Protecting Us from Ourselves

It sure is nice to see the nanny state at work:

Students who attend Chicago’s Little Village Academy public school get nothing but nutritional tough love during their lunch period each day. The students can either eat the cafeteria food–or go hungry. Only students with allergies are allowed to bring a homemade lunch to school, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” principal Elsa Carmona told the paper of the years-old policy. “It’s about … the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke.”

But students said they would rather bring their own lunch to school in the time-honored tradition of the brown paper bag. “They’re afraid that we’ll all bring in greasy food instead of healthy food and it won’t be as good as what they give us at school,” student Yesenia Gutierrez told the paper. “It’s really lame.”

Having eaten my share of school lunches, I can say with a high degree of certainty that there is no way that any lunch students bring from home is worse than the garbage schools pass off as food. Yes, it’s possible that parents send highly processed junk food with their children. But how is that different than the highly processed non-food that schools serve?
There is plenty of junk food available at every grocery store, so parents can still make sure that their children eat plenty of non-nutritious garbage at lunch, if they so desire. Of course, going this route is more economical than buying a school lunch, for it provides children with the same empty calories, just at lower prices. That’s probably why home lunches were banned: the school’s food supplier wanted a monopoly in order to make more money.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that some parents actually sent nutritious lunches with their children. If that’s the case, the school is actively working to destroy kids’ health.
And so we see how the government works: it creates a lose-lose situation for parents, for now parents must subject their children to higher-priced, less-nutritious lunches. All in order to ensure that someone can make a little extra money. Ain’t it grand?
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