School forces preschooler to order cafeteria lunch because mom’s isn’t healthy enough

posted at 7:10 pm on February 14, 2012 by Allahpundit

The “nanny state tramples on parental prerogatives over kids’ diets” stories are irresistible blog fodder, arguably even tastier than the legendary “dubious taser use by police” viral vids. Remember last year when a Chicago school flatly forbade kids from bringing in homepacked lunches? A school in North Carolina has a different approach: You can bring the lunch mom packed for you, but if it doesn’t meet the USDA guidelines, you’ll be marched to the cafeteria to eat a “healthy” lunch instead — and mom will be billed for the extra expense.

The punchline? Mom’s lunch actually did meet the guidelines in this case.

The girl’s mother — who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation — said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25…

“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”

When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.

“She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her,” her mother said. “You’re telling a 4-year-old. ‘oh. you’re lunch isn’t right,’ and she’s thinking there’s something wrong with her food.”

Watch the Fox News clip below to see how the mother’s lunch measured up to the USDA guidelines. Ready for another punchline? When the school forces a “healthy” lunch on a kid, it doesn’t take away the lunch that mom packed. The child could, if he/she is hungry enough, presumably eat both, which is an … interesting strategy for reducing child obesity. And of course, the final punchline: The little girl in this case still didn’t end up eating any vegetables despite having two lunches in front of her, which, of course, is why mom didn’t bother packing any veggies in the first place. So we end up not only with a bunch of wasted food but with a kid who didn’t get the basic nutrition that her mother’s own meal would have provided her. Perfecto.

Said the girl’s grandmother, “This isn’t China, is it?” The Civitas Institute notes that this is a nationwide practice based on federal guidelines, but I’m as surprised to learn that as the “shocked” North Carolina state rep whom they contacted for comment. Question for our readers with kids in public schools: Has your child ever been hassled before over the lunch you’ve packed for them? I assume these guidelines are very loosely enforced, precisely because parents get angry when the state starts micromanaging their kids’ diets.

If we went ahead and banned Happy Meals and pulled potatoes out of school cafeterias and regulated sugar like it’s cocaine or something we might not have these problems, you know. Two clips here, one from Fox and the other via Breitbart TV of a school official in Michigan reminding parents that they do not, in fact, know best.

Update: I replaced the Michigan video with a version from the MRC.

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SirGawain on February 15, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Hide ‘yo chips
Hide ‘Yo snacks
WE looking for you
WE ‘gonna find you
WE ‘gonna find you
Parents you are really dumb
Really, Really dumb…
The government can parent
better than you…
Run and tell that, run and tell that

The new Nanny State Theme song…

mcplumbercuda on February 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good
of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live
under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good
will torment us without end for they do so with the approval
of their own conscience.” -C.S. Lewis

Mind your own business

dmn1972 on February 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Want to see what your kids are eating for lunch at school today?

Wallythedog on February 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

The bottom line on public schools dictating what kids should eat is MONEY. In Chicago they want the money for lunches… can’t afford it? Well the taxpayer will pick up the tab. In our school district they give free lunches all through the SUMMER. They hang signs all over encouraging people to come in for a meal. Then they can show how “necessary” these lunches are and keep raking in the taxpayer cash.

My kids are in Catholic school so the lunch menus are very independent. You order them if you want them. If not, the school trusts that parents know how to pack a healthy lunch. I’ve never been “policed.” I also volunteer once a week in the school cafeteria. The lunches have to be quick, able to serve 200+ students and nutritious. Sure, there’s popcorn chicken and pizza in there but, there are also chicken wraps and chicken teriayki with rice. Students are required to go through through the salad bar after getting their entree, which, in my opinion, rivals the best restaurant salad bar. They have a huge selection of choices, and the kids love it. They pile on the fruits and veggies because it’s their choice what to take.

The school has also not ever cut PE or recess. And when you take a really close look at the kids, you see that there are very few overweight kids and not one “obese” child.

Giving kids healthy options – and allowing for exercise – it is a simple formula. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

kmid219 on February 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

So your assertion is that all parents have the same successes and failures and 100% identical experiences with child rearing? Anoyone who disagrees with you obviously cannot have possibly reproduced or managed to raise a child differently?

A bit naive, or egotistical.

My hypothetical child (becuase they obviously can’t really exist if they go against your experiences) has food allergies that result in ADHD-type reactions. For her own sake, we educate her on what foods are “good” for her and which are not.

In your reality, she refuses to eat any of it, we slump our shoulders in defeat and go have McDonalds nuggest instead.

In my odd fantasy world, she has learned what foods are ok for her, and eats accordingly. Sure somedays she longs for dairy. Somedays she pouts for candy, but as her loving parents we say no and give her healthy alternatives.

Beyond just eating, in my made-up world, children tend to rise to your level of expectations, if you are firm and consistent with those expectations.

Now tell me I’m not a real parent so you can feel better about your choices.

WhaleBellied on February 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

People really like to put words in others’ mouths. The lengths people will go to for a straw man.

Dante on February 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

He is also brain damaged because of poor nutrition.

Voter from WA State on February 14, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Prove it.

Conservative4Ever on February 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM

I have 4 kids in very good public schools (not perfect, but the problems are ones I can live with), and none of them will touch the cafeteria food. I’ve seen it, I wouldn’t touch it either. So every day I pack 4 different lunches based on what my kids like and will eat. Apart from how disgusting the cafeteria food is, the kids only have 30 minutes for lunch, and standing in line to get the cafeteria lunch takes 20 minutes, so then they have to scarf down their food … also not healthy in my opinion, one of my kids has reflux and will vomit if he eats too fast. My kids get to eat reasonably healthy food at their own pace, and are usually done before the kids in line get to even sit down.

What the school did in this story would mean my kids get pulled out of the school unless it’s fixed immediately. I’m also very involved in my kids’ schools so I can monitor what’s going on, and so I have a voice if there is a problem.

On another note, our school district does have those stupid summer meals, and there is not even an effort to limit them to needy families. I can well afford to feed my children, and we don’t qualify for free or reduced lunches, but if I wanted to I could get them free school meals all summer long. I would never do it though, even if the food were great.

toby11 on February 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

People really like to put words in others’ mouths. The lengths people will go to for a straw man.

Dante on February 15, 2012 at 11:56 AM

What straw man? what am I stating that is false?

You said

There’s a reason chicken nuggets and fries are on every kids’ menu at restaurants: kids love them and they’ll eat them. You can do everything in your power to avoid those foods, but it will be to no avail. When chicken nuggets and/or fries placates a toddler at a restaurant, you will embrace it.
It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING with parents unable or unwilling to give their kids a proper diet.
Dante on February 14, 2012 at 9:31 PM

When someone tried to make the point that you can feed your children better than nuggets and fried to placate them, your rebuttal was

Spoken by someone who doesn’t have any kids.
Dante on February 14, 2012 at 9:54 PM

which led me to my response, based on my assertion from YOUR WORDS, that your only defense to disagreement to parents all just placating and accepting nuggets is to claim any dissenters were not really parents.

Now please educate me where I’m wrong.

WhaleBellied on February 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM

The bottom line on public schools dictating what kids should eat is MONEY.

kmid219 on February 15, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Well… that and gaining total control over the future generation.

They don’t want parents to have any say, and eventually even an abortion will be between the underaged girl and her doctor school counselor gov handler. Parents will not be allowed to know or interfere.

RalphyBoy on February 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Americans have been totally neutered that they put up with this nanny-state crap.

Get some intestinal fortitude and tell these Left wing lunatics to shove it.

Home-school your children and starve Obama’s brown-shirt educators!

Sparky5253 on February 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

Now please educate me where I’m wrong.
WhaleBellied on February 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Each keystroke…

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Rush: “Shut up and eat your nuggets.”

OkieDoc on February 15, 2012 at 2:47 PM

On a related topic: I live in CA and last spring my daughter went on an overnight campout with her school class. We were told that she would have to have a doctor’s permission slip to bring…get this…sunscreen.

I’ve noticed in CA the schools are requiring a doctor’s permission for more and more stuff. WTH? Are doctors now enlisted as the enforcers of the nanny state?

Galadriel on February 15, 2012 at 9:53 AM

yet they can get free birth control pills from the nurses office without your permissions

cptacek on February 15, 2012 at 2:56 PM

After my diagnosis of diabetes, the diabetes association literature I was handed at the doctor’s office and pharmacy said I was to eat a 50-55% carbohydrate diet.

I said to hell with you in my mind. I was mad, frankly.

Both the doctor and the pharmacy’s “certified diabetes educator” said I should be open to needing insulin and other drugs other than metformin down the road.

I let her have it. Unlike her, I knew what I was talking about, including with reference to studies.

So I cut back carbs, increased fat, and my blood sugars were beginning to be under control two days later … and all my diabetes symptoms, quite classic ones, disappeared within two days and have never returned.

The American Diabetes’ Association’s own literature says low carb diets work better! Allegedly, they don’t think people can stay on them. Well of course they can’t, because they’re told they’re unhealthy and dangerous, which is nonsense (ask the Eskimos).

In reality, they get lobbied a lot by major food processors and drug companies. The insulin and other oral antibiotic drugs are needed in direct relationship to carbohydrates ingested by type-2 diabetics, so of course they’re not going to discourage eating them much.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank.

It turns out that if you have a broken metabolism that can’t handle sugar and starch … reducing sugar and starch helps.

Random on February 14, 2012 at 9:01 PM

My sister had gestational diabetes with her second child, and the “nutritionist” told her what she could eat…and it was more carbs than what she was eating before, and she wasn’t dieting at all! It was just her normal diet. She told her to stuff it.

cptacek on February 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Each keystroke…

Akzed on February 15, 2012 at 2:38 PM


I don’t remember pulling your string.

If that’s all you have to offer then please don’t.

WhaleBellied on February 15, 2012 at 3:24 PM

This is the food Nazis at work folks…elections don’t have consequences…electing progressives has consequences. I’m giving 10 to 1 that the kid’s mom votes for liberals.

cajunpatriot on February 15, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Wow. Nothing like setting up straw men based on erroneous assumptions, but I guess you feel the need to feel superior so you craft falsehoods.

Dante on February 15, 2012 at 8:21 AM

His argument was rational, logical, on topic, and addressed everyone one of your points specifically and clearly…

So what’s “strawman” clearly not his argument?

So what was it?

Was that some odd racist attack on his kids?

They prefer Phylum-Challenged. Sure Kingdom-Challenged would be more accurate, but it sounds too fantasy/SciFi to work. Straw-Americans might work in a pinch, but it sounds contrived.

And it’s still not his fault you’re unwilling to set limits, boundaries, or work at being a parent; regardless what you think of his kids.

gekkobear on February 15, 2012 at 6:45 PM

If I was the mother, I wouldn’t be trying to prove to the officials that my daughter’s lunch was healthy. I would be telling them it’s none of their business what she puts in her daughter’s lunch.

theaddora on February 15, 2012 at 8:16 PM