Cafeteria cops

Ocean's 11 has come to Fairfax County, Virginia. Its school district estimates that during the 2007-2008 school year, $1.2 million of cafeteria food was pilfered from under the watchful eyes of the lunch ladies. This brazenness is epidemic, apparently: Penny McConnell, the district's director of food and nutrition services, conducted an anonymous survey of 10,000 pupils and found that nearly 9 percent "said they had taken food without paying." Fairfax, facing a big budget crunch and rising food prices, has decided to install in certain cafeterias surveillance cameras to deter the temptable and nab the undeterrable. This is more promising than the district's previous approach (signs in the hallways inform about pocketing hot pockets, "It's stealing and it hurts everyone," which of course it doesn't), and we wish Fairfax luck. Perhaps, though, this is yet another reason for schools to jettison unhealthful fries and pizzas in favor of vegetables and fruits. What 15-year-old would risk suspension for zucchini sticks?

"Fairfax Fed Up With Lunch-Line Thieves," by Michael Alison Chandler, Washington Post, August 4, 2008

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