fears that the palm vein scanner could lead to their children receiving the Mark of the Beast. Caldarera acknowledged their religious fears, saying: "I think a lot of this has to do with religious beliefs. I think some people feel it's something with the Bible, mark of the beast. It's technology that is used throughout our lives. Everywhere."
The principal, however, said the letter gave parents an option. He said: "We sent this letter home for parents to be aware of it, and to let them know that they can opt out. They can opt out and say, hey, I don't want my child involved in it. That's quite alright. It won't make any difference. The children will still be able to eat in the cafeteria."
Caldarera said the school has not yet implemented the new program. Sonnier said that if the program comes to the school, she would consider pulling her children out. She said: "I'd probably pull them out of the school, and transfer them to another school."
According to The Christian Post, the Bible (Rev 13: 15-18) warns about a satanic personality called the anti-Christ or "The Beast," whose mark, 666, would be stamped on people in the prophetic "end time." According to The Christian Post, many parents of students at the elementary school are afraid that the palm scanner device would somehow brand their children with the satanic 666 "Mark of the Beast." The Book of Revelation warns Christians that those who receive the Mark of the Beast are doomed for eternity.
The Huffington Post reports that Florida's Pinellas Schools were the first to adopt the palm scanning technology for students to use to pay for lunch. The technology uses infrared light to read each student's unique vein patterns. WTSP reports that Edward Rutenbeck, senior user support analyst with Pinellas Schools Food Services, said, "It's two seconds to buy a meal. Literally, two seconds."
Introduction of the lunch scanners also stirred controversy in Mississippi's Pearl Public School, but not for religious reasons, The Huffington Post reports. Parents were concerned that the cost of the scanners could divert funds from other relevant school projects. WAPT reports that Pearl Schools Superintendent Ray Morgigno, however, said the increased accuracy and speed the scanners allow would save money in the long run. According to The Huffington Post, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt incurred by school districts for lunch fees parents failed to pay.
According to the The New York Times, as at last February, New York City schools had incurred some $42 million in unpaid lunch fees since 2004. Columbus City Schools in Ohio, for instance, hired debt collectors to recover $900,000 in unpaid lunch fees.
The Huffington Post reports students are returning to school this year under guidelines designed to provide healthier lunch options. The changes are part of a healthy school lunch initiative by first lady Michelle Obama.
In spite of protests from parents who fear the Mark of the Beast, school principal Caldarera said authorities are working to introduce the new system as soon as possible.