Someone alerted me to an article posted on the Drudge Report two days ago about a little girl who went to school and was told her home-made lunch was not up to snuff. The blogging (and possibly some of the reporting) seems a bit sensationalized, with many writers saying the little girl’s lunch was taken away. Perhaps this is because some of the articles said the little girl’s lunch was “replaced” with a school lunch.
If you read the articles, however, you will realize that no one took the lunch away from the 4-year child involved in the story. That doesn’t really fix the issue, though.
This is what appears to have happened: The little girl went to school with a bag lunch containing a turkey and cheese sandwich, potato chips, apple juice, and a banana. A state employee told the 4-year-old that her lunch did not meet USDA requirements and needed to be supplemented. The little girl was, apparently, told to get in line and get a milk. Instead, she got an entire lunch from the school cafeteria, complete with chicken nuggets. She ate a few nuggets and left everything else untouched, home lunch included.
I brought my lunch to school everyday in elementary school (starting with first grade since kindergarten was a half-day thing when I was that age). At age 7, I would have most likely felt so stressed if someone told me my lunch wasn’t healthy enough that I wouldn’t have eaten anything. I might even have broke down crying. This poor 4-year-old (keep in mind that’s three years younger than 7) was probably told, who knows how clearly, that her lunch needed to be supplemented with milk to meet USDA standards, but because she is 4 years old, all she heard was that her lunch that her mom packed wasn’t good enough. When told to get in line for milk, she thought they meant she needed to get an entire school lunch.
State officials can defend themselves all they want by saying they never took away the little girl’s lunch, but it hardly matters. They stressed a 4-year-old out by telling her that her lunch wasn’t good enough. How is it even there place to be checking up on her lunches? Not to mention, who wrote a law to say that lunches must have milk, not just a serving of dairy? The little girl did have dairy. It’s called cheese.
Notice how after screwing with the kid’s head, no one tried to make sure she actually ate anything? As long as what’s on your plate has all the required food groups, it doesn’t matter if you’re anorexic.
Who thought it was okay to mandate that children’s lunches brought from home must meet USDA standards? I understand saying school lunches must meet certain standards, but home lunches shouldn’t be covered by that law. Parents have the freedom to choose what they feed their children. That could mean parents choose to feed their children a vegetarian diet. Would a 4-year-old have the presence of mind required to tell an official, “No, I don’t eat meat,” when they noticed their home lunch lacked a “meat portion?”
“The USDA suggests meals should contain one meat portion, one serving of milk, one serving of grains and two portions of fruit or vegetables.”
Stay out of our children’s lunchboxes.