Monday, April 11, 2011

You can't always get eat what you want

Several months ago, I had a back-and-forth with a friend of mine (and fellow right-winger) regarding First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign.

While I applaud the FLOTUS and her encouragement of kids to be healthier through a better diet and exercise, I will never acquiesce to Government's attempts to regulate what kids eat, specifically where school lunches are concerned (As it is, the Federal government should have ZERO involvement in public education, but that's a whole different topic). This is where my friend bashed his fellow conservatives, saying that childhood obesity is such a serious epidemic that the US Government should be given carte blanche to fix the problem, especially in schools. But as a fervent opponent of nanny state tactics, I simply explained that the onus is on the parents to monitor their child's diet and that if school lunch is so high in fat, then simply send your child to school with a "cold lunch." My buddy gave me the ol' "touché" on that point.

However, at a certain public school in Chicago, they even want to control what food a student brings from home.

Fernando Dominguez cut the figure of a young revolutionary leader during a recent lunch period at his elementary school.

"Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?" the seventh-grader shouted to his lunch mates in Spanish and English.

Dozens of hands flew in the air and fellow students shouted along: "We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!"

Fernando waved his hand over the crowd and asked a visiting reporter: "Do you see the situation?"

At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Since when has that been the primary responsibility of a school administrator? Did I miss something here?

A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals.

"While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments," Monique Bond wrote in an email. "In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom."

Is it just me or does it seem incredibly arrogant for school principals to declare themselves the moral authority on a kid's diet? What exactly qualifies them to determine what is the "healthier choice?" While I don't deny that some children are not the beneficiaries of a healthy diet, I'll never accept the premise that a public school system should be the authority in that area.

Just another example of "The Chicago Way" perhaps?


1 comment:

StarBittrune said...

From In 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ... determined that a traditional fundamental parental right “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” ...So, in Chicago the school can mandate that parents shell out $2.25 daily for a child’s lunch or let their child go hungry.