Since most of my early school years were spent in foreign countries where there were no government-subsidized meals, taking my lunch to school was something my siblings and I did as a matter of course. Almost invariably, the contents consisted of a sandwich, some fruit, a thermos of milk or chocolate milk, and a small treat.
Now, thanks to Nanny-staters in Chicago, the venerable brown-bag lunch may become a thing of the past; the latest victim of a drive to place virtually every aspect of growing up, in the hands of government officials who claim a monopoly on knowing what’s best for children.
While certainly many parents are not particularly good parents, and often make mistakes in teaching children appropriate life lessons and good habits, to conclude from that truism that such decision-making is better in the hands of government employees, is an even worse decision.
Schools, of course, have long been a refuge for nanny-staters at all levels of government. Our current First Lady, Michelle Obama, is following in this tradition by leading a crusade against obesity; what she calls a “public health crisis.” Granted, there are too many fat people wandering our communities, businesses and schools; but does that justify government interference in people’s eating habits? Does that justify a school, such as Little Village Academy in Chicago, dictating that its students are prohibited from bringing their own, home-packed lunches to school?
Elsa Carmona, principal at Little Village Academy, has decided it is “better for the children to eat at the school.” Therefore, as any good, petty bureaucrat with a degree of power would do, she concludes it is necessary for her to “protect students from their own unhealthful food choices” and force them to eat only what she determines is best for them at the school cafeteria. (Incidentally, some of the food served in public school cafeterias that I’ve seen, is far from appealing; and of dubious healthfulness.)
A school board spokesperson, apparently of the same controlling mindset as Ms. Carmona, agrees; stating that Little Village Academy is merely “encouraging the healthier choices.” Such sophistry wrongly implies the students are given a choice in lunches and merely encouraged to go in the healthier direction. In fact, the kids have no choice. As the Chicago Tribune notes, the children either eat the lunches provided to them by the school, or they do not eat.
Perhaps the only good news in all this is that the students are learning at an early age they do not live in a free country any longer.
By Bob Barr – The Barr Code