Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The food Nazis are coming

Okay, this is pretty wild and creepy, and I have little more profound than that to say about it.

Public schools now have official Lunch Inspectors. The Lunch Inspector evidently goes around peeking into kids' lunch boxes. If he (or, I wouldn't be surprised, she) decides the lunch isn't "healthy" enough, the child is forced not to eat it, is given a "replacement lunch" instead, and the parents are charged a fee (in this case, $1.25) for the "replacement lunch."

Say, what???

In the story, this meant that a perfectly good turkey sandwich was probably wasted, because it would have sat in the child's lunchbox all day long and then been sent home. Nobody is likely to want to eat it at that point.

The Orwellian nature of this is scary. A turkey sandwich, banana, and apple juice? I'm going to scream. Big Brother is watching your child's turkey sandwich. Oh, I know, maybe the Inspector sniffed the sandwich and decided it wasn't lean, or was honey roasted, or something "unhealthy" like that.

I can sort of understand if Johnny comes to school every day with nothing but cookies for lunch, you pull aside Johnny's mom and have a confab. In an extreme case like that, some gentle discussion would be in order.

But it's beyond that: They have a set of USDA guidelines, detailed, that every lunch must satisfy before the child will be allowed to eat it. This is positively Germanic. Everyone's lunch standardized.

And aren't liberals the ones who are supposed to be concerned about The Poor? So, here they wasted these people's food and added insult to injury (or perhaps injury to insult) by charging them $1.25 they weren't expecting to have to spend. I can tell you one thing: When I was a kid my mother would have had an absolute fit. You Do Not Waste Food. Money Doesn't Grow on Trees. And other bits of working-class wisdom for which these liberal Nanny-Nazis apparently have no time.

Just take your kid out of the public schools. Do it now. Aside from the zillions of other things that could be said on that subject, think of the way this is teaching them to accept totalitarian busybody oversight of every move they make and every bite they take. Setting them up to be good little citizens of the All-Seeing, All-knowing, All-controlling state. Brrrr. What happened to America?


Tony said...

I guess this is the follow-up to the story last year about a 1st grade class that was told not to do peanuts - including peanut butter - in lunches or snacks anymore because one of the kids was allergic. I would have deliberately chosen to disobey that rule every single day, and forced the issue. I would have pointed out to the school that the SCHOOL's reasonable accommodation to a kid that has an allergy does not impose a fairly significant restraint on 25 other families, who are not under the school's authority. I would have (after being hauled in court for sending my kid to school with PB&J 12 times in a row - JUST LIKE I HAD in school) then started sending the kid to school with almond butter sandwiches, and let the durn authorities sweat bricks while they had a lab test the stuff at great expense. Oh, did I mention the picket lines out front, with an invitation to the peanut workers' union?

For this case, I would fight with some different tactics. Have the kid (visibly) eat lunch before getting to the lunch room, or before the lunch period. When the kid is given a school replacement lunch, have her (visibly) take it to the nearest trash can and dump it, and (loudly) declare "I'm not supposed to eat food given to me by strangers." Then pull a twinkie out of a pocket and stuff it in the mouth. I would show up at the lunch room and hand the kid my own replacement lunch - ice cream and cookies.

The funny thing is that most people who know me think that I am a "toe-the-line", be quiet and just don't sweat the small stuff sort of a guy. Problem is that culture is made up of 10,000 bits of small stuff, and you cannot hand on your culture without handing on those 10,000 bits of small stuff, which means paying attention to it.

Lydia McGrew said...

There are follow-ups coming in fast and furious to this that are meant to tell us, "Move along folks, nothing to see here."

These amount to things like

--The mother received a note saying she _could_ be charged the $1.25, but the school didn't actually make her pay it. I feel so much better.

--The "food inspector" was from some higher-up department (I believe the state) rather than being a school employee and isn't there every week but only does occasional checks. I feel so much better.

--Contrary to what this 4-year-old child inferred from being told that her lunch wasn't sufficiently "healthy" and that she was being given a "replacement lunch," she _would_ have been allowed to eat the lunch she instead brought home. The cafeteria replacement (threatened cost, $1.25) was meant to be "supplementary" for additional servings of things like fruit or whatever that her lunch didn't have. These nuances were lost on a 4-year-old. I feel so much better.

Actually, I don't feel better. It's still totally crazy.

I'd heard that about the peanut butter. Years ago I went to some event at a school (can't remember if it was a public school or Christian school). It had an officious sign on the door that said, "Nut-free zone." One of my daughters (I forget her age at the time, perhaps ten?) actually thought this was meant to reassure people about the sanity of the teachers. I had to break it to her: Educators don't have that much of a sense of humor.