Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oh come on

I really don't get this. A mother sends her pre-schooler to school with a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice, and potato chips. The school decides that's not healthy enough so they purchase a lunch for the child and charge it to the mother. The child eats three chicken nuggets from the purchased meal and nothing from the brought lunch.

From first through eighth grade my sack lunch consisted of an apple and a peanut butter sandwich. Not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just a peanut butter sandwich. I bought milk at school and drank water from the water fountains. I remember being disgruntled at my lunches but it got me through the day. That pre-schooler had a veritable feast compared to what I got as an eighth-grader. The mother points out, rightly, that she knows what her child will and won't eat, and she is able to pack her lunches accordingly. And that's a pretty healthy lunch, after all. For the school to step in and interfere with her child's diet is disturbing to me.

Update (16 Feb): In Belgium you start sending your kids to school pretty early, when they're three years old -- although really it's more like organized play time. We have some very close friends, fellow expatriots, who have a diabetic child and they refused to send him to school because of it. They knew the difference between when he was just acting up and when his behavior indicated something about his blood-sugar level. When they'd go shopping in the middle of the day with their child, they'd get stares, and sometimes even accusations: "Why isn't your child in school?" But they wouldn't budge because their child's diet had a direct and immediate connection to their child's health. Maybe my strong negative reaction to this story was fueled by thinking of my friends (who are back in the States now) and the idea of a bureaucrat deciding that he knows better what to feed their child than they do.

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