Protesters Oppose Finger Scanners

By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email
By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email

Jackson, Miss. The Mississippi Department of Human Services recently announced the statewide roll-out of a finger scan program for parents using federal money to pay for child care.

We've heard before from groups opposing the practice. And Friday they shouted out at the Mississippi Capitol to try to get the scans banned before the Oct. 1 start date.

"Come in and be a part of Tiny Tots. Many many good days and good parents too," said Bessie Walker of Tiny Tots Learning Center..

But the scattered toys, books and papers show those good days are coming to an end.

Walker's had the center for 34 years and refuses to put the controversial scanners at her front door.

"I cannot let a person come here and separate my students," said Walker. "Because if you walk in, you don't know who's on voucher and who's not on voucher. I can't allow for nothing like that to come in here. Can't be a part of that."

The E-Childcare System would pay the centers only for the times the child is present.

That's also the case for facilities that typically charge by the week.

And DHS won't reimburse for those absences.

"Have a classroom that this child is on roll. The teacher is still there, nothing has changed,"Walker said. "So that means if they're not paying you that means you are losing. You have to continue to have money to operate."

The same outrage led to rally cries outside the state capitol Friday morning.

"Ban the scan!" chanted the crowd.

Other providers haven't gone as far as Walker, but they are struggling to figure out how they'll stay in business.

"They will not consider the lives they are affecting with this," said Lutaya Stewart of Children's Educare Preschool. "And I take it personal."

"I did everything I could to try to find the kids a place," said Walker.

A hearing date about the request for an injunction is set for Friday, Aug. 2.


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