The More Incompetent Schools Are, The More Power They Want: Now, the Food Police

Guess who works for the Chicago school system!

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.

20 thoughts on “The More Incompetent Schools Are, The More Power They Want: Now, the Food Police

  1. After reading the title, I was all set to rag on you for complaining about vegetable vending machines. Then I read what was going on. This is worse than facebook. What possible compelling interest is there for this?

  2. We need about a bajillion Jamie Olivers to take the time to educate communities about healthy food. We also need a bajillion dollars so that communities whose nearest grocery store is the 7-11 get access to healthy food.

    {{steps away from the soapbox}}

    The Chicago example seems like just another way to get around the hard stuff–taking the time to educate people so that they can make better choices. Taking the easy way out only encourages further laziness and sheep herding mentaility. And good luck if you are a competent parent and wish to raise your child vegan. What about food allergies? Got a gluten-free menu, Chicago?

    So tired of seeing band-aids put on a gaping wound.

      • You know that wasn’t my point, right? Would you not have reacted if I wrote “vegetarian” instead?


        Loving aunt who doesn’t want to in any way be connected with the term “child abuse.”

        • I just don’t like bad arguments and evidence for good points. Cut the fluff fromt he substance.

          The vegan comment was mostly in jest, but there is some basis for it. Someone raised without meat will likely not accumulate and sustain the bacteria to be able to properly digest it. There is no settled way to provide the necessary bacteria, but some studies show that eating feces might do the trick. If the only way to reverse your parenting is eating feces, then there’s a problem with your parenting.

    • Didn’t you hear? Andrew Jackson and Alexander Hamilton fought a heavenly duel over the 20 spot (Hamilton thought that getting on just one bill wasn’t enough for the first Secretary of the Treasury). Let’s just say that Hamilton no longer shoots to miss.

  3. “In 1815 we took a little trip, along with Col. HAMILTON down the mighty Mississip. We took a little bacon and we took a little beans, and we fought the bloody British at the town of New Orleans.”

    I just looked at a $20 bill in my wallet — it must be a counterfeit, because it has a picture of Andrew Jackson on it.

    • The 1 and 2 are right next to each other on the keyboard. Everyone makes mistakes, just like President Ben Franklin when he invented electricity to power his Franklin Stove in 1933.

  4. Let’s see if my logic stream adds up:

    1) Packing a lunch at home is cheaper than a school lunch.
    2) Schools are forcing commerce by forcing parents to pay for a school lunch.
    3) Parents are being fleeced of the money they could save, because…
    4) Schools have a monopoly on the lunch food.


    alt 3) Parents refused to be fleeced, so the school lunches are being subsidized
    alt 4) Taxpayers are now paying for student meals.
    alt 5) …which takes away funds intended for education.


  5. What are the responsibilities of the school now? Let’s look at the school day.
    (1) Make sure the children have had breakfast, feed those who haven’t
    (2) Make sure the children are wearing clothes (no, really) and fix any problems there.
    (3) See which of the children have been physically abused that morning. Take appropriate action.
    (4) See which children have been emotionally abused by alcoholic/drug addicted parents. Take appropriate action.
    (5) Recess
    (6) Lunch
    (7) Teach something, but make sure you fulfill the 15 different custom learning plans for each of the students in the class that are ‘exceptional’.
    (8) Send children home.

    You wonder why schools are failing. They decided to take on the role of parental watchdogs and caretaker of the children. This diluted and eventually took over their mission to teach. Of course they are going to decide what the children eat, just like they decide everything else.

  6. Since when have school lunches been nutritious? I remember the watery meatloaf , canned green beans and some kind of alien strawberry whip crap for dessert…fish sticks, pizza, fruit cocktail, that’s healthy? Some schools are bringing in Kentucky Fried Chicken and other vendors in place of a school lunch program, and many have soft drink vending machines, which would give kids access to foods that some parents wouldn’t allow at home. This is ridiculous, I really hope the parents fight it.

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