On the Border-Line

From the sublime to the ridiculous - yesterday I offered you a lovely poem by Mary Oliver. Today, I offer you this revolting headline from the Huffington Post:


Yes indeed, the long arm of school regulation has now reached into your kitchen and grabbed the brown bag PB&J sandwich right out of your child's little hand.

If you haven't got the stomach to read the whole article, here's the gist of it.   The principal of Little Village Academy decided to ban parents from packing their children's lunches when she observed that many of the children were coming to school with "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips."  She deemed it would be better for the children to eat in the school cafeteria rather than suffer the effects of their parents nutritionally poor choices.  "Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Principal Elsa 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."

Aside from the fact that the home packed school lunch is almost a sacred part of any American childhood, I'm downright offended that a school can attempt to force feed children what it decides is right.  What's next?  Will the school choose which pediatrician they should go to?  Will the principal go door to door and make sure that each child is brushing their teeth at night using the correct type of toothpaste?

It's all fine and good for schools to teach children and their families about proper nutrition.  Have all the videos and presentations and worksheets you want.  But do not presume to tell me that I can't pack my child's lunch because it might not meet the school's nutritional standards.

In case you were wondering, Little Village Academy is part of the Chicago Public School system. "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."  In looking at the school's website, the demographics of the school appear to be heavily Hispanic, where culturally the favorite foods might be considered higher in fats and carbohydrates.  I wager that after a "healthy" lunch of salad and plain turkey sandwiches, those children probably head for the nearest bodega on the way home for something that tastes really good - like soda and flaming hot chips.

Oh I know, kids need to eat better.  But kids are kids, and the more you "force" them to do what's good for them, the more enticing you make what's bad for them seem to be.

And this habit of intruding official-dom of one sort or another into the private lives of the American people has got to stop.

Or I'll be making a run for the border myself.