The Chicago Tribune reports that several Chicago schools prohibit families from packing lunches from home for their children.
“A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals. ‘While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments,’ Monique Bond wrote in an email. ‘In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.'”
No, in this case, the Chicago schools are interfering with the right of parents to determine what their children eat, and attempting to usurp parental responsibility over a core aspect of child rearing. How dare they?
This is disrespectful and completely beyond the school’s legitimate authority.
The story describes other horrors, like teachers confiscating snacks and food from home that don’t meet the school’s nutrition Nazi’s standards. The public schools show a declining ability to teach children how to think, read and multiply, but they presume to veto family choices about what their children can eat? Unbelievable arrogance. What if, one critic asks in the story, parents want to pack healthier lunches than what the school offers? Does it bother no one at these schools that forcing school lunches on kids results in more students eating no lunches at all, since the lunches, like all institutional food since time immemorial, taste lousy?
No, no. The school knows best! True, they can’t educate, they can’t teach children to speak grammatically, prepare students for college or make certain that graduates have a modicum of knowledge about their nation*, but the school can make better food choices for children than their own parents.
The most frightening part of the story is the sheep-like acquiescence of some of the parents, who apparently are so lulled into passivity by the creeping nanny state that they no longer know when freedom and autonomy is being taken away from them.
I have no idea what wellspring of warped values this core infringement of parental authority comes from. I’m trying, really trying, not to blame Michelle Obama. But the increasingly obvious incompetence and miserable judgment of school administrators around the nation argues for narrower authority, not more, reduced power, not an increase in it, less control over student choices, not an expansion.
Anyone who isn’t outraged by this is part of a very big problem. One doesn’t have to be anti-government to be anti-intrusive, bullying, know-it-all government that has such contempt for parents, and such an absurdly inflated concept of its own wisdom.
* Case in point: A current PBS documentary on Alexander Hamilton—Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury, creator of the Coast Guard, face on the $10 bill—asked student at Columbia University, Hamilton’s alma mater, what they thought of old Al. Several of the Ivy League students never heard of him.