Parents Can’t Pack Lunches in Obama’s Chicagoland

Posted on Tue 04/12/2011 by

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By Mike Brownfield

Hey kids, say goodbye to your lunch boxes! In one Chicago-area school, packing a lunch is now banned. Apparently, mother and father don’t know best. The school’s principal does … or at least she thinks so. The Chicago Tribune reports:

At … Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

“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.”

Carmona said she created the policy six years ago after watching students bring “bottles of soda and flaming hot chips” on field trips for their lunch. Although she would not name any other schools that employ such practices, she said it was fairly common.

When asked about the policy, a Chicago Public Schools spokesperson defended the principal’s actions. Apparently, district wide, the principals are giving plenty of latitude to substitute their judgment for the parents,’ both inside the school and out:

While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments,” Monique Bond wrote in an email. “In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.”

Never mind that the kids don’t like the food (the Tribune cites examples of parents and students complaining). The government is doing what it thinks is best when they know parents can’t parent, right? That same logic has led to a ban on Happy Meal toys in Santa Clara, Calif., a ban on trans fat in New York City,  a soda pop tax in Baltimore, Md., a whole host of “sin taxes” by Congress, and calorie counts on vending machines to scare us from snacking.

So where do individual responsibility, choice and liberty come in? They don’t. That’s one lesson kids will learn quickly in the nanny state.

Mike Brownfield oversees execution of The Heritage Foundation‘s social networking strategy and online media outreach as the think tank’s senior digital communications associate.

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