THE controversy over fingerprinting in York schools has increased, after it emerged another city secondary was involved in the practice, without parents' knowledge.

All Saints' RC is the sixth secondary school to say they use thumbprint recognition in their library system.

Earlier this week, The Press revealed thousands of pupils across the city had been fingerprinted to enable them to borrow books.

The practice was strongly condemned by privacy campaigners, and sparked massive debate among readers of our website.

All Saints' head teacher Bill Scriven said parents had not been told about the practice.

He said: "Parents were not informed; they are now. We have started introducing letters for all Year 7 pupils. It's happening from next September. We do not anticipate any big issues with it."

He said: "The actual practice is absolutely secure.

"The photograph is not stored in any other way, except as a unique number, so there is no way we could replicate or use the pupil's thumb print. It's simply a quick way of accessing a unique reference for that pupil."

Campaign groups Privacy International and NO2ID said fingerprinting people while they were at school would lead to them thinking the practice were a normal part of everyday life.

But Mr Scriven said: "I do not see any degree of difficulty if the actual fingerprints cannot be accessed or used. This is not something we could pass on to other people."

The Press's initial discoveries emerged through documents released by City of York Council, under the Freedom of Information Act.

Carol Runciman, the city's education boss, said it was up to individual schools whether to use fingerprint recognition systems.

Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of campaign group NO2ID, said: "Young kids are being essentially, conditioned to accept that being fingerprinted is a normal, everyday thing, which is worrying."

Gus Hosein, a senior fellow at Privacy International, said: "This is the only country in the world that has done this. In every other country in the world, the idea of fingerprinting people is opposed, and the idea of fingerprinting children is abhorrent."

He added: "We are telling kids it is okay to get fingerprinted. They are getting to them while they are young. It does not make sense.

"We were all so shocked when America started fingerprinting foreigners, yet all along we were fingerprinting kids."

The systems used involve pupils giving a thumbprint, which is then allocated a unique reference number, which is then stored on computer. When pupils place their thumb against a scanner in future, their record is automatically retrieved.