Michael Alison Chandler
August 6, 2008
For the first time, video cameras will monitor Fairfax County high school cafeterias this fall to keep students from pilfering chicken wraps or veggie burgers in the lunch line.
The region’s largest school system is turning to video surveillance, already widely used on school buses and outside school buildings, to combat what officials say has become a pervasive problem: food theft. The school system’s food and nutrition services department estimated that $1.2 million worth of prepared food was lifted from cafeterias in the past school year.
Board members decided last month that they could no longer swallow such losses, given a $150 million school budget shortfall and rising food prices. They approved a one-year tryout for cafeteria cameras at Annandale, Mount Vernon and Westfield high schools and Lake Braddock, Robinson and South County secondary schools.