No doubt you read about the preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford, N.C who had her lunch diverted because it did not comply with the USDA guidelines for pre-kindergarten programs and in-home day-care centers. The little girl's brown bag lunch included a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice. That's not exactly a nutritional train wreck from my point of view. So, the little girl was instead presented with a lunch of chicken nuggets from the cafeteria and mom got a bill for $1.25.
From the original story
Sara Burrows from the Carolina Journal reported:
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
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.
The Plot Thickens
So I'm trying to imagine; do they have all the little children line up, lunch bags or boxes in out stretched hands while the contents are inspected? Evidently not but the story as to what really happened continues to unfold. Left wing blogs are saying it was all but fabricated, giving themselves credit for investigating the story further. Some of the right wing bloggers are running amok in the other direction. Clearly the story brings up a touchy subject. How much government intervention in our lives is helpful (nutritional guidelines) and how much is intrusion (overriding parents decisions for their children).
The Facts And Things To Ponder
If the thought of state or federal agencies taking over your child's life, one bite at a time raises your ire, then you really should read more about what is going on in our school systems under the guise of making sure our children don't get fat (that is what this is supposed to be all about, reducing the obesity rate).
- Read the original story from the Carolina Journal as it was first reported
- Read the story from the Carolina Journal re-explaining the story.
- Read the statement of findings from the State of NC Division of Child Development and Early Education which explains that inspections do no take place which seems to contradict every account of the original article.
- A post from February 23, 2012 - North Carolina Deletes Exceptions from parents to school lunch rules
The Plan To Track What Your Child Eats
Depending on your point of view; there are a number of scary programs to track what your child eats at school. Here are some articles you should read to learn more.
ID Cards and Pin Numbers - Iowa School
Federally Funded Cameras
Banning Home Prepared Lunches in Chicago
Model School Policies