School Lunches

I was listening to the radio on my way into work this morning, as I often do, and a story came up about a woman who was fined $10 for the contents of her kid’s school lunch. She had packed for her daughter some roast beef and some vegetables and some potatoes. The school said that the lunch lacked grains, gave the child some Ritz crackers to supplement the lunch, and then fined the parent $10. 

When I first heard that the mother was fined, I assumed that maybe she’d packed something ridiculously unhealthy. Cake or cookies and nothing of substance. Or sent an empty lunch bag. I don’t know what I thought, but I did not think that she would be fined for sending a roast beef dinner  to school, nor do I think she should have been fined.

I think things are getting to a point where school and government involvement are excessive. I agree that the school can and should make suggestions as to what an appropriate lunch might be. I think that if a child is consistently being sent to school with a lunch lacking in any nutrition that a case could be made for perhaps a letter to be sent home. The thing is, maybe that child is eating a LOT of grains at home for breakfast and for dinner. The school does not know what this child is eating beyond the one meal that they spend with her. 

My daughter’s kindergarten class has requested that school lunches not contain cookies, chips, or candy for nutrition reasons and no juice boxes to avoid messes. I am okay with that request. I wonder, though, what would or does happen if the request is ignored. 

I will be the first one to admit that I am so relieved that I am not the one who packs A’s lunches every day. I would be pretty frustrated if I packed what I felt was a relatively healthy option (and I think that roast beef, veggies, and potatoes are not that bad, thank you very much) and then I was sent a letter home and a notice of a fine. In fact, I’d be furious. 

So how much is too much involvement? Where is the line drawn as to when the school can and should step in with what the kids are eating for lunch? Should they ever have any say? 

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