Moss Bluff Elementary school, in Florida, is implementing a new program for their lunch program, called the palm vein scanner. This scanner is to help the lunch line move faster, but parents are opposed to it, saying it is the mark of the beast and will mark their child with the number 666, sending them to hell.
Mamie Sonnier said she is very angry and disappointed about it.
"As a Christian, I've read the Bible, you know go to church and stuff," said Sonnier. "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."
The school has over 1000 students and Principal Charles Caldarera believes the palm vein scanner will reduce errors in the lunchroom. The school will know who eats lunch and who does not, thus will only charge the parents for the lunches the student does eat.
"We are so large," said Caldarera. "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."
According to Caldarera, the school is acting on the recommendation of the school food service director Patricia Hosemann and the school did send a letter to the parents stating they may opt out their child if they so wish. Even if they opt out their child, the child would still get lunch, even without their palm scanned.
"We sent this letter home for parents to be aware of it, and to let them know that they can opt out," said Caldarera. "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."
However, like Sonnier, many parents are upset on religious grounds and protesting the palm vein scanners, but Caldarera said, “It’s just technology”.
"I think a lot of this has to do with religious beliefs," said Caldarera. "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."
Sonnier said that if the school install the technology, she probably would pull her children out of school.
"I'd probably pull them out of the school, and transfer them to another school," said Sonnier.
Schools installing the new technology around the country face similar issues with ultra religious parents.
The palm vein scanner recently went into schools in Mississippi and Louisiana. It met with opposition in those schools too, many fearing that the scanner will mark their children with the number 666, leading their child to hell.
The Bible warns of the anti-Christ, which bears the mark "666" on its body. Many people feel that the palm scanner would somehow implant that mark or somehow lead their children down a demonic path to hell.
The superintendent of a Pearl, Mississippi school, like the one in Florida, explains that the children are not required to use the palm scanner.
"Students are not required to do this. Any parent can refuse this," said Pearl Schools Superintendent Ray Morgigno.
Morgigno said the district is spending $3,500 to buy nine palm scanners, which each cost about $400.
"Really in the accuracy thing ?it will end up saving money," Morgigno said.
Alyson Gillum, the director of child nutrition for Pearl Schools explained, “Everyone's palm has a specific vein pattern. The software uses that vein pattern to create a mathematical equation to tie that account back to that student's lunch account.”
Many schools across the country show student lunch debts, which they turned over to collections. The scanner is said to save schools money and account for every meal the students eat.