A four year old student in North Carolina was not allowed to eat the lunch her mother packed for her. Apparently her lunch was taken away from her because school officials claimed it was not healthy enough to eat based off of the USDA guidelines.
The young child brought a home-packed lunch to school containing a turkey sandwich, banana, potato chips, and an apple juice. A lunch inspector told the child she wasn’t allowed to eat it and provided her with a USDA-approved lunch. The approved lunches meet the USDA guidelines that require one serving of meat, one serving of grains, and two servings of fruit or vegetables. The uneaten lunch was returned home with the child. Inside, the girl’s mother found a note explaining that the lunch didn’t meet guidelines and a bill for $1.25, the cost of the school lunch.
The child’s mother took action. She anonymously wrote her local paper and called a state representative. The North Carolina rep contacted the school regarding the issue and the school issued an apology. The child’s lunch was deemed acceptable after a second review.
Is the fact that the meal met the guidelines the issue? The mother stated that she didn’t pack her child’s meal based off of the guidelines.
“Don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunchbox properly. I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats.”
Should schools have the right to enforce what children bring in their lunchboxes? My opinion is no. Especially since these school guidelines are set by the ones who say pizza is a vegetable. Furthermore, spend 5 minutes in a lunch room and see that this particular lunch that was deemed as unhealthy, is in fact one of the most balanced meals you’ll find. There’s a huge problem with the way most of our kids eat, especially in the lunchroom. Whether they are bringing food from home or buying the school lunch, most of our kids are far from getting a healthy meal.
However, if another parent wants to pack junk in the lunchbox, I support their right and do not expect the school to stop them because that means I still have the right to pack my son a truly healthy and nutritious meal.
February 15th, 2012