Today State Representative Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) sent out a media release announcing his plan to introduce legislation to require fingerprinting of poor children in the Wisconsin Shares day care program every day at check-in and check-out. The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin opposes treating our children – including poor children -- like parts at an auto supply store or boxes of cereal at a grocery store. ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director, Chris Ahmuty said today that, “the children in the Wisconsin Shares program, many infants under age one, are not inventory.”
Ahmuty went on to ask what Rep. Honadel would have poor parents say to their youngsters when they discover that more well-to-do children are not fingerprinted.
Rep. Honadel has criticized the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families for not adopting an automated attendance system at day care centers more quickly. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “As a businessman I could make this happen in a couple of months.”
“Technology can be an important tool for government, just like it can for businessmen such as Rep. Honadel,” Ahmuty said, “But just because a technology exists does not mean that we should ignore our values. Unlike businessmen, like Rep. Honadel, government must operate within the limits proscribed by our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which protect Wisconsin residents from government abuse and safeguard their privacy. Fortunately, the Department of Children and Families, thus far, is being more deliberative and compassionate than Rep. Honadel.”
This issue got some news coverage on Green Bay radio station WTAQ’s website, as well as Milwaukee radio station WTMJ’s website.
The ACLU of Wisconsin will continue to monitor changes to the Wisconsin Shares program to ensure that state actions protect the rights of poor children and families. Read more about the work the ACLU is doing nationally on technology and liberty.