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