A fingerprint scanner is being used in an effort to speed up things at lunchtime in two Tolland schools.

Each student sticks out a finger and places it on a small black scanner to be identified. Seconds later, the cost of the lunch is deducted from an account set up by parents.

The second-, third- and fourth-graders at Parker Memorial School are part of the town’s experiment with the system, the first school system in the state to do so, school officials said.

“I think it’s a novel idea that has a lot of advantages,” said Principal Bob Lincoln. “The kids think it’s cool and a majority of parents are supportive.”

The technology has been in place at Parker since the end of the last school year and was introduced at Tolland Middle School Thursday. The high school will be added by the end of the year.

Officials hope the finger-scanning technique will speed up lunch lines in crowded schools by eliminating the need to take money and make change.

“The schools are growing and getting more crowded,” said food services Director Jackie Schipke. “It’s about getting kids through the line quicker and making things more convenient for parents.”

–Associated Press