Indoctrination in the school cafeteria - You will eat what we tell you to eat

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Jul 31, 2006
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#1
The below might seem minimal. It is, after all, for the children; and, if it's for the children, it can't be wrong, right? Sure, the students don't matter. The parents don't matter. There is no discussion. There is no freedom to choose. The school will make the decisions - only the school will make the decisions. Who cares if most of the parents are responsible and concerned about their kids' health? If some are irresponsible, all will be punished. If some kids can't eat a healthy meal from home, no kids will.

Big deal? The seed is planted. You have no choice. Your parents have no choice. The school has your best interests in mind, and you and your parents will obey.

Ah, yes, the learning experience goes on - and the indoctrination is subtle ... insidious ... but, eventually, the kids will get the message - they will obey, and their parents are irrelevant - even when it's only about lunch:

Chicago school bans some lunches brought from home

To encourage healthful eating, Chicago school doesn't allow kids to bring lunches or certain snacks from home — and some parents, and many students, aren't fans of the policy

A Little Village Academy student cringes at an enchilada dish served at his school. Many students throw away their entrees uneaten and say they would rather bring food from home. The school, though, does not allow students to bring in their own lunches, unless they have a medical condition or a food allergy.

April 11, 2011

Fernando Dominguez cut the figure of a young revolutionary leader during a recent lunch period at his elementary school.

"Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?" the seventh-grader shouted to his lunch mates in Spanish and English.

Dozens of hands flew in the air and fellow students shouted along: "We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!"

Fernando waved his hand over the crowd and asked a visiting reporter: "Do you see the situation?"

At his public school, 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.

A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals.

"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."

Any school that bans homemade lunches also puts more money in the pockets of the district's food provider, Chartwells-Thompson. The federal government pays the district for each free or reduced-price lunch taken, and the caterer receives a set fee from the district per lunch.

At Little Village, most students must take the meals served in the cafeteria or go hungry or both. During a recent visit to the school, dozens of students took the lunch but threw most of it in the garbage uneaten. Though CPS has improved the nutritional quality of its meals this year, it also has seen a drop-off in meal participation among students, many of whom say the food tastes bad.

"Some of the kids don't like the food they give at our school for lunch or breakfast," said Little Village parent Erica Martinez. "So it would be a good idea if they could bring their lunch so they could at least eat something."

"(My grandson) is really picky about what he eats," said Anna Torrez, who was picking up the boy from school. "I think they should be able to bring their lunch. Other schools let them. But at this school, they don't."

But parent Miguel Medina said he thinks the "no home lunch policy" is a good one. "The school food is very healthy," he said, "and when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food."

At Claremont Academy Elementary School on the South Side, officials allow packed lunches but confiscate any snacks loaded with sugar or salt. (They often are returned after school.) Principal Rebecca Stinson said that though students may not like it, she has yet to hear a parent complain.

"The kids may have money or earn money and (buy junk food) without their parents' knowledge," Stinson said, adding that most parents expect that the school will look out for their children.

Such discussions over school lunches and healthy eating echo a larger national debate about the role government should play in individual food choices.

"This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility
," said J. Justin Wilson, a senior researcher at the Washington-based Center for Consumer Freedom, which is partially funded by the food industry.

"Would the school balk if the parent wanted to prepare a healthier meal?" Wilson said. "This is the perfect illustration of how the government's one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again. Some parents may want to pack a gluten-free meal for a child, and others may have no problem with a child enjoying soda."

For many CPS parents, the idea of forbidding home-packed lunches would be unthinkable. If their children do not qualify for free or reduced-price meals, such a policy would require them to pay $2.25 a day for food they don't necessarily like.

"We don't spend anywhere close to that on my son's daily intake
of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk," education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach wrote in an email. Her son attends Nettelhorst Elementary School in Lakeview. "Not only would mandatory school lunches worsen the dietary quality of most kids' lunches at Nettelhorst, but it would also cost more out of pocket to most parents! There is no chance the parents would stand for that."

Many Little Village students claim that, given the opportunity, they would make sound choices.

"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," said student Yesenia Gutierrez. "It's really lame. If we could bring in our own lunches, everyone knows what they'd bring. For example, the vegetarians could bring in their own veggie food."

"I would bring a sandwich or a Subway and maybe a juice," said seventh-grader Ashley Valdez.

Second-grader Gerardo Ramos said, "I would bring a banana, orange and some grapes."

"I would bring a juice and like a sandwich," said fourth-grader Eric Sanchez.

"Sometimes I would bring the healthy stuff," second-grader Julian Ruiz said, "but sometimes I would bring Lunchables."

meng@tribune.com

jhood@tribune.com[/I][url]http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-school-lunch-restrictions-041120110410,0,2614451,full.story[/url]
 

Cimarron

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Jun 28, 2007
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#2
- they will obey, and their parents are irrelevant - even when it's only about lunch:

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
So much for freedom of choice. Where does Principal Carmona draw the line for the role she sees for herself in taking responsibility for raising these kids?

I believe she would be better off focusing on the three R's.

She is taking on a role in these kids lives that is better left to the parents of these children.
 

Bowers2

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Jul 31, 2006
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#3
And, though used in the article several times, is "unhealthful" a word?

This is really dumb. Nanny state crap.
 

bleedinorange

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Jan 11, 2010
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#4
And, though used in the article several times, is "unhealthful" a word?

This is really dumb. Nanny state crap.
It will be interesting to see if the parents react to this intrusion into their right to make decisions in their child's lives. I'd be surprised if the lemmings are even aware of the consequences of their silence.

Chicago public schools aren't exactly the halls of academia. More like a halfway house between adolescence and prison. Most of the parents in question are products of this system as well.
 

PokealypseNow

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#6
So much for freedom of choice. Where does Principal Carmona draw the line for the role she sees for herself in taking responsibility for raising these kids?

I believe she would be better off focusing on the three R's.

She is taking on a role in these kids lives that is better left to the parents of these children.
Bah! Not only is it the teacher's job to parent their students, but it's also the childrens'/youth pastor's job, too.

Getting pretty ridiculous if you ask me. What's next? Banning dropping kids off by car? Mandating parents escort them on foot or by bike?
 

OSU Sig

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#7
Bah! Not only is it the teacher's job to parent their students, but it's also the childrens'/youth pastor's job, too.

Getting pretty ridiculous if you ask me. What's next? Banning dropping kids off by car? Mandating parents escort them on foot or by bike?
Shhh, don't give them any ideas...
 

Cimarron

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Jun 28, 2007
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#9
I wonder if the principal and other school administrators eat the school cafeteria lunch every day?
That's a good question.

When I lived in the dormitory, it was a smaller 4 year school for my first two years I would always eat at the student center rather than the dormitory for lunch. One day the university President was in line behind me and he said to me "I've noticed that you always eat lunch here in the stundent center instead of the dormitory cafeteria".

I told him it was because the food was better. I went on to say that the food at the dormitory was pretty good when he showed up over there to eat on occasion, but that he always let them know when he was coming over to the dormitory to eat. I suggested to him that he show up un-announced on several occasions.

He did and the food greatly improved.

Odd how that works.
 
Dec 30, 2006
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#11
Indoctrination? That's a bit of a stretch. Greed is probably what is pushing the school into making all of the kids BUY school lunches, not turning them into communists.
 

Cimarron

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#13
Some people should study the tactics of PETA, HSUS and other organizations. Thinking there are not groups, who are well funded with an agenda, is naive.
 
Jan 13, 2007
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#15
They seem to be focusing on the wrong problem. Kids bringing their lunch to school is not a problem. The third party vendor is a real problem. They are there to make a buck on the federal lunch program.

Most of the time, the problem is that we have kids who only meals come from the breakfast and lunch served at school. I would say a healthy thirty percent of students at my school get their only meals of the day from the breakfast and lunch served at school.

If parents are taking the time to send a lunch, let them have it.

I guess this seems to be more of a problem in really large districts. I could see there being a problem serving over ten thousand lunches or more in a large district.

Smaller schools do not typically have third-party vendors like Sodexho or others run their lunch program, which seems to be SOP in larger schools.
 

Cimarron

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#16
(Rahm) Emanuel went on to become one of President Clinton's top political aides, pushing such popular ideas as expanding the use of school uniforms.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1153661,00.html#ixzz1JK08sqIx

In the name of putting "discipline and learning back in our schools" President Clinton instructed the Federal Education Department today to distribute manuals to the nation's 16,000 school districts advising them how they can legally enforce a school uniform policy.

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/02/25/us/clinton-will-advise-schools-on-uniforms.html
 

Cimarron

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Jun 28, 2007
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#17
If parents are taking the time to send a lunch, let them have it.
You are exactly right. Something which Michelle Obama and others (with an agenda) have pushed is that somehow school menus and our modern food production is the cause of child obesity. Which is absurd!

Its poor eating habits and lack of exercise!

But the seeds of the obesity campaign were planted months ago — in an organic White House garden she set up with the help of local elementary schoolchildren.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2010-02-09-1Afirstlady09_CV_N.htm

Organic food claims of superiority prove unsubstantiated

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/opini...ity-prove-unsubstantiated-1.2536311?pagereq=1

The term "social justice" is also frequently tossed around by the organic/natural crowd. How is it social justice when promoting a food source that isn't any healthier, safer or any more nutritious but comes at a cost of 140% of conventionally produced products?

I would suspect those parents who take the time to pack a school lunch are also putting some extra effort to make sure their children eat healthier at home.

What we need more than reactions to childhood obesity driven by political (and activists that have nothing to do with childhood obesity but and agenda to promote) agendas is sound research and political policy set based on sound science!
 

PokealypseNow

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#20
You are exactly right. Something which Michelle Obama and others (with an agenda) have pushed is that somehow school menus and our modern food production is the cause of child obesity. Which is absurd!

Its poor eating habits and lack of exercise!

But the seeds of the obesity campaign were planted months ago — in an organic White House garden she set up with the help of local elementary schoolchildren.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2010-02-09-1Afirstlady09_CV_N.htm

Organic food claims of superiority prove unsubstantiated

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/opini...ity-prove-unsubstantiated-1.2536311?pagereq=1

The term "social justice" is also frequently tossed around by the organic/natural crowd. How is it social justice when promoting a food source that isn't any healthier, safer or any more nutritious but comes at a cost of 140% of conventionally produced products?

I would suspect those parents who take the time to pack a school lunch are also putting some extra effort to make sure their children eat healthier at home.

What we need more than reactions to childhood obesity driven by political (and activists that have nothing to do with childhood obesity but and agenda to promote) agendas is sound research and political policy set based on sound science!
This is pure heresay and anecdote, but I can't forget having a long conversation with some kinda scientist/biologist type at a house party once wherein she basically eviscerated every one of the pro-organic talking points. More bugs, more disease, etc.

But with that said, I think a lot of the other benefits that come along with a lot of the organic hippie stuff such as returning to home gardens, raising chickens, etc is really, really great.

So, while I'm not out there demanding to give me free range organic chicken or give me death, I think there's some net benefit to the whole thing.