OCTOBER 05, 2012
As if it weren’t bad enough that Michelle Obama got the federal government to dictate what kids eat in public schools, one district is considering cracking down on students that don’t eat their vegetables at lunch by spying on them.
How does central Florida’s Lake County School District plan to do this? By installing cameras (“trash-cams”) in school cafeteria garbage cans to study what students are throwing away. The brilliant idea came to school officials after they discovered that most of the vegetables served at lunch as part of the First Lady’s multi-billion-dollar effort to combat childhood obesity are not being consumed by students but rather ending up in the trash.
This gives new meaning to big brother is watching. Pretty soon, big brother is really going to be watching these kids a little too closely. Lake County officials estimate that students in the district wasted a good $75,000 worth of produce last year. That’s because, under Michelle Obama’s new federal law, students must take the vegetables even if they don’t eat them. Evidently, this gives the feds the illusion that they are eating healthy.
That constitutes a waste of taxpayer money, according to the Lake County school board member who proposed the trash-cam idea. No word on how much the devices will cost taxpayers or what the district plans to do with the information. What will be the consequences for students who don’t eat their veggies? One parent quoted in the paper that reported the story says schools should not be responsible for getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables. That should happen at home, the mother says.
The trash-cam story brings to mind a wasteful federal program that blew $2 million to track what minority kids eat for lunch with high-tech cameras. Operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the cameras were installed last year in the cafeteria of a Texas school to photograph the foods students put on their trays. The digital imaging later determined how many calories were consumed.
After special software calculates calories—by analyzing before and after food photos—parents get reports showing what their kids ate for lunch. The goal, as per the First Lady’s mission to curb childhood obesity, is to motivate the entire family to change its eating habits. Under Michelle Obama’s costly measure, the government regulates what can be consumed on school grounds, including vending machines at fundraisers. This includes school bake sales. Looks like big brother is taking over.
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