Lunchtime poll – should schools rule kids' lunches?
April 12th, 2011
12:45 PM ET
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Any e-mail tip from Ali Velshi tends to be the most interesting thing in my inbox, and today was no exception. As he'll be discussing on today's CNN Newsroom, Monica Eng and Joel Hood of the Chicago Tribune report that a school on the city's West Side is prohibiting its students from bringing home-prepared lunches to school, unless they have a medical excuse or an allergy.

Instead, the children at Little Village Academy, must either purchase lunch from the school's cafeteria, or opt to skip lunch entirely. Unsurprisingly, students and parents alike are unhappy with the blanket policy, and are speaking out.

"Who thinks the lunch is not good enough? ... We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!" The Tribune reports that students, like seventh grader Fernando Dominguez, are attempting to rile peers in the cafeteria in protest of the ban.

But Principal Elsa Carmona stands by the ban she set six years ago after seeing students pack "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips" for school field trips. Carmont touts the health benefits of the cafeteria's offerings - especially after the Chicago school system tightened its nutritional standards last year to include a greater offering of fiber, whole grains, more dark green and orange vegetables and reduce fat and sugar content.

The Chicago public school systems serves approximately 280,000 lunches every day - 86 percent of those to students who qualify for free or reduced lunches. Students who do not qualify for that must pay $2.25 - which parents argue can easily exceed the cost of a homemade meal. As it happens, the school's caterer Chartwells-Thompson, not the district, receives a set fee for each lunch served.

As I told Ali, I believe that while the administration seemingly has its heart in the right place, believing that children should be eating healthy foods, it rankles me deeply that the policy is mandatory. While not all parents make great decisions - and many cannot afford to purchase more nutritionally sound foods - the options should remain fully in their hands. These same systems should instead strive to subsidize better options.

Once I build my personal utopian society, vegetables will cost $.03 at most and items containing high fructose corn syrup, mechanically separated chicken and "cheese food" will be $12.99 apiece. But until then, tell Ali and me what you think.

More on the politics of school lunch

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  3. wut?

    Yay for paranoia? Kids can't bring treats to school unless they're store-bought, and now THIS crap?? Eff this. I'm movin' to Canada.

    May 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  4. jenna

    And sometimes, school lunch makes kids sick. Just sayin'

    April 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  5. jenna

    thats just silly. It's the kids choice if they wanna bring lunch or not. That's not right.

    April 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  6. Lisa D.

    OK, one more post and I am moving on. So, many on this board are worried about how parents are not good enough for their kids and they are not doing right by them in the nutrition department. First, I would like each of you that thinks the schools are doing better (short of no lunch at all) and eat that food. My daughter can not eat the food at school without coming home sick.
    So let us just say the government moves in, takes control, and now they are large and in charge of lunches for these kids because parents are too stupid to know what to feed their kids. (like they will stop at lunches if they get that far! Some schools have a breakfast program. That could be required too.)
    So let us say that M-F they have breakfast and lunch covered. You are trusting them to feed your kids. (Why did you have kids? So the government could raise them? Just checking...)
    Now let us think about this a moment. The GOVERNMENT is the one with the power behind this to give the schools authority to do this? Have you been satisfied with how the government has handled other big issues in our country. Hurricane Katrina, there are still some people trying to gain the footing and the government still botched that one up.
    BP Oil spill, it is not in the news all that much however, the Gulf of Mexico is certainly not the same and all the while, there were no real firm stands against the oil spill issues.
    Oh here is one, how long are we staying in Iraq? It is for the good of the mis-guided people. Who are we to say what is good for them?

    Seriously, look at how the government can not even do much in the department of health care for everyone. I mean, think about all the kids that parents do not or cannot take them to the doctors.

    There will never be a perfect parent and when we see there is someone that needs help, give a hand up rather than beat them down and get an entity involved who cannot even wipe their own backside without making some sort of issue out of it.

    Offer parenting classes, that is what saved me! I took them because I wanted to and I cared enough that I felt there was so much more to learn. But seriously, feed a man a fish and he will eat for a day. TEACH him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. Do you want to babysit all these parents all the time? People get sick of WELFARE, isn't this similar?

    TEACH THEM, do not try to CONTROL THEM.

    April 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  7. Lisa D.

    As a prior teacher in the private sector, I understand the school wanting control of the lunches and what is served. This does prevent trash food from making its way into the classrooms. It also prevents one student from bringing in food that shows their "social status" compared to those who could not afford much. So our policy was, we provided lunches, end of story. I didn't agree.
    We could not always account for food allergies and not to mention, I had also worked in the kitchen and I know for a fact that although the meals that were being prepared were considered a balanced meal, the "substance" used was not the quality food that I would feed my neighbor. I didn't like my neighbor.
    So what to do? You simply map out what foods are appropriate and make it clear that if things like sodas and bagged chips come in the class, they will not be eaten there. Moreover, if the entire lunch does not fall within the guidelines, the student will be provided with a school lunch and the parent will be billed for it. This contract would be clear upon enrollment. The guidelines would be reasonable and if there was a special diet needed that could go into the file so it could be noted what the students needs were.
    Does that mean the school has control? To a point. But it would be more of an agreement between parents and the school prior to enrollment.

    April 14, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  8. Bob

    Most parents have not a clue how nutrition affects children. It is so important that kids should not be allowed to bring lunches to school and should eat the healthy meals that are served there. Allowing children to opt out is what causes resentment against the school and the parents who want a better life for their kids.

    April 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  9. Joe

    Can we skip all of this and go straight to the iv food or all pills. We see it in all the sci fi movies and right now the people in Washington can't watch what they put in their own mouths so they have to blame everyone else for being fat. After all its not our fault for being fat slobs who don't exercise and pig out 8 meals a day. We don't live in a free country anymore, its been voted out one law at a time.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  10. Jerry

    For years and years the school lunches were just junk food. Corn dogs, cheese burgers, fries, hot dogs, etc. was what they served. Suddenly they're so concerned about healthy meals that they think they have to control the contents of home lunches. GMAB!

    April 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Lisa D.

      Depending on what school campus you go to, you may find the same ole' school food we had when we were kids. The only thing I recall being healthy was the chef's salad. Sadly, one day one of the girls who worked in the lunch prep crew got the food borne hepatitis and it was being spread through the salad because she was not properly washing her hands and using gloves. The entire school had to go through lines to get a shot to "prevent" us from getting it. It ruined the salad option for me.
      So sometimes even the healthiest of foods from food service can be scary. ;-) But to be fair, I guess it is better than no food at all, right?

      April 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  11. lokii

    Ahh the government parent which is the most absentee and neglectful in history telling the rest of us parents we are wrong.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Bob

      I am not the government – I am the father of two children who would like my children to grow up healthy. That is nearly impossible when they live half time with the other clueless spouse who consistently feeds them junk. Most kids are getting junk via their parents. If the schools don't provide good nutrition and teach children how to eat, most of the kids will grow up to be fat and unhealthy adults. I am surprised at all the idiots posting here that look around and are blind to what is happening. You are all brainwashed by the marketers. Fools.

      April 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
      • Lisa D.

        I am sorry Bob that you didn't choose well for a partner when you had children. I know that can not always be helped. What you need to really look at is just how much government do you want in your life. You seem to believe they are on your side right now because they provide a good meal once, maybe twice a day, however, what if they decided what you were serving was not good enough. Or the sleeping schedule you have for your kids are inadequate so they will bring them to a "sleeping station" (which I don't believe exists right now) and you are free to pick up your children during certain hours. If they deem a nap is necessary, you will be required to bring your child back, on time, to ensure their sleep schedule is government approved.
        Believe me, I am all about wanting what is best for the kids; however, there comes a point that people are going to have to grow up. When I was young we used to have to go to the pond not far from my house and pray that we could catch fish or it would be bologna sandwiches and water for that night. How balanced is that? But I was grateful to have food and I have survived. Do you really want to support a world full of kids? Because that is what happens with every new law put up that tells a parent what they have to do to raise their child "right and healthy".
        Less government please!

        April 14, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  12. JARAD

    The school is there to educate the children no feed them. Who are they thinking that they can parent my child or decide what they will eat. The school is way overstepping here. make it an option by all means, some people will choose to pay for the service but to force the children to eath what the school provides... id protest.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Joe

      The school system is just looking for a form of permanent cash flow forced on people through taxation with a "think of the children" label. The "healthy food" will last for about a year and then the cries of poverty will start and the taxing of the people will start going up in the name of "good health". Then we'll find out that the people in charge are getting $400K a year to "run" the program.

      It's so sad that it's this obvious to me yet some people are actually in support of this. Why do I have a feeling that the supporters are not paying to feed their children to begin with...

      April 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  13. Ken

    Parents won't feed their kids right, someone has to do it. There needs to be a standard in the schools though, the food needs to be nutritional for the kids. If a parent is complaining about this and their 8 year old weighs as much as a 30 year old man, they need to take some responsibility.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Joe

      What are you talking about? What parent? All parents? You are just learning to type and like to see the pretty words on the screen do we? What parents refuse to feed their kids "right"?

      That's about as stupid as studies that start off with "As we all know".

      No we don't and no they aren't.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Ken has it right – most parents don't have a clue. If the schools don't teach it the kids will not learn. End of story.

      April 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Lisa D.

      Wow, sounds like we want the schools and governments to raise our kids. Why did we become parents? Someone tells me I am not feeding my children properly may end up with issues. I had child protective services at my door because someone reported I was not feeding my children anything other than rice! They came in, saw I was well stocked on food and it was perfect timing because I was cooking dinner and had a perfect meal going on. I had no clue they were coming. I had covered the meat, vegetables, bread/fiber, and dairy. I explained on the nights we ate light was when we had karate and we would come home and eat something more. The lighter meal was because we did not want to practice with a full stomach and fill ill. So really the kids got two evening meals on those nights and they were two light meals and those were the nights that were vegetarian with protein. My kids were not under nor over weight and they were perfectly healthy.
      I don't need some government idiot telling me how to prepare my meals and threatening me if I am not doing it right. They can't even balance a budget, what makes you believe they can figure out a balanced meal?

      April 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  14. Just Sayin'

    I wonder if the principal gets a kickback from the company that supplies the lunches.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  15. Abbyka

    So parents that make just enough to not qualify for free or reduced lunches are screwed? I'd be picking my kids up from school everyday and take them to the park for lunch or home for lunch. Or get a note from the doctor that says "starving can be hazardous to this student's health". There's your excuse.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Lisa D.


      April 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  16. debra


    April 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  17. levi d.

    I suspect that the school lunch photo is a stock photo, not an actual lunch served by this school. The caption should be edited to reflect as much. Still, I find it hard to believe that a good, nutritious lunch can be obtained for 2.25, not to mention the fact that each student will have different caloric requirements, so this mandatory "one sized fits all" lunch doesn't work.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  18. lunch

    As others have mentioned, maybe the school should invest in a program that EDUCATES both the children and parents on proper nutrition. That's where it begins, folks. Oh, and we Americans should DEMAND that the government END federal subsidies to the people and corporations who produce the unhealthy, chemical-laced "food product" that lines our grocery aisles. Or maybe the school could sponsor a vegetable garden on its property and somehow work it into the science curriculum. EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE but don't mandate!

    April 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Lisa D.

      Check out Waldorf schools! When my children were going there, we didn't have a school lunch provided, we sent lunches to school. There were parents that also supplied the "kitchen" with foods for students that either forgot their lunches or parents couldn't always afford to send a nutritious lunch. Because this was donated, the children were cared for and the parent could know their child didn't go hungry. We had guidelines on what could be donated to ensure the food was healthy.
      What was great is that we would have days that we would cook in the class with some of the students. Each student was to bring something to put in the soup. We never knew what kind of soup we were going to end up with but it always came out good.
      We also had a garden, a compost pile and the students learned from hands on experience how to grow a garden themselves. Some of our regular public schools have gardens too. Unfortunately, they are not really big enough to be a part of a food program at the schools.

      April 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  19. lunch

    Are you kidding? The only reason we have school lunches is because some parents aren't able (or willing) to provide good, well-balanced lunches for their kids, no? Ideally, every student would bring his or her own lunch from home because ideally, students' families would be able to put good whole foods on the table! That's obviously not the case, though. It's heart-breaking that for some kids, the only "decent" meal they get is a free (or paid) lunch at school. Schools–and the local community (volunteer organizations, local chefs, etc.)–should work diligently to provide healthy lunches (free or paid) for students who choose to eat at school, but a school should NOT be able to ban home-packed lunches. I was a picky eater, but I had no allergies (besides an allergy to artificial food dyes like Red #40, Yellow #5 & #6, etc., that I've since outgrown). My parents, thankfully, always had the money and time to pack me a good lunch, and that right shouldn't be taken away. But for those who aren't as furtunate, provide healthy foods at school. Take out the vending machines, and serve local veggies. Move the fryers, and bake chicken and other foods. Parents are responsible for their children and their children's eating habits; however, a school should STEP IN only when necessary and should NEVER assume the role of "parent."

    April 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bob

      Parents are responsible? No, they are irresponsible. Most parents have TV. TV is one of the most destructive things you can do to a child – besides spanking and letting them cry it out at night. So, don't give me this garbage that parents are responsible. If you really cared about kids you would be working to ban TV

      April 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
      • Ben

        are you serious? ban TV. How is TV destructive. have you ever heard of learning shows or the news. without TV we would lose a massive media outlet our economy would drop fast than paris hilton to her knees. besides without TV it would become a lot easier for the government to control our media.

        January 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm |
  20. Just Relieved

    All I have to say as much of a pain in the butt it is, I'm relieved that my son has celiac, and that he can bring his own lunch to school. I don't know about my daughter though. I would support it if it wasn't the fast food, nutrient deficient crap they served in the picture.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  21. Cathy

    One thing to remember is that the federal hot lunch program is run by the Department of Agriculture, and while many individual schools or school systems are making giant strides in serving healthy food, Dof A policies are always going to feature subsidized commodities such as corn products, mass-produced dairy, and giant feeding operation meats. Any school that will not permit any parents to feed their children healthier, or more culturally familiar foods, or accomodate vegetarian or vegan diets, etc. is the epitomy of the nanny state. Instead of such draconian measures, maybe they could find a way to make healthy snacks like veggies or fruit available to all students, maybe at non-lunch times, to bolster the nutrition of kids whose parents can't or won't give them healthy meals. Having said that, I have absolutely no problem with our schools OR government trying to educate kids or adults in healthy living, as long as profit and politics are not involved.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • capechik

      "Trying to educate" is completely different from mandating. I have no problem with trying to educate either, but have a major problem with mandating. And prefer the trying to educate part be kept very general because what's healthful to one person is not necessarily to another. You listed a group of diets that should be respected. Should a lo-carb, hi-protein diet be on the list, too? Will the food monitors treat it with the same moral equivalence of a vegan diet? Politics and ideology have a way of inserting themselves whether we want them to or not, which is why value-laden life guidance should be kept out of public schools who have enough to do focusing on academics.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  22. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    I sympathize with the students. I have been out of elementary school for over 50 years and still remember how lousy the food was.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  23. jenzopks

    When a child brings inappropraite things to school, it is the school's right to remove it from the chid's possession. We do this with cell phones, toys, etc. Simply make a list of inappropriate foods, publish it, and follow it to the letter. #1 on the list should be soft drinks that are high in sugar and caffene. #2 on the list should be candy and foods excessively high in fat and sugar. These consumables inhibit a child's ability to learn, and have no place in a school setting.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • KQ

      I agree. Start small with items that most people can agree are detrimental.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • capechik

      It is the school's right only to the extent that the forbidden item is or could be dangerous, is illegal, or is excessively disruptive to the classroom setting. It's also the school's right to limit what it sells. But when you extend the notion of "dangerous" to something that could harm any aspect of long-term physical or emotional health or learning, you quickly cross the line into infringing upon individual liberties. What happens if I don't agree with your list? What happens if I think it's perfectly fine for my kid to have fruit for dessert on some days and cookies on others? I'm not allowed the authority to make that decision because someone else disagrees? Are you KIDDING me??

      @KQ: What does "start small" mean–what happens after the "start?" What is the longer-term agenda? This is the problem with the big government nanny state. There's always a hidden larger agenda behind what is presented as just a simple thing we can all agree upon. It's a foot in the door to something we do NOT all agree upon.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  24. Fawn

    Let's not forget the children that don't have a medical "food" issue – but do have sensory issues. My son wouldn't be able to eat half of that crap. He has oral sensory issues. He'd be just as likely to throw that stuff up all over everyone as to swallow any of it.

    My child knows what his body needs on a daily basis. Some days it means packing extra fruit, sometimes something a little more salty.

    They're called GUIDELINES for a reason. You can't use a cookie-cutter meal and expect everyone to be able to survive on it.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm |

    I think that if this isallowed then others may say "Let's make the parents eat healthier too. We will ban unhealthy food in our neighborhood markets." Where does the control of personal tastes end? My family chooses to eat what they feel appropriate for them. Sometimes it is not the healthiest, but for the most part the choices are very healthy. If you tell a child they cannot have something (the same for the parents) then it becomes a mission to find a way to have it. Lazy parents and teachers let someone else make choices for them rather than teaching kids about nutrition.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  26. kdf

    OK, so I do and do not dissagree with this. I completely agree that students should be required to eat the schools lunches with the exception of medical or alergies. BUT, only if the school provides a prepared that day, fresh, natural, homemade meal. It comes back to what Jamie Oliver is trying to do and comend him for this. If a school can provide a healthy all natural meal daily, then yes, kids should not be able to bring their lunches. I have seen what parents send their kids in with the eat... lunchables, chips, cookies, fruit snacks... never a veggie, never a fresh fruit and never a healthy protein.
    If the school can not provide nutrition, fresh and healthy, then what does it really matter.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • small dog trucking at myspacedotcom

      they cant seem to provide a education either, yet they keep their jobs........

      April 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
      • kdf

        People need to stop complaining about "bad teachers". YES... there are bad teachers, just as their are bad doctors and drivers and engineer... get over it. There are also some GREAT teachers out there. You have two options to get around this though, either be a very involved parent and go to the PTA meetings, meet with your kids teachers, participat in the school activities and work with your kids on their school assignments... or home school.

        April 14, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • capechik

      Parents sending in Lunchables is so offensive that they should lose the right to determine what their children eat? How about teachers drinking sugared coffees and eating donuts or muffins? Why stop with the kids? Why not ban all outside food and make the teachers eat school lunch, too?

      April 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
      • kdf

        I would agree with this! If a school can provide that pyramid of nutrition that they post everywhere of fresh, nutrious food, then yes, require the staff to eat it too. Personally, I would never serve anyone anything I would not eat myself, and most of the crap these kids get right now is just that... crap and I would not eat it.

        April 14, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  27. capechik

    I don't give a cat's meow if what I send in for lunch is or is not nutritionally more or less valuable than what the government determines children should eat. If I want to send PB&J on Wonder Bread with a juice box, a Fruit Roll-up and Oreos, that's MY business. It's not just my choice when I "behave" according to government standards; it's my choice ALWAYS. They are MY children, and it is 100% MY decision as a parent what my child will eat. Period. Any interference in my parental authority, short of feeding my kids rat poison, is absolutely no business of the government, or any of its agents (like the public schools), or any of the rest of society whatsoever. I have ZERO problem with a bag of chips, and, in fact a bag of Lay's regular chips is substantially less processed (look at the ingredient list) and contains much less sugar than a "healthy" chewy Granola bar that our schools hand out.

    In practice, I have kids who are competitive swimmers and require substantially more carbs than the average bear due to the number of calories they burn daily, as well as one with a growth problem who not only needs whole milk, but needs high-calorie instant breakfast mixes added to it, as well as one with a gluten intolerance, and twins who, between them are Epi-pen allergic to strawberries, peanuts, honey, and milk protein. Your "healthy" wheat-based crackers are poison to my children; potato chips or rice cakes are not. You say there are medical exceptions allowed? I say I should not have to explain myself to hope that some school official will approve my exception. Nor should I need my doctor to sign off so that a medical opinion is taken by the school but a parental one is not. These individual differences should not in ANY way be managed, or judged, or evaluated by the government or the school. They belong to the parents in their entirety.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • kdf

      um, did you not get the "unless due to medical or allergy issues"?

      April 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
      • capechik

        Umm, did you not get that I addressed that directly in my post? It's not enough to me to make exceptions for allergies or medical issues. An exception still means that you're allowing someone else to determine whether or not parents can make their own decisions for their kids, or requires doctors to tell the school what children can eat instead of parents telling the school. I believe that parents should retain their authority to feed their kids whatever the heck they want. It is about who makes the decision. What right does the government or the school have to monitor food selections and determine whether or not they find them acceptable? Because my choices might not be choices you would make, you don't get to ban me from making my own decisions.

        Schools have the right to dictate what they sell and what is on their menus, but they have no right whatsoever to dictate what choices parents make.

        April 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • Arturo Loayza

        Because all of us taxpayers share the financial burden of unhealthy, obese, and sick adults that children who do not get a nutritious diet when they are older and did not learn how to eat for their parents let them eat "whatever the health they want".

        April 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  28. Ragster432

    For all you people who willingly desire to have government decide what you or our children eat. You must be completely uneducated. A simple willingness to see the problems in government, the constant reversals of what is considered nutritious, and politicians bent on only controlling others should be a huge warning cry and should cause great alarm that any school would suggest that home lunches be prohibited is an outrage. If my childrens schools did this, I would consider it an act of war of government against its own people. Truly, government has far greater things to worry about than what I eat.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  29. Angie

    I think it is an excellent idea, however, looking at the pictured lunch they show...this is not a nutritious, nor a balanced lunch. If the lunches they are going to provide the kids are well-balanced with fiber, protein, sodium, sugar and fat then it is a good idea. The lunch above does have protein in the chicken, but the fact that it is fried adds fat to the meal. The corn is a starchy vegetable that doesn't have any real nutritional value, and the biscuit is processed carbohydrates instead of whole grain healthy carbs. I would want to see a sample menu of what my child would be eating, if I was not happy I would like the schools to offer a chance for parents to fill out a waiver of some sort outlining the nutrition of the lunches they would pack for their child and if the guidelines in the waiver were not adhered to then there should be some sort of financial penalty on the parent or revocation of the waiver.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  30. Lea

    Lovely. I'm sorry, but when lunch costs $2.55 a day and you have two kids... Who wouldn't want to pack lunches? I can pack a nutritious lunch with a treat like pudding, cookies or whatever for dessert – for less than $1.50 each. And then there is breakfast – which can be another $2 a day. I insist the kids eat before they leave home, and don't put much money in their accounts – they do get a little for every now and then.

    And for the record, my average spending on my own lunch is about $1.00-$1.50.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  31. Jack

    Children should be allowed to bring their own lunches. Parents who pack sodas and chips for lunch should be prosecuted for child abuse and sentenced to parenting classes.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • small dog trucking at myspacedotcom

      at least they are eating, too much of anything is a bad idea, a once a day candy bar and soda wont do any harm.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
      • Jerv

        "a once a day candy bar and soda wont do any harm." You're kidding, right?

        April 13, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
  32. Rachael

    Sounds like the current government take on health care. Required to buy a third party (catered) product at more than most families can afford. I can pack my three girls lunches at home with healthy foods for less than it costs for one of their lunches. The lunch I eat most often (also healthy) can be added to the cost of their lunches and only go over the price of one of their lunches by about $.30. Our lunches include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. If they want to make rules about no soda or candy on campus, go ahead...that doesn't affect people's pocket books. But requiring families to burden themselves further financially to buy a product from a for-profit catering business is ridiculous. Why doesn't the school district use a small amount of funds to bring in a professional frugal nutritionist to teach families how to pack a healthy lunch on a dime. – Just a note for those who think I am just here to complain – I have been in desperate straits before and have not been able to give my family much more than peanut butter sandwiches for months, I have gone hungry so they wouldn't have to, yet my income was not considered in the poverty level and I didn't get public assistance or reduced priced lunches. It would have meant a decision between a place to live or catered school lunches. You are sending a very bad message to the children under your care if you require that they go 7-8 hours without food, because their parents may need to make rent or other financial needs. They very ones you are supposedly trying to protect are the ones you will be hurting the most. I am very glad I do not live in that school district. By the way, how many of those green and orange vegetables do you think are eaten versus being scraped in the trash receptacle. It is better to offer choices than to dictate. That's all I'm saying.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  33. Muh27

    I could definitely see a private school mandating "no outside food or drink" as policy (similar to school uniforms), but a public school? I wonder if the rest of the schools in the district have their lunches catered. What makes this school special?

    April 13, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  34. Willa

    Many years ago, I was a public school (latchkey) kid. My parent's worked full time and couldn't get involved with school except to sign my report card and attend school plays. I had excellent teachers who taught well and we learned. Enough to go to college and to graduate with honors.

    Many teachers today need parents'help because they can't do the job by themselves. They get the paren'ts involved in every class project, activity, class parent etc. etc., and have the collossal nerve to blame the parent when the child doesn't learn.
    Now they want the right to dictate where the kids eat?

    Well here's a novel idea.....

    Quit meddling in poeople's personal lives. Why not let parents feed their kids which is after all, the parent's responsibility. Why not have the teachers teach our kids, which is the teacher's responsibility. Educators....Spend all that energy figuring out why our kids aren't learning. That's what school taxes are for!

    April 13, 2011 at 11:17 am |
  35. Julia

    I was in high about 6 years ago and I remember the lunches were DISGUSTING. Pizza and fries everyday; if not pizza, then a breaded, processed chicken patty on a white flour bun. I never saw anyone eat any kind of vegetables from the school cafeteria (not that it would matter, they cook all the nutrients out). And I went to an excellent high school in a wealthy area (not sure that even makes a difference though). Even if they offered healthier choices (which they didn't really), no one would buy them anyway. I opted to take classes during my lunch period my junior and senior years and ate a small snack in between classes (though looking back, it probably wasn't the best decision).

    Also, it's funny that people mention that school food is like prison food. In reality, school food literally IS prison food. Aramark, Sysco – these names that are branded on the packages of school lunch foods are literally the same companies that supply prisons across the nation.

    It's REALLY laughable that school officials would purport that school lunches as they stand are remotely healthy. Absolutely inane. If school lunches are healthy, then I have absolutely no idea what healthy is.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  36. Mike

    Can we please, PLEASE stop using schools to fight our political ideological battles? Yes, playing "food cop" over other people is an ideological-bs battle.

    I want my kids to receive an eduction, not an indoctrination. And frankly, I don't even care if I happen to agree with whatever notion they're currently pushing. Last I checked, people still have rights. That happens to include the right to make decisions which even a strong majority happens to disagree with as long as you cause no harm (real harm, not imagined BS) to others. If we don't start sticking up for the rights of others (ESPECIALLY when we disagree with them), it's just a matter of time before we lose our own.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  37. garfield

    The schools need to run the schools not the families. Parents are the ones responsible for their kids. Since they want to control what they eat then, they should also provide the medical care and any other expenses to raise the children.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  38. rafi

    Is no one else disturbed by the fact that 86% of the kids in this district qualify for free or reduced lunch?!

    April 13, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • small dog trucking at myspacedotcom

      its probly higher than that in others with today's economy.

      April 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  39. enforcer

    lunch policy for the kids or because a relative works at Chartwells-Thompson ??????

    April 13, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  40. Alicia

    I don't have a problem with a school saying they have to eat school long as the school pays for it. I pack my son's lunch because he gets more food that he needs to grow, and more food he will eat. What is the use of giving them a lunch tray full of food they wont eat when you can pack them a healthy lunch they will.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Joe

      Where is the school getting the money? Oh that's right you the tax payer. SO if they are covering the costs and you are making lunch for your kid you are paying twice.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
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