Get your hands off my packed lunch!

Remember the days of school lunches that treated many of us so well during grade school? The school district which served up countless Sysco based lunches to my childhood peers had one particularly popular lunch item, the chicken fried steak. Chicken fried steak day, or Wednesday to everyone who wasn’t salivating over that extremely sad meal, was the most popular meal among my childhood peers. To those who didn’t like it, they could freely bring their lunch from home. This freedom however, is non-existent for some children who attend a certain public school in Chicago.

Little Village Academy, a school located on the west side of Chicago, has a policy that prohibits children from bringing a lunch from home. The policy is apparently designed to increase the nutrition of what school children are eating for lunch.

Principal Elsa Carmona said “her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices,” according to an article published in The Chicago Tribune written by Monica Eng and Joel Hood.

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. “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.”

According to the article, this policy isn’t all too unheard of. No other schools were mentioned in the article, but according to the principal of Little Village Academy, the practice was pretty common.

There are so many things wrong with this policy that it’s hard to figure out where to begin. No parent should have to follow a school policy that forces them to buy a lunch from the school cafeteria. The decision of what to feed a child is not the job of the state unless the parents are in some way incapable.

The nutrition of a child is something that should be left up to the parent, not the school or state. Polices like the one being used at Little Village Academy are nothing more than an overstretched use of state power disguised as a well-intentioned attempt to make kids healthier.

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