Should School’s Dictate What Kids Eat for Lunch?

Little Village Academy, a public school on Chicago’s West Side, recently implemented a policy prohibiting students from bringing their own lunches to school. Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention was to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices by providing a nutritional option for them to eat.

"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."

After much uproar from parents and students, the program eventually was halted.

There is also an economic impact with this decision. School lunches are not free so the cost of this program has to come from someone, either the parents of the students or funded by the taxpayers of the school district. The cynic in me sees part of this decision as a way to bolster the coffers of the food service provider to the school.

I can understand where the principal was coming from when she tried to implement this decision. Obesity is a big problem in the United States in both adults and children. The two biggest factors leading to this epidemic are lack of physical exercise and poor dietary habits. No one is really sure what the solution is to address this issue and this administrator was trying to do her part to address it.

I don’t agree with how she handled it. The last I checked, Chicago is in the United States of America. One of the rights we have as citizens of this country is the ability to make our own choices on what we think is best for us and for our children. I would have been outraged if this choice was forced on me. I should not be punished for the poor decisions of others.

I can’t speak for the lunches being provided at Little Village Academy but I know that my children aren’t thrilled with the lunches provided at the two school’s they attend. They end up packing a lunch 3 or 4 days per week because they don’t enjoy the options provided for them on their school lunch menu. In reading about Little Village Academy, it appears there was a similar problem there with a lot of the lunches tossed into the trash without being eaten. What good is a program if a large portion of the food ends up in the trash? Talk about a waste of money.

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