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Chicago School Bans Kids From Bringing In Lunches From Home! What??

Tue, April 12, 2011 12:44pm EDT by 2 Comments

iStockThe school is trying to encourage healthy eating and does not want students bringing in certain lunches and snacks from home.

At Little Village Academy, a public school in Chicago’s West Side, students are not allowed to enjoy the lunches their parents prepare for them at home. Instead, unless they have a legitimate medical excuse, the children must eat the food served in the cafeteria in order to protect them from their family’s unhealthy meal choices. What? This is absurd!

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Prinicpal Elsa Carmona tells the Chicago Tribune. “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.”

Principal Carmona has been practicing this school lunch policy for the past six years, saying that students used to bring “bottles of soda and flaming hot chips,” on field trips rather than choosing healthier options.

But, it sounds like the children are not willing to eat the food the Little Village Academy cafeteria serves, throwing most of it out and saying it tastes bad. So why force them to eat something they don’t like? It’s better if they eat than not eat at all!

“(My grandson) is really picky about what he eats,” says guardian Anna Torrez. “I think they should be able to bring their lunch. Other schools let them. But at this school, they don’t.”

But another parent, Miguel Medina says the “no home lunch policy” is a good one: “The school food is very healthy,” he said, “and when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food.”

And although he may have a point, we cannot forget that these school lunches cost money, around $2.25 a day without reduced-price meals. Not every family can afford that every day.

“We don’t spend anywhere close to that on my son’s daily intake of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk,” education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach wrote in an email to the Chicago Tribune. (Her son attends Nettelhorst Elementary School in Lakeview).

“Not only would mandatory school lunches worsen the dietary quality of most kids’ lunches at Nettelhorst, but it would also cost more out of pocket to most parents! There is no chance the parents would stand for that.”

So HollyMoms and Dads, what’s your take on this school lunch issue? Would you go for the “no home lunch” policy?

–Leigh Blickley

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