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April 12, 2011

No more brown bag school lunches. Guess that's for Dad, now.

You remember what you did for lunch at school, don't you? I think I used to bring a brown bag with a sandwich, chips, and a cupcake or something. I'd occasionally buy lunch from the cafeteria, and got that slice of pizza with the grease pool in the center of it. Or something else equally as yummy.

Nowadays, of course, schools have to serve better things. I hope they are. I haven't found any 10-year-olds to ask (that aren't being home-schooled, anyway).

Also, the lunch I brought to school way back in the day would probably get my parents a sternly-worded letter about nutrition and healthy eating if I were to do it now. Or maybe the Children's Health Police would show up at their door.

("Your son's been busted for Twinkie possession. And ugly shoes, too")

But what if a school went that extra mile, and prevented kids from even bringing lunch to school in the first place?

That's what Chicago's Little Village Academy's doing. Students there must buy the school lunch. They are no longer allowed to bring anything from home. Only children with allergies will be able to do so (I predict a great increase in the allergy claims from the children in this school).

"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," principal Elsa CarmonaƂ told the paper of the years-old policy. "It's about ... the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke."

But students said they would rather bring their own lunch to school in the time-honored tradition of the brown paper bag. "They're afraid that we'll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won't be as good as what they give us at school," student Yesenia Gutierrez told the paper. "It's really lame."

(I love when news articles have to quote kids. "It's really lame" indeed)

This goes far beyond the usual "banning pop at school" type of thing. Banning whole lunches? What if you don't like string beans and that's what's on the menu?

This is an example of what they're serving:

(Photo from the Chicago Tribune article)

That looks pathetic!

In addition to the supposed health benefits of this restriction, you can't get past the fact that forcing every student to buy lunch is definitely a cash cow for the school. Even if the student is subsidized (and not all of them are, so that could be another hardship), the school still gets the money.

This is yet another way of ripping parenting responsibilities from the parents. If this keeps up, why not just ship the kids off to school for 18 years and have them show up on the parents' doorstep, all ready to go to college?

("Hi, Mom & Dad. You look older since I saw you last.")

Where does it end?


  1. Yep... I think this policy is nanny-ism gone way amok.

  2. This is not only absurd, it sounds perilously close to infringing upon the Constitution in some manner. I've never heard of such garbage. Even if the school were serving gold encrusted food daily, forcing parents to purchase that meal for their kids smacks of scary stuff to me. I would dig my heels in just on principle. And I'd be yanking my kid from that school system ASAP if the policy couldn't be circumvented.

    ~ Dawn

  3. I totally agree with both of you! This is not only a slippery slope, but one with a ton of rocks ready to become an avalanche hanging above it.

    Though I do kind of like the idea of the kids going away for 18 years...

    Thanks for the comments, ladies!

  4. Where I grew up there was a lot of italians ..lunch was great..meatballs , eggplant, sausages & onions.. I would have loved to have seen what would have happened if they told our parents they could not send our lunch in. Of course then we were all from 2 parent homes and our mom or dad was there when we left.. not always the case now

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Jim!

    Yeah, I can't imagine what they would make out of a delicious-sounding Italian lunch like that.

    They'd probably cringe in horror.


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