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425 comments

indoctrination (0, Troll)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515806)

Obviously the fnord agency is trying to get our youth preprogrammed and conditioned to accept monitoring as a normal part of membership in our society.

Re:indoctrination (3, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515874)

Perhaps not. A short pin number is easy to remember. You're not going to send your five year-old to school with a pocket of cash for lunch. Often times schools will simply have a running tad, controlled via an identifying number. It can be paid off as the semester goes, or filled with credits ahead of time. I seriously doubt that most schools offer much variety in food, so tracking what they're eating isn't going to varying much from student to student. About the only thing it'll show is who does or doesn't bring their lunch from home.

Re:indoctrination (3, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515972)

I actually just have a personal identification number. I think a personal identification number number would be a bit harder. Is it like a matrix of vectors?

Like PIN[0]=1234, PIN[1]=5678. So my PIN number for school would be 1, but my PIN number for my luggage would be 0.

Now from the summary I don't even know what a personal identification number code is. Unless you have a secret code to unlock a little brief case that contains your PIN.

Re:indoctrination (2, Funny)

dloose (900754) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516304)

That was an awesome post. I look forward to your pointing out acronym-aided redundancies in the future.

Re:indoctrination (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516162)

You're not going to send your five year-old to school with a pocket of cash for lunch.

That's how it used to work and it was never that big a deal.

Re:indoctrination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516202)

What now? We didn't even get lunch in schools till grade... oh hell we never had lunch.

Seriously if you wanted food from the cafeteria, the cafeteria was grade 9-12 high school, and people would steal your food the second you stepped from the line.

What about grade 7/8? Run by the band teacher and only sold chips and ice cream.

Re:indoctrination (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:indoctrination (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516248)

I wouldn't know, personally. I brought my own lunch 99% of the time, right up to when I left public schools altogether.

I imagine however that there are plenty of nerds her eon Slashdot that might disagree with you. Certainly the lunch money stealing bully has some basis in truth? :P

Re:indoctrination (0, Flamebait)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516376)

I am intrigued by the sheer possibilities of snobbishness that your declination of a plebian schooling even at a young age implies.

Or is that an incredibly dodgy way of saying that you dropped out and are currently working a car wash?

Re:indoctrination (3, Insightful)

jesseck (942036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516244)

That's exactly what my two school-age kids (1 and 2 grades) have to do. They learn a 6-digit pin, and that is used to deduct funds from their lunch account. In turn, my wife and I put money in the account when funds get low. This claim is similar to saying McDonald's tracks your credit card number, to determine what you eat, so they can "suggestively sell" that Big Mac you crave.

You know, maybe I need to patent that process.

Re:indoctrination (1)

booyabazooka (833351) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516342)

Yeah, this is nothing new. My school system implemented a system like this years ago. My school system assigned 6-digit student IDs when I was in 4th grade or so, probably around 1997. I don't remember when we implemented debit accounts for lunches - maybe 5 years later. It's convenient.

Re:indoctrination (3, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516414)

I don't even understand this idea that data about your eating habits is yours to keep secret. It's not like going to a doctor. If you ask the lunch lady for mac and cheese, and no chicken thank you, she's not legally bound to respect your privacy.

People seem to be saying "the human element is fine, but systematic tracking of eating habits is a concern" but that doesn't make sense. Either it's protected or not, there's no sense of security in relying on people's poor memory to ensure your privacy. If someone wants to spy on you and know what you're eating for lunch, then they can ask the lunch lady, there's no expectation of privacy.

Re:indoctrination (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515888)

You mean it's not where you live? Where is that? Exactly? And how many people live there?

Re:indoctrination (1, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515932)

Obviously the fnord agency is trying to get our youth preprogrammed and conditioned to accept monitoring as a normal part of membership in our society.

And this is certainly the first time a school has done anything like that . . .

Re:indoctrination (2, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516182)

'the agency'?

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

Re:indoctrination (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516220)

That is what they made you think when you where 5.

Interesting. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Kids like to share, so the numbers will get shared (2, Insightful)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515828)

I predict that at the end of next month, little Debbie Povunktuk will be recorded as eating 500,000 calories all in mashed potatoes.

C'mon... kids that age share all sorts of things... they won't understand that sharing their secret PIN is wrong. Mainly because their mom&dad said to report anyone that tells them "it'll be our little secret"

Re:Kids like to share, so the numbers will get sha (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515900)

I predict that at the end of next month, little Debbie Povunktuk will be recorded as eating 500,000 calories all in mashed potatoes.

C'mon... kids that age share all sorts of things... they won't understand that sharing their secret PIN is wrong. Mainly because their mom&dad said to report anyone that tells them "it'll be our little secret"

But sharing is evil! The RIAA told me so...

And remember to say that when politicians ask for money...

An interesting point (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515832)

Perhaps an interesting point if the data is accessible to parents and the kids themselves. Some adults I know would pay for this service in the real world... It's time to teach kids what they're eating affects their health.

That being said, it should be opt-in.

Re:An interesting point (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516274)

It's time to teach kids what they're eating affects their health.

So basically, tell them not to eat the "food" elementary schools supply at all?

Big Brother? Not Quite. (4, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515836)

Schools really should be more mindful of what [i]they[/i] serve. If a kid wants to bring their own lunch that's fine, but the school provided meals should be healthy and balanced. Let's get rid of the candy and soda machines while we're at it. Not only does it promote unhealthy lifestyles, but is a disgusting display of consumerism within a so-called institute of education.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (1, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515944)

> 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.

Mulligan's Stew would be a good rule of thumb. (too bad it was abandoned)

So would the idea of only serving "real food" instead of corn meal, soy meal and HFCS.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (4, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515964)

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.

Who's definition? The local education authority, I would imagine.

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that carbonated sugar drinks containing 100% the recommended daily sugar intake are unhealthy, no?

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (-1, Troll)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515976)

Who's definition? The local education authority, I would imagine.

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that carbonated sugar drinks containing 100% the recommended daily sugar intake are unhealthy, no?

So is a gun to the head... Unhealthy is easy. Agreeing on healthy is a lot tougher.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516014)

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.

There are a couple of foods that are by universal definition, healthy. Lettuce, spinach, low-mercury fish, most varieties of beans, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, olives (and olive oil), blueberries, almonds, and plenty more.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516278)

That's nice, but I can't find anything on that list that I would eat - at least not enough for a meal (almonds and blueberries are fine, but do not a meal make). As a super taster most of those things just don't go down (on the fish it depends, some are OK, some are not - salmon for instance is NOT OK).

Much of that stuff, to me, is "the food that food eats". You know, "beef, it's what's for dinner.". Kind of like PETA - People Eating Tasty Animals - says.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516096)

By who's definition of healthy?

If only there was some group somewhere, maybe part of the government, who employed nutritionists and could use peer-reviewed science to separate what's healthy from diet fads. You know, like a department of health or human services or something?

And as science changes, they could maybe update the guidelines on a periodic basis.. like every 5 years or so.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516300)

then of course, there's the human factor of being able to choose wtf we want to eat. sometimes, it's ok to say 'fuck science, I want a burger and fries.' I dont like the idea of having every little fucking decision in my life made by other people. it's obnoxious and pretentious. even worse is when a law is passed regarding stuff like this. before you tell me it costs other people money to do , maybe you should lead by example and offer your employer your work for free. if you want to lead a selfless existence, fine, be my guest, but don't take that choice away from others...and dont make them pay heavy penalties for choosing differently either.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516062)

Well, that doesn't really touch on what we're discussing here...

It needs to be done in, yes- but so does this notion where they make the kids memorize a "PIN" (School ID Number??) so they can get their lunches- the stated reason the school district gives rings hollow on the hearing of it.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516114)

So the cafeteria must be responsible but the parents can serve whatever awful crap they want? What is the logic in this? Sure its fine to be a lardass so long as the cafeteria didnt make you that way? What?

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516236)

No thanks. At least not in high school. If I want a soda and the school's going to pull some lame crap like disabling the soda machines during the day, i'll just walk to the CVS that's 3 minutes from my school for soda. Really if the only reason the kids aren't constantly drinking soda and eating candy is because they CAN'T, when they're older and they CAN they will have some issues.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516270)

Let's get rid of the candy and soda machines while we're at it. Not only does it promote unhealthy lifestyles, but is a disgusting display of consumerism within a so-called institute of education.

Problem is, these candy and soda machines are often used to fund the schools' athletic programs. So get rid of them in the name of health, and pretty soon the school has no football or basketball team. Which is healthier? Playing sports and cooling off with a cold cola afterward, or drinking water while sitting at home on the couch playing video games? And by the way, healthier alternatives such as juice machines have a much lower profit margin.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516398)

If I can be modded down for being a troll, can I be modded up for being an orc, or a balrog?

I would have thought someone with the nickname BitterOak would ask to be modded up for being an Ent.

Re:Big Brother? Not Quite. (0, Flamebait)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516402)

Some of us don't mind if they fill the automat with candy, pop and paintball ammo. Your snowflakes must be particularly precious.

What if they can't remember? (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515842)

Does this mean they don't eat?

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

Re:What if they can't remember? (2, Interesting)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515992)

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).

Who cares (0, Flamebait)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515850)

This type of stuff really trips my “who cares” switch. Aside from slippery slope arguments and general “right to privacy” statements I find it hard to think of a scenario where I would really care if “the man” or “the corporation” knew what I was eating.

Hell, even if they attached my name to it and sold it to every market research company in the world, I can’t think how this negatively impacts me. Even less so what I ate as a kid.

I know I sound like a shill here.. but I’m a consumer. I buy and consume stuff. Corporations profit by selling me stuff. I generally don’t mind corporations trying to figure out how to better provide (or dupe me into buying) stuff. They profit, I (usually) benefit.. etc.

Most of the arguments against these “invasions of privacy” revolve around delusional dystopian worlds where the government uses market data to hunt down people counter to their objectives and drag them from their homes to be put to work in the acid mines.

We live in reality here people! And your buying habits are not that interesting! There is so much data out there and such a diversity of people, you have to be into some really weird stuff for anyone to take notice. Chances are you are just “person with sexual fetish for office supplies #21342” in aggregate set 143.

Re:Who cares (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515974)

Beyond the privacy concerns you also have the real issue that the busybody teachers that would be in charge of this have no clue and are not terribly literate.

They are going to give kids flack when they really don't warrant it and push them to eat trash because of deceptive packaging.

Simply OFFERING civilized food would be a welcome change.

Re:Who cares (2, Interesting)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Re:Who cares (0, Troll)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516334)

I do understand this argument, but I tend not to mind this kind of thinking either. I know I'm gonna get modded troll for this, but it's really not my intention.

In theory, I'm ok with the whole "accumulated market data used to determine insurance rates / mortgage / credit / etc..". The idea being if an insurance company jacks someone's rate up because they are more likely to get into an accident based on whatever arbitrary data they are looking at (and I imagine they are probably quite good at this), then my rate is hopefully going to be lower (unless I am also high risk).

Ultimately I imagine (again, we are still in my theoretical sunshine and lollipop land here) if the mass of data people leave behind them was really used to determine these sort of things, most people would come out about even. Pay a little more on your car insurance for reason x, pay a little less on your mortgage for reason y.

In practice it's all moot, as they are going to jack the rates up regardless, and pocket the savings rather then pass them on.

Hypocrisy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33515852)

Yet these same parents willingly sign up for loyalty programs at their local grocery store, tractor supply store, or mega-chain. They don't think those are tracked?

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516130)

Yet these same parents willingly sign up

Keyword is willingly

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Insightful)

caturday (1197847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516160)

You don't have to buy a school lunch.

Somebody's Lyin'... (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515864)

"We're making sure that as they're leaving the lunch line that the menu items they've selected match up with state law, so they're selecting a meal that has all the basic [components] of good nutrition," said school district spokesman Jarrett Peterson. "We're not tracking what each individual child eats."

If that were true they would not need a PIN, just a pass/fail for whatever is on their tray. Pass you get to go and eat, fail you get back in line and get your vegetables.

When I was in public school we didn't even have a choice - everybody's meal was exactly the same. Other than outliers with food allergies, why aren't they doing that? No need for any of this technology crap (which, I'd be surprised if it weren't a sweet-heart corporate socialism deal for some company that is owned by a member of the school board) and they probably save money by streamlining preparation and purchasing too.

Re:Somebody's Lyin'... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516016)

I really, really don't see the big deal here other than they are verifying and tracking what the kids eat. I had essentially the exact same thing when my school implemented lunch cards in like 4th grade. You got your meal, they would take your card and scan it then put in what you eat, it was deducted from your lunch account.

And as far as I can tell, it was a component of the electronic gradebook that my school had.

When I got into college it was pretty much the exact same thing, I sorta wish though there was "meal tracking" because I think I was overcharged multiple times throughout my college experience....

Re:Somebody's Lyin'... (2, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516044)

When I was in public school we didn't even have a choice - everybody's meal was exactly the same. Other than outliers with food allergies, why aren't they doing that? No need for any of this technology crap (which, I'd be surprised if it weren't a sweet-heart corporate socialism deal for some company that is owned by a member of the school board) and they probably save money by streamlining preparation and purchasing too.

I was thinking that myself. I don't recall getting any choice in my cafeteria food until 7th grade, when I could choose lunch 1 or lunch 2. If I really caught a wild hare, I could buy a second milk or an ice cream sandwich.

There has been a great deal of publicity in Iowa recently about the amount of junk food available in the cafeterias and vending machines in schools. So much so that parents and other citizens have been demanding that the legislature do something to ensure that kids didn't eat only twinkies and potato chips for lunch. And I can understand that motivation. When I was in school, a parent sent a kid to school with lunch money and the worst thing that happened was they traded their spice cake for a lunchbox kid's ding dong. Unlike back then, until very recently, you sent the kid to school with lunch money and they could feast on snickers. And parents were annoyed at this.

Certainly the PIN solution sounds silly, but I have a feeling that some school administrator is just trying to stick it to the parents a little for horning in on his racket. After all, it had been profitable for school districts to sell concession concessions. And now that money is drying up.

adult decisions on basis of informed consent? (1)

Katchu (1036242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515870)

Yeah, like 5 year olds should have the right to decide their consumption of tobacco, liquor and drugs, engage in sex, as well as eat whatever they want, because, dangit, we don't want those who are responsible (parents or en loco parentis) to look after them--that would be an infringement of their obviously informed consent to live free and party.

Re:adult decisions on basis of informed consent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33515904)

Fuck yeah!

Re:adult decisions on basis of informed consent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33515906)

Yeah, like 5 year olds should have the right to decide their consumption of tobacco, liquor and drugs, engage in sex, as well as eat whatever they want, because, dangit, we don't want those who are responsible (parents or en loco parentis) to look after them--that would be an infringement of their obviously informed consent to live free and party.

Straw man arguments are lies.

Re:adult decisions on basis of informed consent? (1)

Katchu (1036242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516400)

No, kiddo. Reducto ad absurdum argument. There is a difference.

Unbelievable. (1)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515886)

1984 here we come! This is absolutely outrageous. They say it is for ensuring that what the school feeds the kids comply with sate laws. My question is that is this statement implying that the students MAY receive meals that go against these new laws? Wouldn't the better and less intrusive way to ensure the food served is "nutritious" is to only ship certain foods to the schools to serve? That sounds a whole lot less expensive than setting up an electronic system that DOES track what each individual student eats.

Re:Unbelievable. (0, Troll)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516020)

1984 here we come! This is absolutely outrageous.

Which would you prefer? A school that let your kids eat whatever crap they wanted or made some effort to make sure they were eating their vegetables? We're talking about kids here, not adult "consumers". We're talking about getting the little shits to do what they're told, never mind their "feelings" or their "self esteem" or any of that crap.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516058)

First, clearly you did not read my comment. We are talking about the food that the cafeteria serves the children. They should be feeding them what they are supposed to be eating ANYWAY. Why not just ship the schools what they are allowed to serve?

Secondly, my kids won't be eating what the school serves them, they will be eating what I prepare for them for their lunches. Because as a responsible adult, I will take responsibility for my own children rather than depending on the school to feed my children healthy foods.

Re:Unbelievable. (0, Troll)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516120)

Oh I read it all right. If the "1984 here we come! This is absolutely outrageous" part was sarcastic, maybe you should have said "but seriously" afterwards.

Re:Unbelievable. (1)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516218)

It wasn't sarcastic. That is the direction we are heading and it is outrageous for them to implement such a plan at a school. Again, read my original post.

Just serve nutritious food or spend big bucks. (1, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515896)

"We’re making sure that as they’re leaving the lunch line that the menu items they’ve selected match up with state law, so they’re selecting a meal that has all the basic [components] of good nutrition,” said school district spokesman Jarrett Peterson. “We’re not tracking what each individual child eats.”

So, no one thought of serving only nutritious food that meets the guidelines? Instead they spent (I'm sure a fortune) on an electronic system to track this stuff. And you just know that the school district is or will have budget problems and it won't occur to them as to why.

I so fucking disgusted right now.

WTF (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515912)

How can they possibly justify the need to monitor what children eat. When they are either eating what their parent gave them or what the school gives them. This is has no purpose other than to get kids used to being monitored. For crying out loud, if you're worried they're eating too much junk, stop giving it to them.

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515984)

I'll speculate.

Salesman of expensive system takes school district decision maker out for dinner and whatnot and explains how this will solve their compliance issues - it's high tech after all!

School guy says, yeah but why don't we just feed them what's required by law?

Salesguy: But this is high tech! By the way, here's the literature and specs of the system in this briefcase - you can keep this old thing. [fashionindie.com]

Schoolguy: Well, it is for the good of the children! Where do I sign?

Re:WTF (2, Informative)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516076)

How can they possibly justify the need to monitor what children eat. When they are either eating what their parent gave them or what the school gives them. This is has no purpose other than to get kids used to being monitored. For crying out loud, if you're worried they're eating too much junk, stop giving it to them.

Iowa schools were profiting by selling the rights to provide school lunches to outside contractors, who found it more profitable to sell kids junk food. Parents got sick of this and demanded the legislature step in. Some administrator took this mandate a little too far, possibly on purpose.

i hate big brother but... (5, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515916)

recording what our children eat in school is not a bad idea, I don't see it as big brother and the school's response is completely reasonable: "The program is intended to provide the children with more food options while ensuring compliance with new and stricter state-mandated nutrition requirements."

I would appreciate it if my kid's school would tell me what he was eating or if he was eating.

Makes sense to me, wonder if these parents complain when their children take state mandated tests.

Also why is the parent making a huge deal about memorizing 4 numbers? Don't these children know their 7-digit home phone numbers?

I feel very sorry for whatever teachers and administrators that have to deal with Garry Howe, the parent making a big deal about nothing, hate to see what happens when one of his kids bring home a B!

Fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33515924)

They know what they sell in their cafeteria. Who will they sell the data to?

Beat the System (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515936)

Protest by having all the kids use the same PIN.

Re:Beat the System (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516042)

Protest by having all the kids use the same PIN.

Sorry, the system is one step ahead of you. Quoth TFA:

"The PIN pulls up the child's picture for validation"

Re:Beat the System (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516046)

What "system" is there to beat? The way I understand it is like this:

Billy has a pin of 1234, Billy has an account balance of $35.50, when Billy uses his pin of 1234 and has a $1.50 lunch, it decreases the balance on Billy's account so he has $34 left. Billy's parents can log in and make sure that Billy isn't buying everyone lunch whenever Billy says that he needs more lunch money.

The idea that this PIN is being used solely for tracking things is silly, its used like a debit card that reports things online for parents to use. Yeah, they shouldn't check the nutrition information, children need to be able to eat what they want, they learn that way. But other than that, I don't see the big deal.

4 digits (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515942)

That's a huge school !

That's nothing... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515958)

...in my kids' school district, each child receives a 6-digit PIN, in kindergarten. The children are expected to memorize their PINs in kindergarten, where they must use the PIN to purchase lunch. So there's really nothing new under the sun here. Identification numbers are a fact of life: You'll get one in primary and secondary school, you'll get one in college, and then you'll get an employee ID when you get hired on. Every aspect of one's life is dictated by an identification number.

Re:That's nothing... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516216)

Exactly. All three of my children have had to memorize a 6 digit pin, which is also their student ID number. It's not used to monitor what they eat, specifically. It is used to charge the student's account for the meal. We put money into their accounts via an online portal. That way there's no lost lunch money...

School lunches are set up to be nutritious by design. I think someone read too much into this and Fox is being a bit sensational with their coverage...

Shoot (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515966)

My kid's school gives them credit card like objects with their picture on them so they can do the same thing but it works great because I can log in and see that my kid ate what I told them to eat.... or at least purchased what I told them to.

In the old days... (1)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515968)

I used to take $1.25 to school every day for lunch. Today a kid would get robbed and killed for that much. I'm guessing this setup is to monitor food inventory and how much to charge parents' for each kid's food.

Re:In the old days... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33515998)

I used to take $1.25 to school every day for lunch. Today a kid would get robbed and killed for that much

Your parents said the same thing when they were your age, and your kids will say the same when they are your age.

Re:In the old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516034)

thats funny, i cant even get a soda out of my college vending for that much, and you expect me to kill someone for it

Don't see the big deal.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515988)

I don't really see the huge deal here. A lot of it can be technically done already with pre-existing technologies. I remember that my school had lunch cards where they scanned in what you ate with a bar code, granted it only told the prices but once the technology improved I figured that inventory management would be the next thing. I understand the root of the problem, the government should never mandate what someone can and can't eat, on the other hand, its something easy to implement technically and essentially something I did in elementary school, you scan in your lunch card and it has your lunch account balance on it. College was the same way. I don't see whats too shocking other than what they use the data for.

Re:Don't see the big deal.... (5, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516110)

I don't really see the huge deal here.

I have a theory about why it's a big deal. The story is coming from Fox News, the same organisation that is owned by Rupert Murdoch who just made a big walloping donation to the GOP, has kicked up a stink about a so-called "ground zero mosque" that they actually supported nearly a year ago when the story first broke, and are now approaching mid-term elections with the smell of Democrat blood in their nostrils. Anything that helps to build up a picture of "Americans losing their freedoms" is just part of a broader campaign to portray everything that's happening in the world as bad ever since that black dude got elected. So "School implements technology to comply with laws combating the obesity epidemic" becomes "Big brother in Iowa" with the requisite question mark on the end to fool the impressionable reader into thinking that this piece of commentary is actually an NPOV news story.

Meta-moderators, please pay attention on this one. This is neither a troll nor flamebait, it's a valid comment. As the OP says, there is no -1 disagree option.

Re:Don't see the big deal.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516178)

Exactly, and even I, who, if you look through my commenting history am very libertarian, very anti-authoritarian and oppose state control of anything am having a hard time finding anything really to disagree with here.

I always find it hilarious the double standards on both the left and the right.

Not really new (1)

Inoculate86 (1854356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33515990)

Miami public school system has had the PIN code system for cafeteria purchases since 1990 at least.

Back in the day... (1)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516010)

Whatever happened to the days when there were no choices for lunch at school. You ate the slop they served or you went hungry. Worked just fine when I was a kid (~30 yrs ago). The food wasn't even that bad and we got all milk refills we wanted (was served from cafeteria-style dispensers not tiny cartons).

There were no kosher menus, no vegetarian menus, no alternates if kids didn't like something, no alacarte line, and no salad bars. Kids with food allergies had to bag it when they couldn't eat that day's lunch (menus were posted monthly so parents could keep track). The only food served other than that day's menu was PB&J (with milk and some sort of fruit), which was always available, even for kids who couldn't pay and weren't on free lunch program.

A simple menu would be cheaper to serve, both in terms of food costs and labor (kitchen and serving), and easier to track who ate what: (a) school lunch, (b) bag lunch, or (c) PB&J.

Re:Back in the day... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516066)

Whatever happened to the days when there were no choices for lunch at school. You ate the slop they served or you went hungry. Worked just fine when I was a kid (~30 yrs ago). The food wasn't even that bad and we got all milk refills we wanted (was served from cafeteria-style dispensers not tiny cartons).

There were no kosher menus, no vegetarian menus, no alternates if kids didn't like something, no alacarte line, and no salad bars. Kids with food allergies had to bag it when they couldn't eat that day's lunch (menus were posted monthly so parents could keep track). The only food served other than that day's menu was PB&J (with milk and some sort of fruit), which was always available, even for kids who couldn't pay and weren't on free lunch program.

A simple menu would be cheaper to serve, both in terms of food costs and labor (kitchen and serving), and easier to track who ate what: (a) school lunch, (b) bag lunch, or (c) PB&J.

It was the same in my day too. I particularly liked Thursdays, they always had the best food and the nicest desserts on a Thursday.

This is a question? (1)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516012)

Nutrition tracking in the middle of an obesity epidemic isn't a privacy issue, it's a small step in the right direction.

That doesn't really sound like the best way to implement it though. On the other hand, it should at least sort of work, which is better than nothing.

Hello FOX, Welcome to 1985! (5, Insightful)

santajon (22325) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516026)

Seriously! My elementary had a PIN code to pay for lunch over 20 years ago. It was a very helpful system that allowed parents to deposit money into the lunch account. Kids didn't have to worry if they had money or not in the account either. The account would go negative and a letter would be generated to be sent home reminding the parent to deposit money into the account.

The only difference between then and now is that school districts are watched under a microscope about what food is being fed to the kids. So now the lunch lady records what food you eat so the school can use that data to improve the food and prove they are meeting state/federal guidelines. Where is the harm in that?

I'd certainly like any school to stop my kid from draining his lunch account by buying nothing but Twinkies!

astroturfing (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516038)

Kids have had to keep track of such things for a very long. When I was a kid it was a punchcard. Now most kids have IDs or other things, which they must use unless they pay full price for lunch, in which case they probably bring a lunch or buy something on campus.

Keeping track of food consumption, and maybe supplying that information to parents, sounds like a good idea. It is not like a school, especially in the lower grades, don't already know what kids eat.

This is clearly an attempt by the fast food people to stem this rise of healthy eating that the schools are trying to promote. 'Let the kids eat whatever they want so we will have fat happy customers in the future. Keeping track of what your child eats is facism. They want the fruit roll ups and skittles. If we fortify them with vitamins and minerals can we serve those for lunch. Sure if nobody is looking.'

The rational person might assume that new options are to try to give kids choices so it is more likely that they will eat the food instead of throwing it away. Since the diet is not preplanned to insure it meets federal requirements, such data must be taken to insure that the lunch program meets guidelines.

It is like the customer affinity card at your supermarket. If you don't want them to know what you eat, then don't use the card.

Just get the junk food out of the cafeterias. (1)

infernalC (51228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516052)

I don't know whether school lunch programs actually increase student performance or not. It is unconscionable that children go hungry while others eat in front of them, so I consider the programs necessary.

The three of my four kids who are in school take a lunch box. One of them is overweight, and we found out he was spending his allowance on a la carte junk food in the cafeteria line, particularly ice cream bars.

Frankly, there isn't any reason for the junk food to be there in the first place. I was astonished to find out that the school policy is to not enforce parents' requests to not allow children to buy junk food in the cafeteria.

It's not realistic for most parents to be with their kids all the time. It takes a village to raise a child. I don't think secret PIN numbers are necessary to help kids eat better in school. I think we just need to get the junk food out of the cafeteria. If parents *want* their kids eating crap, put it in the lunch box, but don't try to sell it to my kids while I'm not looking. I don't think we should expect teachers or lunch workers to be food police. Get the bad food out so they don't have to deal with it and parents don't have to worry about it.

Re:Just get the junk food out of the cafeterias. (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

The source (2, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516054)

Check out the source of the story, folks. It says at the top of the page that it's coming from an organisation called "Fox News, Fair and Balanced".

Just thought you should know.

At my old highschool the card system did not work (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516056)

At my old high school the card system did not work that well at times.

This was years ago but what I saw was Power over Ethernet cash registers / POS with 2? Line mini LCD's that did not work that well. Some student said they were getting over billed on their cash / free lunch card. The systems when down many times and lunch stuff had to write the card numbers down and the cost of the food. Some times when paying with cash they would ring it up look at the price (to high) says that's not right and have to start over. It seemed like it had a poor keyboard that doubled press at times.

Not necessarily a case of big brother. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516068)

I know that, in my school district, pretty much all students are required to input a 7 digit student id # when buying lunches or breakfasts. This isn't to monitor what children are eating per se (they do provide the option to parents, though it's an opt-in only), it is simply because the FDA's food subsidy only pays for one meal per student per day.

No, the creepy part is this: Many people above pointed out that students might share ID numbers. This system pulls up the student's yearbook photo so that the lunch staff can visually verify the student's identity.

File this one under parents complaining about privacy, in response to the solution to their earlier complaints about high lunch costs.

Memorization is so low tech (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516104)

Most schools already issue student ID cards with bar codes on them, why not just scan that? If the school doesn't already have a student ID system then it sounds like the perfect time to start. For the younger aged students who would be less likely to remember their ID every day perhaps the cards can be stored in the classroom; the teacher can issue them prior to lunch and collect them after.

unhealthy foods are cheaper then healthy stuff and (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516108)

unhealthy foods are cheaper then healthy stuff and schools don't have the funds to have good healthy food. Also some of fatty foods / vending make cash for the schools.

This is nothing new (1)

Brianwa (692565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516116)

I was born in 1990 and every single meal I purchased while I was in public school was through a computer system that kept track of when we ate, and later, what we ate. The excuse was that our state school system subsidizes only one meal per day per student (or two if they eat breakfast, at a different rate), so if you bought two meals, you had to pay about double the normal price for the second one. It's a sad realization that the school district is actually raking in $6 or more per every single tiny and disgusting portion they sell to students.

Re:This is nothing new (1)

Stephenmg (265369) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516194)

I'm a bit older and I always remember having an account mostly to track how much to charge my parents. The school district I work for passes out cards right before lunch with a barcode to scan to track payment. I suspect that this system has little to do with watching or more to do with money. Tracking food is probably the BS that the school district gave to the government to get them to shell out the cash for a new system.

Sounds Good To Me (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516136)

Training kids to eat poorly and to select the wrong foods is a form of child abuse. I do realize that our society has wrecked the idea of mom being at home to instruct children properly and many people simply do not take care of their kids. A school using technology to catch these problems sounds like a great idea to me.
                        Those sniffers that can spot drug use of parents in the home from the child's clothing are also fine with me. Let the light shine in!

They should know what they serving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516172)

I guess I don't see any validity to this monitoring. Unless I am missing something. The school should already know what they are serving the kids. And if they are ringing up the kids at a register, they know what they are selling. So they know what the kids are eating. They can track ALL of that WITHOUT having to identify each kid individually.

Where my kids go to school, you (optionally) put money on a card / account for your child. And your child swipes it. And they track everything. If you just want to monitor every kids purchase, follow that pattern. So one kid in line doesn't over hear some other kids number, and spout off other kids numbers throwing off meaningful statistics. I'd give a different number everyday until they catch me. (Being the mischievous kid I used to be)

This is nothing new lately... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516180)

...in Memphis schools the lunchroom PIN is the last four of their Social Security number (nice, right??) and all students are _required_ to wear a laser-scan (and RFID-embeded?) ID badge around their necks at all times with heavy penalties for non-compliance with a long list of rules about them.

Oh, and guess who has to pay for the badges...

My old school started doing this too! (1)

Zorque (894011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516188)

And it only happened 15 years ago!

RFID, that's the ticket (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516208)

They need to be using biodegradable RFID tags instead. If we can make edible underwear, why FFS can't we make edible RFID tags? Think of the (unhealthy) children!

As an actual parent speaking... (4, Insightful)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516214)

You know, I scanned the first 75 replies or so and I cannot recall a single one being from someone who actually claimed to have a kid in a school. So here's my take on the situation, as someone who has had 5 kids in school.

1) This isn't news. This has been going on for a long time now, as school districts strive to stop handling money. As a parent, I would *FAR* rather write a check every few months (or, better yet, this year they take Paypal!) to pay for my kids lunches, than try to find the exact damn change every day for my six year old.

2) I have a child who has struggled with weight issues from birth. Seeing as how she has two rail thin sisters (and they eat the same things), we have been working with her for about a year to emphasize better food choices and controlled portions. However, the simple fact is that schools do have choices in the cafeterias, especially starting in middle school. As such, I consider it a good tool for me to keep track of all my kids *SPENDING* and eating habits. I can tell if my high school freshman is guzzling down four packages of twinkies a day, or eating a real meal.

3) What, exactly, does anyone believe the schools will do with this information? They are already legally restricted in terms of dietary requirements (by state and federal regulation) and they are already legally restricted from divulging personal information of students. So, does anyone her seriously believe that they will start selling Hostess the names and eating habits of every child? Or that they will start writing contracts with companies simply to, what? Increase profit margins? Violate laws by bringing in unhealthy foods? Sorry, it won't happen.

I think that the bottom line here is that this really isn't a privacy violation. It's a tool to allow parents to control diet and spending of kids who might not be able to make the best decisions about such issues.

Bill

Old News... (1)

SamuraiHoedown (1769404) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516260)

My girlfriend from Iowa said they were doing this in her middle school(different school district) 10 years ago.

Nothing special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33516276)

10 years ago we had to use our Student ID card everytime we bought lunch at the school. So identifying the student with what was bought for lunch isn't new in any way shape or form here. Though I don't believe they compared it with some nutrition guideline back then, they still had the data.

Bah! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33516312)

If you tag them with subcutaneous microchips, they can't trade pins! Also, you could put their social security number on it and they'd be able to access accounts with a simple swipe for the rest of their lives! And if they're ever horribly dismembered, they'd just need to find the body part with the chip in it to figure out who they were! It's a win-win!
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