Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lunch ban

When you were in school, how many of us took lunch to school just to avoid the crap they slapped on the trays at school. I know I did. Hell, I even had a collection of lunchboxes....think my parents still have those stashed away

Weren't those the days, though? In today's society, though, it seems as if any and everything that we enjoyed as kids they don't want the upcoming generation(s) to enjoy. Take this for instance...

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that the principal of Little Village Academy decided to ban home-packed lunches at the West Side school after watching students bring lunches consisting of "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips" on field trips.

From the Tribune:

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."

The Tribune spoke to several students and parents who opposed the policy, saying children don't like the cafeteria food, and that much of it gets thrown away. Other parents said the cafeteria food, supplied by caterer Chartwells-Thompson, is a healthy option and they are happy to have it available.

Though Carmona says the Chartwells-Thompson options are healthy, others disagree.

"It's rare that I see a school, especially a public school, that actually serves food that's good," Susan Rubin, a nutritionist and founder of the Better School Food program, told AOL News. "I get physically sick just looking at it, because it makes me sick that kids are eating this processed crap."

The home-packed lunch ban was put in place six years ago, but the Tribune's Monday story sparked outrage among some conservatives.

"This is problematic for a number of reasons, least of which is probably that a one-size-fits all government brainchild is destined to fail at solving a complicated problem," ChicagoNow blogger Emily Zanotti wrote Monday. " Anyone who's ever met a kid knows that kids are weird. It's a full time job, sometimes, for parents, to figure out how to ensure a child gets necessary nutrition while skirting a number of irrational food phobias. ... A public school, with hundreds of children, could never adequately address the needs of it's bizarre little population of dietary exceptions (not to mention, she clearly foils parents who would send their children to school with certifiably organic or home-cooked lunches)."

While an outright ban may be unpopular with students at Little Village, some Chicago Public School students do want more options when it comes to cafeteria food. Last year, a group of CPS high schoolers addressed the Chicago Board of Education after realizing that a typical lunch in a CPS cafeteria clocked in at 800 calories.

"Parents rely on schools to give their children nutritious meals, not tan-colored slop," one student told the Board.

The Chicago Public School system as a whole does not ban home-packed lunches, but does allow its principals to make such decisions.

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

Some Little Village students said they would make healthy choices if given the chance.

"They're afraid that we'll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won't be as good as what they give us at school," student Yesenia Gutierrez told the paper. "It's really lame. If we could bring in our own lunches, everyone knows what they'd bring. For example, the vegetarians could bring in their own veggie food."

Isn't that insane?!?

Not to get all political, but this does seem a bit like the government is trying to run everything (even though it was the principal who made this decision).

I'm not a parent, but I would be outraged at this if I was one. Who are they to tell me my kid can't eat food that I prepare.

As I said earlier, when I was in school, my mom would send lunch with me just about everyday. Granted, that would be a sandwich, fruit, and some sort of snack, play something like Hi-C, as opposed to burgers and fries or pizza that they seem to getting these days, but still it is the parent's decision what they send, not the school's.

Has anyone else stopped to think that by banning home lunches, they're just putting more money in the school's pocket by forcing them to pay for it. Hmmm...there could be something here that we hadn't really though about.

I don't know how much it is up there, but down here, my students are shelling out nearly $2 for lunch. When I was in high school (and didn't just go to the concession stand), I think lunch was like 75 cents or something. Talk about inflation!!!

So, in this day when stores are charging us more for less product, and Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver seem to think they can "cure" obesity, we now have a principal who thinks that banning home lunches will stop kids from getting fat...or is this just a way to make more money for the school?

I'm curious to know what you think. Is the school withing their rights to do this? It sure doesn't seem like it to me, but I could be wrong. I mean, are they going to stop a parent who brings the kid's lunch up to them and sits down and eats with them? I'd like to see them try.

This is just so infuriating to me. Think I'm going to pack my lunch for tomorrow...mmmm...double bacon cheeseburger seems about right. If I was a student at this school in Chicago, they'd probably not let me have it, even though I'm a


Lin said...

That was my first reaction--how else can we force those kids to buy those crappy school lunches???

If they think they are nutritious and good, they've got something coming. I think we are gonna have a lot of hungry kids at school with this one.

Mystery Man said...

yeah...this is just messed up on so many levels.

aren't you in Chicago?