Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Should Buying A School Lunch Be Mandated?

As a picky eater, I have packed my lunch everyday for the last 13 years of my schooling. If I was told that I would no longer be allowed to bring my own lunch from home, I would be furious. Well according to CNN this is actually happening in a school in Chicago.

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.

I feel this is an injustice, especially at the Little Village Academy. How can a school deny a student a lunch from home? What if the child is a picky eater, like myself, and does not like what the school is serving that day; the school actually expects that child to go a day without food even though they brought something from home?

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.

While I agree the nutrition of school lunches needs to be increased, a school can not ban packed lunches. A child needs to eat and if that means bringing a lunch from home then that's the food that child should be allowed to eat. The mere idea to ban packed lunches just seems way too extreme to me.

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