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Big Brother In the School Cafeteria? 425

AustinSlacker writes "An Iowa school district's lunch program asks children as young as 5 years old to memorize a four-digit PIN code so it can monitor what they eat in the school cafeteria - prompting some parents to claim it's an unhealthy case of 'Big Brother.' An over reaction by parents or an unnecessary invasion of privacy?"
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Big Brother In the School Cafeteria?

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  • Interesting. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:11PM (#33515822)

    Was told so by others, but kind of supprised how fast they got slavery back into America.

    Guess Iowa's potentates want to make sure there property is properly fed.

  • by houstonbofh ( 602064 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:16PM (#33515876)
    By who's definition of healthy? Low fat? Low carb? Vegetarian? Vegan? Kosher? How about we just serve what we all can agree on; Nothing.
  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:27PM (#33515992) Journal

    Does this mean they don't eat?

    Maybe it's training them for air travel - bizarre and excessive punishments for simple infractions.

    At my secondary school some low income pupils qualified for subsidised meals and got a meal ticket in the morning which they would hand in at the canteen. There used to be a system where if you lost your ticket you could put your name in "the book" and get your meal. They later found that people were appearing in "the book" on a daily basis. They were selling their tickets and claiming to have lost them while going on to claim their free meal. The school closed that loophole and made a rule that if you lost your ticket, you didn't get your meal.

    So yes, I'd imagine that they either don't eat or else use some sort of PIN retrieval system (like asking the school to look it up for them).

  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Interesting)

    by similar_name ( 1164087 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:48PM (#33516106)
    What if 20 years from now an insurance company could give you higher premiums because you didn't eat the right things when you were 7?
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:55PM (#33516156)
    Perhaps -you- should be a parent and rationally explain to your kids why you don't want them eating junk food. Chances are, you've been reinforcing behavior you don't want such as giving kids candy or other sweets when they've done something good.

    And its his money, he should be able to spend it how he wishes. You've got to let kids grow up at some point and make their own decisions about their lives. When people place too much control over their kids, the kids go wild at some point in their lives, perhaps its late nights with friends, perhaps its when they turn 16 and have their own car, perhaps its in college, trying to control every aspect of someone's lives, especially something as basic as economic freedom and freedom of their own body is going to push them away from those who try to control them. Rationality is key, so is motivation. Yeah, they might be overweight now, but lets say he finds a girl he likes? Priorities will have changed. Lets say he then enjoys something else more than ice cream sandwiches and spends his money someplace else. People go through changes. Trying to control people makes them resent you.
  • Re:indoctrination (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['eve' in gap]> on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @09:58PM (#33516182) Homepage

    'the agency'?

    I suspect the CIA has better things to do with our time than brainwash our children.

  • Re:indoctrination (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:29PM (#33516382)
    I'm 23. My middle-class public HS had pizza and Taco Bell on campus. We'd buy the food with our own money, at ~$5 per serving. If someone had attempted to steal my food I would have kicked their ass, or had my ass kicked in turn. But that never happened.
  • Thumb scan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Insightfill ( 554828 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:37PM (#33516442) Homepage
    My kids' last school had kids pay for lunch with a thumb scan. Parents would consent, school would scan the thumbs, and kids could buy lunch with just a thumb on the scanner.

    In some ways, this was genius. While you couldn't control (or tell) exactly what they purchased, you at least had control over how much they spent. Also: there was no risk of lost or stolen lunch money.

    On the other hand, it was a privacy nuts worst nightmare - scanning kids. There were assurances that the ID gathered from the thumb was reduced to datapoints which could NOT be used to produce a new image, so no larger database concerns, but still creepy.

    In the end, we just had our kids bring their lunches. The school lunches were high-fat crap, usually something fried or made entirely of cheese. Best estimates from our kids was that over half the kids brought lunch, and this was a reasonably affluent town. Crud, if they would just throw in an apple or something once in a while, they'd get more takers.

  • Re:indoctrination (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @10:38PM (#33516452)
    I also forgot to mention, there was a Carls Jr. down the street of my school. We were allowed to leave the campus at will during lunchtime. And that all occurred only 6 years ago. I can imagine the parents screaming for closed gates, metal detectors, and RFID card checks in today's schools.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:02PM (#33516638)

    But there's nothing healthy about football or basketball teams, they're only played by a very small part of the population, they frequently cause injuries, and they very frequently act as bullying enablers.

    Schools would be much better off if they shut down the competitive athletic programs anyway.

    Now, I'm not at all a fan of telling kids what they can or can't eat, and when I was in school I either took my lunch or did without because the garbage they served was so incredibly disgusting, healthy or not. But athletic programs need to die.

  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Wednesday September 08, 2010 @11:25PM (#33516786)

    Wow, you just named a lot of allergens!

    I know someone allergic to lettuce. I dated someone who was allergic to fish. A lot of people are allergic to legumes. Almonds are a common allergen, as are most tree nuts.

    Google can find you examples of famous people with allergies to every one of those things you mentioned.

    -- Terry

    Riiiiiggghht... because wheat, dairy, corn, sugar and cheap, low-grade oils aren't among the biggest problems (including - but by no means limited to - allergies) in our pathetic Standard American Diet.

    Seriously, though: while the allergies you mentioned certainly exist, they aren't, in and of themselves, actual causes of problems but are in fact well understood to be symptoms of something else entirely... something which, while no doubt rather obscure and difficult to track down biochemically, could certainly be described, accurately enough, as someone's immune system being "totally out of whack." Such allergies often disappear entirely when we start to rid our bodies of unnatural toxins (food additives, meds, etc).

  • Re:indoctrination (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rah1420 ( 234198 ) <> on Thursday September 09, 2010 @12:01AM (#33516986)

    The conditioning happens earlier than that, I'm afraid.

    You need to put a television show on aimed at preschoolers. Make it have a fuzzy stuffed bear who helps kids with things they don't know how to do themselves. Make it a "special assignment" for this bear to help the kids.

    The kids are told to do X or Y (make their bed, change the lining in their rabbit cage) by themselves with no parent guidance. That's key number 1.

    So how does this external agent, this "stuffed bear" change agent, know how to visit the children to help them? How else? A flying ladybug, that conceals a camera in it. The camera flies in the neighborhood, sees the conundrum of the child, deploys the camera and takes some footage. It then flies to a line-of-sight position, and sends the signal to an orbiting satellite, from where it's beamed to the special agent bear's headquarters. His employer then takes him off of whatever he's doing to go help the child with what they want to accomplish. After all, "it's all part of the plan" (we'll make that a tagline of the show, too.)

    Farfetched? No, it's going on [] right now, unfortunately. []

  • by lemmis_86 ( 1135345 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @07:15AM (#33518980) Homepage
    No, not all E-numbers are bad, but the ones you want to avoid are: flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners, conservatives, colors, emulsifiers and yeast extracts. All of these for different and some common reasons. E.g. does you sausage contain emulsifier? Yes? Why? - Because there are not enough meat to keep the sausage stable. Does your sausage contain flavor enhancher (E621)? Yes? Why? - Because the meat is of so poor quality that it doesn't taste anything. Does your sausage contain sweeteners? Yes? Why? - Because it's probably low fat, so they have added sugar or sweeteners instead. And so forth...
  • Re:Why PIN numbers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @08:36AM (#33519480)

    Why can't Johnny just give his name to the cashier?

    Because when the kid says his number is 8241, that's pretty unambiguous. When the kid says her name is Carie, is that spelled Carie, Karie, Kerry, Kari, Carry, or Care-e (I'm sure some parents can get even more creative these days). Even using soundex algorithms don't always help when dealing with people who refuse to acknowledge the true pronunciation of their name (sorry, but Congressman Boehner's name is not really pronounced Bayner). Foreign names can be fun too (especially when you mix unfamiliar spelling with a strong spoken accent). And all of that is just too much to type when the PIN is only 4 characters (makes the line go much faster).

  • Re:indoctrination (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @02:12PM (#33525122)
    You guys really have a way of making an old codger feel his age. Back when I was at school in the '60s and '70s, when the planet was newly cooled, and dinosaurs still staggered around dying of lung-cancer from smoking those non-filtered Gauloises, we had two choices: school dinners (paid for up front as part of the school fees) or packed lunches. I much preferred the latter...
  • by abbyful ( 1415623 ) on Thursday September 09, 2010 @03:26PM (#33526284)
    Vegetarians are more inclined to watch what they eat. People in the omnivorous-diet category are all across the board. So you can't really draw a conclusion comparing one small group that most people watch their diet to another huge group where most people don't watch their diet and draw the conclusion that being vegetarian is "healthier". You can be healthy eating a vegetarian or an omnivorous diet; you just have to eat a balanced diet and not load up on fast-food and junk food! (Vegan diet though? A diet where one cannot even get their required nutrients from the food they eat is not "healthy"!) I eat an omnivorous diet and I'd venture to say I'm probably healthier and eat better than most vegetarians.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn