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April 12th, 2011
02:54 AM ET

Should your child be able to bring lunch to school?

Say goodbye to brown bag lunches. In an effort to encourage healthy eating, The Little Village Academy in Chicago has banned lunches and snacks brought from home. Unless a student has a medical reason, he or she must eat the food served in the school cafeteria. The principal says the intention is to “protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.” So far, reactions from students and parents have been mixed.

Tell us what you think about this controversial school policy. Should your child be able to bring lunch to school?

Filed under: Controversy • Education • Food
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. sandra sunley

    I wonder if America is turning from a democracy to a kingdom. Govt has been hyjacked by corporations. These for profit entities lie to us on a daily basis and attempt to control all aspects of our lives. Their agenda: take away our jobs, houses, healthcare, and education. Whats left? Poor, desperate, uneducated individuals full of fear, who make excellent slaves/drones for the upper class who sit on their money. Dont kid yourself. What does this have to do with school lunch? Just follow the money. The fake republicans want the older third of the population dead so they dont have to pay up what they owe them. They want to dismantle medicare and medicaid and give that money to the rich, ie themselves. Most of our senators and congressmen have been bought and sold, only a paltry few remain who may care about the American people. Can't bring your lunch to school?, why not?, who profits? I am 63 yr old retired nurse, have worked for 30 yrs, and I know that people in this country will end up fighting big money if they want to survive.

    April 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  2. Susan Parks

    Yes, a child should be able to bring a lunch from home.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  3. Beth

    The nutritional value of the meal is not the heart of this issue. This is AMERICA. When did we stop being the land of the free?

    April 13, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  4. donna

    if manaditory should be free for all to eat at school

    April 13, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  5. Nathalie

    It depends what they are serving! I personally care what my kids eat. And I dont want them eating crap processed food!! IF you are worried about obesity, it starts at HOME!! Not at school 1 meal is not going to teach them! Its the parents that have to be the example!

    April 13, 2011 at 1:05 am |
  6. Viols

    The school has no right under the constitution to mandate that children eat school lunches and forbid them bringing lunches. Parents should stand up and demand their right to raise their children. The principal may mean well, OR MAYBE he is looking for more government hand outs. One government program gives money to schools for EACH low income student who is enrolled in the free lunch program.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  7. MLS

    This is the most misdirected stroke of stupidity in ages. Not all parents can or choose to afford school lunch programs...which are notoriously loaded with "value-added" factory-prepared foods high in sodium, nitrates and trans-fats, and low in fresh produce...but many families observe cultural or religion-specific food avoidances. To mandate all students MUST partake of contracted-to-the-lowest-bidder food plans is destructive to student health and school community.

    Students MUST be able to bring meals from home appropriate to their culture, health, allergies or financial needs. To mandate a chicken-nugget-or-nothing lunch is ONLY going to drive students and families away from you. And well should they flee.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  8. Linda

    I would suggest that ALL the people of that area who do not agree with this communistic idea send their children to school with packed lunches and refuse to pay for school lunches. If we allow the government to control us in what we feed your children things will only get worse. It's bad enough that they are attacking McDonald's on the Happy Meals and I hope McD will put some of their millions of Happy Meal money towards campaigns against the very people who promote these terrible efforts at control over what we eat.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  9. fu9l

    just another way adults are abusing children seems child abuse is becomming the new thing in america cops in all schools taking kids to jail for misbehaving like kids do the adults doing this crap and not letting kids be kids should be arrested and jailed

    April 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  10. Patti

    My kids eat school lunch, and their school works very hard to serve healthy foods. I don't think anyone has an issue with trying to help kids eat healthier. It's when we're TOLD how we're going to raise our children that we get riled up. If I want my children to eat a bag lunch, then they'll do it. Nutrition is different from a uniform, and I'm not willing to allow a school to raise my kids for me.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  11. Jackie Garcia

    They are our children and no one should be able to control our children but us. It is bad when we are being controlled by school laws and government on how we raise our children. Take care of teaching reading writing and math.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
  12. summertime

    Now, I've heard everything. Who came up with this insanity? If that schools menus look like the ones here anything is healthier. What's healthy about fried chicken nuggets, pizza, etc. I've looked at those menus and thought no wonder the kids are getting fat. I'd rather send a child to school with a p & j sandwich, an apple, and milk than have him eat processed foods.

    April 12, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  13. Ashleigh M.

    As a person in the healthcare industry, I am all for healthier choices for our children. And as someone who grew up in a poverty stricken family, I can understand how access to healthy choices can be limited. My question is, is the school system prepared to tailor all their provided meals to each childs specific food allergies or perhaps even religious views? If the problem, as they say, is parents allowing their children to bring in junk food, then why not ban junk food instead of bagged lunches as a whole? I think ultimately it is the parents responsibility to make sure their child is eating healthy. The school should be focused on what goes into the childs brain not stomachs!!

    April 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  14. Chris

    After working with elementary students for 25+ years I know that not ALL school lunches are that healthy or that ALL lunches from home are that healthy.

    While nutritious meals are necessary I don't think the schools can dictate that only school food be eaten while at school. To many health issues to be considered. This is an area of parental responsibility, perhaps more education is needed to be presented to parents about what constitutes a healthy meal. Although it has been my experience, that many parents, (not all) revert back to what is quick, cheap and easy!

    I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly from school cafeterias and from home. I have also watched children "dump" their lunches (from school and home" into the trash. While we can try to control what our students eat, we can't always "MAKE" them it eat it and that includes lunches that are good or bad. No easy answer on this one.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  15. Magnifique

    Given the obesity rate in the US, I think parents should be grateful and quit complaining about the school obligating its lunch menu. Most of the whiners on this post are most likely overweight. Don't you want to see your kid's future? Don't even think about making a comment on my post. Just reflect on your health.

    April 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  16. nancy

    Is this school PAYING for all the kids' lunches???

    April 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  17. Jocelyn

    I have a 16 yrs old and 10 yrs old children goes to public school. My Sophomore complained about seeing a hair on her meal during lunch time. Also my son said not very much good choices to choose from. Pizza and fried foods. He loves tuna and salad. My daughter loves specific peanut butter and jelly also a good white wheat bread. I also alternate their lunch w/ fruits. I save money and I know my children eats healthy balance nutritious meal. I don't but soda unless we have parties and goes to parties. I have to also watch my busget. My kids doesn't get reduce meal. I DO NOT AGREE WITH SCHOOL CHANGING POLICY. Thank you for your time.

    Ms Slayton

    April 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  18. Jeannie Ledbetter

    A few days ago, the teachers were not making enough money and getting cut back........and now, you really believe they care anything at all about how fat kids are ?

    On most of the children, they burn those calories back off. I know that
    everyone says kids only sit on game "machines" or computers and are getting lazier and lazier.
    Has anyone thought to tell our soldiers (who were children themselves not to long ago ) that , while they are saving our lives ?

    Actually, most of the teachers I have seen have a little weight themselves, why didn't they stop with the sugar ? And where is their self-control.
    No, I don't believe I would have wanted my childrens lunches supervised by teachers.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  19. NM

    This type of idea is why people end up choosing Home School and Private School. Many children need to be better educated about healthy choices in our country, but the majority of parents do care what their children eat! We choose ORGANIC products much of the time and our school does not offer those kinds of foods. How would they accommodate needs that are even healthier than what they offer. Schools and children in school have become the modern day 'witch hunt' of our society. I cannot imagine that the schools could ever accommodate all of the different diets– Kosher, Vegetarian, and other Ethnic groups too. That is the most ridiculous thing. If that school has an issue with low income kids bringing bad food choices then they should require parents to come and have a class in nutrition and help them to receive fruits and veges on food stamps. What are we in Mother Russia now? I don't recall living in a socialist state here in the US.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  20. slider

    Government control over every aspect of our lifes....isn't it just wonderful. I sometimes am forced to pay attention to and agree with some of what the Tea Party stands for.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  21. Patrick T.

    Obviously it is absurd in America to assert the notion that a child must eat school lunch and that parents cannot provide lunch for their child. The option should still be there. Anything else seems unconstitutional. However, I do think before we finalize our judgment, I think we need more information. What is the socio-political-historical context of this situation? What have the parents been sending for their kids lunches? What is the school offering? Is it standard school cafeteria fare or is it a healthier selection?

    April 12, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  22. Stacie Brewer

    What is this country coming to when a school thinks it has the right to tell parents what to feed their children? How dare they presume that right! I think they need to focus on their own families. Have these people who presume to make this decision even paid attention to what their own families eat? Years ago my children did eat school lunches, however I've worked in the schools and witnessed what they are served. In fact, myself and another teacher actually ended up with upset stomachs once after eating a school prepared lunch. Never again will my children eat a meal prepared by their local school!

    Stacie Brewer

    April 12, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  23. Ale

    I don't think its a great idea to ban the brown bag concept totally. Not all parents allow their child to choose all non-healthy choices. If the school is going to make it free for all students regardless of parents financial status then maybe but not a total ban-theses days its hard to get a doctors note without having to shell out a co-pay just for the doctor/nurse to stamp a piece of paper-that part is ridiculous.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  24. Name*Angela

    FOX 17 News aired this story...what a poor job. Incomplete. So disappointed...

    April 12, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  25. regina curtis

    Wouldnt that interfere with children who need koshier and specialy prepared food?

    April 12, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  26. Mark D.

    Please in charge of these schools have got to be told to STOP trying to control OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES. Liberty is dying...

    April 12, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  27. henry kempf

    true, a school's primary responsibility is education and that certainly includes healthy eating, even providing a formal class on this subject. and where they do provide food (whether in a vending machine or the cafeteria), those choices should be healthy ones. but their jurisdiction stops there. what a student chooses to bring to school for lunch is up to that student/parent. i suggest the school stick to teaching – i would be delighted to see 80% of third graders reading at the 3rd grade level and 80% of freshmen knowing algebra. "shoemaker, stick to your last!"

    April 12, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  28. Jordan

    This is completely unacceptable. What a child eats is the choice of the parent, not the school administration. The list of potential problems isn't exacty short, either. I work as support staff at a school of over 800 children, of which 200-300 at the most will eat cafeteria lunch. The rest either don't like the nasty cafeteria food, bring their own, don't eat or can't afford it, or any combination of that. The students who do eat have 30 minutes to get across campus to the cafeteria, wait in line, scarf down their food and get back to class. In reality they have about 10 minutes to wolf down their food. If they have a lunch detention which is half of the period, they may not get to eat at all.
    If this was my child's school, I'd pull him or her out, and go straight to the legislature about it. Our personal freedoms are being taken away, one by one!

    April 12, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  29. Dave L.

    Yes they should be able to bring a lunch,my daughter gets a free lunch but needs to be on a Lactose free diet and she can only eat at school about 5 times a month because of all milk and cheese they force down there neck. I think they need to cut down on the dairy foods that make them fat.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  30. Mark VanDusen II

    The school has no right to tell a parent what their kid has to eat. It is the parents responsibility to make sure their kid eats properly, not the schools. If the school wants to supply these healthy food choices then fine, but don't ban lunches from home.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  31. Melanie Sykes

    For more reasons that my personal ones, absolutely students should be able to bring lunch from home. My 8 yr old second grader is vegetarian and had peanut allergies. There's no way I'm going to trust a cafeteria with his food. His meatfree options are a piece of lettuce, couple of carrot shreds and a piece of cucumber. That's their salad. My son isn't eating that or mac & cheese everyday! He eats mire balanced and varied foods than most adults and the poor food options from my Fl school district shouldn't be the only option.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  32. CW

    When the school lunches are prepared with locally grown organic ingredients, without growth hormones, additives, and overly processed ingredients that we can't pronounce should they ever say a home derived lunch should be banned. Lets get back to the simple life people, we truly are what we eat! Stop eating these science experiments and get back to real food before its too late!

    April 12, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  33. Mary O'Neal

    The ones banning lunches brought from home should eat at my granddaughters school. I haven't seen any real healthy food served. Bean burritos, pizza, chicken nuggets...over and over again. Maybe a piece of fruit or a little cup of fruit from a can. When and if a hamburger is served they call it mystery meat... Alot of food gets thrown away. I say a parent is more likely to send a healthier lunch.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  34. Tina DeForge

    I think you should be able to bring your own lunch to school....the school doesn't know what my child can eat or not eat. And as I recall the free lunch program is not something I would want my child to have to eat. Canned Ravioli or Canned anything is awful....and full of junk like preservatives and salt...Look at the label....I want my daughter to have a nutritious meal and I am capable of preparing it. Maybe the school could provide microwaves and fridges to store and to heat up food for the daughter doesn't get chocolate milk on a regular basis or juice which is full of sugar. Also, until they offer organic I don't see how they can force anyone to leave their food at home. If they should change the menu and only offer fresh organic fruits, veggies, milk and meats I would feel comfortable with my child eating from the schools menu.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  35. mason

    I don't think it should be left up to parents to prepare lunch for children because most parents don't eat healthy

    April 12, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  36. Dr David kulla

    Of course they should be aloud to. Is there any wonder why obesity is about 50% of the population? Or diabetes on the rise, and
    Projected to be higher than ever?
    Let's get serious here. If you want to lower healthcare costs then stop feeding children sugar filled, empty calorie food. How stupid can we really be? It's a no brainer. Clean up the diet and lower long term healthcare costs and improve quality of life. This shouldn't even be an argument. The only reason it is a battle is because of the ADA and
    Other food industries have a foot hold In our school system and have a bigger interest in mind. MONEY! This argument is tiring and how long will it take to get anything done about this?? Capitalistic Democracy at it's best here

    April 12, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  37. Wendy from Harrisburg, Pa

    I ABSOLUTELY think that any child has the RIGHT to decide with hsi/her parent if they should or shouldn't bring their own lunch. My mother was a school teacher for over 30 years. Back then, lunches at school were "homemade" by paid cafeteria workers. Some schools, like my children's, have volunteers that do not get paid. Thank God for these people but face it. Things are chosen for their quickness and anything processed quickly is full of salt, preservatives and all sorts of bad things our bodies, especially children should not start out their most important years with.
    It almost sounds as if sometimes our country is trying to run like a dictator. First school ...who knows?
    I just don't like where our country is going!!

    Has ANYONE thought of children's food allergies? People that have these need to read every single ingredient in a processed food!!!!!

    Care about the kids!!! Not how much money you would be making!!!

    April 12, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  38. Anke

    Schools should absolutely NOT be allowed to control what my child eats. Schools should educate families on what a healthy lunch for children looks like and the watch over the students that bring bad food to school and have a conversation with the parents. If I want to send my child to school with a meal that I deem appropriate, there is nobody to tell me not to!

    April 12, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  39. Angie Papple Johnston

    If we lived there, I'd send my son to school with excerpts from The Constitution scrawled across his brown paper bag. This is positively ridiculous.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:29 am |
  40. james

    so a packed lunch, peanut butter, jelly maybe, or a ham and cheese, piece of fruit, some carrots or celery, and juice box or water is better for you then a processed food product like a beef patty or steak finers and fries and some bulk process milk. Hmmm whats next, our kids have to stay at the school all week and we only get them back on the weekends because they can raise our kids better.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:27 am |