Techno-Nannies Target School Lunches

Taxpayer-funded and government-controlled surveillance cameras are – unfortunately – becoming commonplace in cities large and small across the country. They are employed for everything from increasing local government revenues from red-light scofflaws, to supposedly guarding against terrorists attending sporting events. Now, a school district in Texas has taken this surveillance-camera obsession to a new low – spying on grade school students’ eating habits.

According to a recent report from the Associated Press, five elementary schools in San Antonio are using some $2 million in US taxpayer funding from the Agriculture Department, to install high-tech cameras that will calculate how many calories and nutrients individual students consumed during lunch. (The same high-tech snooping presumably will be employed at schools serving the little darlings taxpayer-funded breakfasts.)

Each child will be assigned a lunch tray with a barcode. As the child pays for their meal, the camera snaps a picture of the tray fully loaded, and another as the trays are returned after the meal.

The purported goal of this bizarre program is to use the data collected to provide parents information with which they will steer their children toward healthier food choices. The soundness of this analysis is, to be diplomatic, highly suspect; but proponents presumably are delivering it with straight faces. Interestingly, as noted by the AP, the schools researchers selected “poor, minority campuses where obesity rates and students at risk for diabetes are higher.”

Advocates of the program have provided assurances that no children’s faces will be photographed, and claim that parents have to sign off on their child’s participation in the program. No doubt such promises, too, were offered with a straight face.

One truly has to wonder what Brainiacs concocted such an asinine program; and what government uber-nannies decided to spend taxpayer dollars on such strange technology, especially at a time the US economy is skidding to a record deficit.

Then again, maybe we should not be amazed. After all, this is the same administration that is spending billions of dollars developing mandatory menus for school kids across the country; and planning to force the schools themselves to spend billions more implementing the government-approved menus of apples and broccoli. With so much money at stake, maybe it should be considered understandable they would want to take pictures to memorialize their idiocy.

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

27 comments Add your comment

[...] Bob Barr: Techno-nannies target school lunches “Taxpayer-funded and government-controlled surveillance cameras are – unfortunately – becoming commonplace in cities large and small across the country. They are employed for everything from increasing local government revenues from red-light scofflaws, to supposedly guarding against terrorists attending sporting events. Now, a school district in Texas has taken this surveillance-camera obsession to a new low – spying on grade school students’ eating habits.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution [...]

Ralph Lauren

May 20th, 2011
7:32 am

Very Very

May 20th, 2011
7:34 am

Bob Barr is…..WRONG!!! Government snooping is the only reason we’ve abolished Shephard’s Pie in the school lunch menu. Food fights are down 37% since 1954 thanx to the nanny state interventions. (With a short growth bubble in the five years after the movie “Animal House” debuted).

Reagan wanted to count ketchup as a vegetable. The man was clearly an idiot. Reagan was a conservative and his policies were the spectral opposite of nanny state policies. Conservatives are clearly idiots. Their policies are clearly idiotic.

Unless we video tape the entire scholastic experience, and document the gastronomical abuses of the gourmands-in-training who stuff themselves into a stupor so that the “2:30 feeling” completely annihilates any common sense of motivation or worth, then we will suffer the fate predicted by George W Bush: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but to not mind a terrible waist is a tragedy.”

We suffer the “Flavo Fat” syndrome because of the supersized nature of unbridled capitalism and the mistaken purpose of “maximizing profits”. The food industry exists only because we get hungry, and thus, it should be regulated as a utility. There is no right to cause obesity or diabetes in our children for the sake of Maximizing Profits.

Newt 2012: He’ll keep Shephard’s Pie off the school lunch menu.


May 20th, 2011
7:34 am

After all, this is the same administration that is spending billions of dollars developing mandatory menus for school kids across the country; and planning to force the schools themselves to spend billions more implementing the government-approved menus of apples and broccoli.

Dang it Barr!! I was with you until you came to that ^^ point!! You just couldn’t help yourself could ya? Had to do a little “force…schools… gov’t…approved menus” schtick! What you failed to mention was that the school districts themselves do NOT have to use the government approved menus, if they don’t they loose those funds. I mean they can let the kids eat cheetoes and coke for breakfast and french fries and coke for lunch, make the vendor machine and coke salesmen very happy and a bunch of kids very sick if they want. But By doing so, they loose out on funds. So, as you see “force” is such a strong and totally wrong word to use in that paragraph; you should’ve used “highly recommended”.


May 20th, 2011
8:09 am

No…we should continue right along on out path of child abuse and allow our society to continue to eat itself to death!. We are KILLING OUR KIDS, Mr. Barr! People have no idea how much fat and sugar and they are GIVING these kids and ALLOWING them to stuff themselves with. Children in huge numbers now have diabetes…completely food-induced. And if you have no empathy for the children, at least think about the phenomenal cost to the wallet-watchers to pay for the healthcare costs of diabetes, high cholesterol (yeah, we’re seeing that as young as 6 years of age now!), mobility issues and more..all from overeating and eating CRAP! Our kis are too fat and out of shape to even serve in our military…fine fix THAT”LL get us in if we stay on this path! The only way to change eating habits is to know-really know-what you are consuming in the first place. Perhaps this laughable research will provide real information and an impetus for change…MAYBE we could do something to HELP OUR KIDS…and ultimately our entire society…how utterly ridiculous!


May 20th, 2011
8:36 am

No, way- Why should we pay for or take responsibility for the path of abuse and destruction that WE got these kids into?! We taught them to eat and allowed them to eat CRAP! And in humongous quantities. They are already sick…the numbers of diabetics is frightening…and it is completely food-induced and reversible. Kids are showing signs of high cholesterol at as young as 6 years of age. These kids will have heart disease at a very young age. If you wallet-watchers don’t have any empathy for the kids, perhaps you should consider the astronomical cost of health care that will result. A third of our children are not fit for the military…fine fix that could put us in! The only way to make real changes here is to face- with REAL information- exactly how much we are stuffing and allowing kids to stuff themselves with- fat, calories, etc. in order to make real changes. So what if these ridiculous devices can give us the concrete info we need to face the problem and make real changes…help create a society healthy enough to defend itself and live healthy lives…it’s not YOUR problem…not if you can’t see past the end of your nose or you don’t give a flip about the future of our country, or the future of your children and grandchildren…nah, these things are ridiculous. Just tell folks to stop eating so much and stay out of your wallet…that seems to have worked well so far…!


May 20th, 2011
9:37 am



May 20th, 2011
9:41 am

conservatives hate the government intrusion unless its used to forced their idiotic biblical beliefs on something they deem important…


May 20th, 2011
9:56 am

The government provides lousy education and gives high-paying jobs to incompetents. It is all a great plan to dumb-down America so the government can dictate every facet of life to whatever small percentage of the population is not incarcerated, on parole, on probation, or on some ridiculous registry that protects no one.


May 20th, 2011
10:38 am

Bob maybe we need to go back to school? School goooood foooood. We can give the food to Johnny that will mess the test up.


May 20th, 2011
11:09 am

What do you expect from a bunch of Texas Republicrazies? Am I the only one who sees how increasingly irrelevant – and just plain wacky – Republicrazies are becoming? Long live President Obama!!! Long live the Democrats!!!

The AJC Stinks

May 20th, 2011
11:57 am

Stock up on Pringles NOW! They can be a real money maker for your kids, they can sell each potato chip for a buck a piece to the other kids in the school lunch room! At least they can until the DEA declares Pringles to be dangerous drugs.


May 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

Peadawg, Texas Republicans, what are you smoking, this is 100% dimacrats in action….

Real Athens

May 20th, 2011
1:47 pm

Really: Really, it’s Texas Republicans:

The Republican Party of Texas currently controls all elected statewide offices, holds a 19-12 majority in the Texas Senate, and a 101-49 supermajority in the Texas House of Representatives. Republicans also hold both of the state’s U.S. Senate seats and 23 of the state’s 32 U.S. House seats.

Governor: Rick Perry
Lieutenant Governor: David Dewhurst
Attorney General: Greg Abbott
Comptroller of Public Accounts: Susan Combs
State Land Commissioner: Jerry Patterson
State Agriculture Commissioner: Todd Staples
Railroad Commissioner: Elizabeth Ames Jones
Railroad Commissioner: David Porter

U.S. Senate
John Cornyn
Kay Bailey Hutchison
U.S. House of Representatives
Louie Gohmert, 1st District
Ted Poe, 2nd District
Sam Johnson, 3rd District
Ralph Hall, 4th District
Jeb Hensarling, 5th District
Joe Barton, 6th District
John Culberson, 7th District
Kevin Brady, 8th District
Michael McCaul, 10th District
Mike Conaway, 11th District
Kay Granger, 12th District
Mac Thornberry, 13th District
Ron Paul, 14th District
Bill Flores, 17th District
Randy Neugebauer, 19th District
Lamar S. Smith, 21st District
Pete Olson, 22nd District
Quico Canseco, 23rd District
Kenny Marchant, 24th District
Michael C. Burgess, 26th District
Blake Farenthold, 27th District
John Carter, 31st District
Pete Sessions, 32nd District

I was unaware Texas Democrats harbored so much power in the Lone Star state.


May 20th, 2011
1:56 pm

The kids could collapse their system by using a marker to fill in the space between 2 of the black lines in the bar code. That would make it an invalid bar code and would not register for the scanner.


May 20th, 2011
2:03 pm

I can guarantee that Ron Paul would vote against EVERY expenditure of this type. He has sound small government principles unlike most of his colleagues in the republican party.


May 20th, 2011
2:09 pm

This is the face of government, regardless of which of the two worthless parties controlls it. It is not about cutting this a bit or that a bit. It is about abolishing MOST government programs, firing all of the bureaucracy, and restoring freedom. One party argues for large cuts while the other argues for small. Only libertarians (and Ron Paul) argue for an end to the government program completely. Why is eliminating government programs considered so crazy? We did fine without them once.


May 20th, 2011
2:44 pm

Over the years many people have read the novel 1984 and many people have laughed and said “no way”. After reading this about the school children and lunches, are you still laughing?

Kodak moment

May 20th, 2011
5:29 pm

These surveillance cameras are proliferating around Gwinnett County. Seems like every little municipality is using federal grant money to plant cameras all over the place to keep an eye on us in the name of “security”. Security is fine, but who doesn’t believe these things will be abused at some point. It’s just human nature.

Swede Atlanta

May 20th, 2011
5:53 pm

This may be a bit of techo “overkill” but the reality is our children are being suffocated to death by fat caused by fried food, sugar, etc. This program may appear draconian but it is a symptom of the problem that we must get kids out of the classroom into exercise (and increase the time spent in the classroom and doing homework) and fundamentally change their view of food. Many Americans medicate themselves with food….comfort food…that is usually a pathway to obesity and often death.

The AJC Stinks

May 20th, 2011
6:10 pm

Equating food to medication, absolutely hilarious. Medicate themselves with food, I can’t stop laughing….You must be obese….and looking for an excuse…

Very Very

May 21st, 2011
7:17 am

Kodak, wtf’s the diff if there’s a cop on the corner or a camera? For abuse I mean. I think cameras can record who’s at fault in an accident so that when drivers like you smash into good drivers, you can’t lie your way out like the no good, yellah, lyin’ piece of rebel trash U truly R. Also, when anger mgt. research projects like yourself commit murder, the cops can prove you were in the vicinity, and then you won’t be able to lie yourself out of that one either, like the murderin’, thievin’ yellah piece of confederate trash all your ancestors were.

Why do all my posts end with a kid running after me yelling, “SHANE! COME BACK SHANE!”



May 21st, 2011
8:14 am

@ Real Athens
May 20th, 2011
1:47 pm

Hey Dumass – this was a LOCAL school district (San Antonio) decision. Take a look at the composition of its Board. You government schooled idiot.


May 21st, 2011
12:50 pm


if RON PAUL believed in smaller government, why has he been on the government tit since 1976…yet fools still insist this career politician is for smaller guvment…lol…

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May 25th, 2011
3:06 pm

Liberals are soft. Momma and daddy carried you your whole life, and now that you’re on your own you think there should still be a supreme entity to continue to care for you and take all the blame for your failures so you don’t ever had to grow up. Pay for my schooling, pay my bills for me, handle my insurance for me… Got a problem? The government should solve it LOL. Weak, weak, weak. Look, i signed this home loan and i can’t pay for it. It’s someone else’s fault because i was too lazy to read the contract and too lazy to get out my calculator! BE AN ADULT why don’tcha!? Don’t blame the government cause your kids are fat. Feed them right at home. Turn off the TV. Set limits on the video games. Take em outside and play with them, you lazy no count liberal. It’s called R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y. Don’t like what the lunch room is serving? Pack a lunch for your kids. Stop blaming what’s wrong in your lives on bad government. Stop trying to get everything done for you and do it your dam selves!!!


May 27th, 2011
3:32 am

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