Would YOU put that in your mouth?

Posted: April 11, 2011 by aliceaitch in Edumakashun, Ewww - taste this!, Nanny State, Obama's Fault, The Joys of Parenting, WTF is wrong with Illinois

Those of you who know me personally know my five-year-old is quite possibly the world’s pickiest eater.  She’s got about twenty-two foods she eats (yes, that’s up from twenty a year ago – she’s added pineapple and Canadian bacon to her repertoire over the past year, but not together on pizza).  Among these foods are wheat bread, apples, oranges, grapes, yogurt (fruit-flavored only), pizza (but not if it’s too greasy), tortillas, Sun Chips (but not potato chips), fish sticks, peas, and corn.  And, of course, bacon.

All in all, we consider ourselves pretty lucky that for the most part the foods she prefers are healthy.  We’ve tried all the “expert” suggestions, but it’s really up to her whims as to when she tries new foods.  She won’t eat a lot of the kid staples like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, hot dogs, peanut butter, or flavored milk (or any milk that’s not skim, for that matter).  When we go someplace with a pre-planned meal we just assume that we need to bring food along, or she just won’t eat – she’s gone an entire day without eating, without complaining, because the food choices didn’t include anything she liked.

So how do you suppose she’d do if this were presented to her as her only option for lunch?

There’s no fucking way she’d even touch that.  She’d go hungry first.  And if this Chicago school had anything to say about it, she’d go hungry Every. Single. Day.  I’m guessing there aren’t too many adults here that would touch that, for that matter.

At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” 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. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”

Carmona said she created the policy six years ago after watching students bring “bottles of soda and flaming hot chips” on field trips for their lunch. Although she would not name any other schools that employ such practices, she said it was fairly common.

When my son goes on field trips, we pack him junk.  Milk is gross after it’s sat in a lunch bag for hours, and the occasional Capri Sun or Sprite (or heck, even a Coke) isn’t going to send a kid’s overall nutrition off the rails.  I think judging what kids are packing in their lunches based on what goes on field trips is a poor judgment call.

Of course, Principal Carmona thinks she can do better than the parents of her students.  Maybe she can – 99% of the school’s students are eligible for free lunches. But the real question here is, does Principal Carmona have the right to control this aspect of her students’ lives?  Given the high rate percentage of free lunches, it seems that parents who send lunches to school with their children are making a statement of one sort or another, whether they’re saying “The food you’re feeding my child isn’t healthy enough” or “The amount of food you’re offering my child isn’t enough” or simply “The food you’re offering my child is disgusting.”  And how does giving a child a set meal each day, with no choices, ever teach that child to make the correct decisions on what foods are healthy?  This sort of restriction, combined with the usual quality of school lunches, teaches kids that healthy food is gross and so they should toss it into the trash and grab a candy bar to take care of the stomach rumblies after school.

This isn’t really about the quality of the food, though – Chicago Public Schools has some pretty decent guidelines regarding what can and can’t go into school meals.  This is about schools exerting another tiny bit of control over your kids’ lives and teaching your kids that they can depend on a governmental authority to make the decisions about what’s best for them.

  1. alexthechick says:

    I’m going to guess the school’s in a majority minority area. Which means that she is saying that minorities are too stupid to choose what to feed their kids. Raaaaaaaaaaaacist.

    I have a friend who only eats six things. Seriously, six. Thank Cthulhu one of those is french fries so we can take her anywhere.

    • aliceaitch says:

      The Princess will eat some french fries. Not all, unfortunately.

      Given that the school’s website is in both Spanish and English, yes, I would guess that there’s at least a bit of a minority component there.

    • aliceaitch says:

      I have to issue a correction. The Princess has started eating vanilla yogurt too in the past month.

      She tried a burrito tonight. She took a bite, chewed it up, swallowed it, and said she wasn’t going to eat that again. She’s a trooper about trying new foods, it’s just that nothing tastes good. But she’ll swallow adult-sized pills. Maybe when they figure out food pills she’ll start eating something different.

      • davisbr says:

        2nd grade. Linda Elementary. Mrs. Ramsey (the terror of the cafeteria): she required every student to eat at least one bite of everything on the tray. Everything.

        A friend and I learned the trick of swirling the spinach around to make it look like we’d taken a bite.

        Until the day she busted us.

        Standing over us and watching our every move, she imperiously demanded that we take a bite, while she watched.

        I was crying**, as I knew what was going to happen.

        My friend and I took a spoonful of the awful stuff.

        I gagged, and promptly threw up.

        My friend’s aim was FAR better though: he threw up all over her.

        Needless to add: we NEVER had to eat another bite of spinach. Bonus: she left the both of us totally alone the rest of that year (and the following year, I transferred back to my “regular” school).

        **I hated throwing up. And I knew I would.

        • MikeD says:

          Yeah… some busybody teacher makes my kid (which I don’t have, so lets go hypothetical) throw up by forcing them to eat anything, I want their job.

          • davisbr says:

            …it was a simpler, more austere age way back then.

            And we kids wouldn’t have dreamed of telling our parents either. (Get beat at school, you’re just asking to get beat at home.)

            Now, though? – If I had young ‘uns, I’d home school ’em. No way I’d send them to the grinding, soul-less, evil corporate maw known as public education.

  2. Ogre says:

    This will be character-building for the little weasels. They get to learn that stupid people are in charge of our schools and our government, and elitists should be ignored whenever possible.

    I think I know the answer but will ask anyway: You think the teachers or administrators or Miss High-and-Mighty Principal eat that crap cafeteria food?

    I survived the public school gulag in California, and it’s only gotten worse since I escaped many years ago. So, for humanity, for our children: burn down the schools. The kids ain’t gonna get no dumber if they just stay home and the food cannot be worse than cafeteria food.

    (Side note: I remember one of my classmates talking another kid out of dropping out of school. The reasoning was: if you drop out, where you gonna score drugs?)

  3. doubleplusundead says:

  4. MikeD says:

    I think I’d demand that if the school board required children to eat that food, they should require all the staff to do so as well. Only fair. But good luck getting that past the unions.

  5. Storm Saxon's Gall Bladder says:

    But if your kid eats in the cafeteria then the catering company makes money. Money that gets kicked back to the political machine that sold that company their monopoly. And how effective can a monopoly be if people are not required to use the service?
    Can we believe that the Chicago Machine would starve your child for money?
    Yes we can!

  6. First they came for the lunch I made for my kid, and I said nothing…

  7. Haiku Guy says:

    Teach them when they are young that the state will have complete control over their lives and their choices, down to the smallest detail. It will make them better citizens when they grow up.

  8. Purple Raider says:

    “Given the high rate percentage of free lunches, it seems that parents who send lunches to school with their children are making a statement of one sort or another, whether they’re saying “The food you’re feeding my child isn’t healthy enough” or “The amount of food you’re offering my child isn’t enough” or simply “The food you’re offering my child is disgusting.” ”

    All of the above.

    Especially in Chicago.

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