At the end of the day, schools should be involved in the education portion of making kids healthier, but they should stay out of lunch bags.
They should be just informing children, so children can then inform their parents about the current healthy guidelines, enabling parents to make informed choices for their children. But parents, as well, have the right to choose whether or not their child should have a less healthy or more healthy snack with their daily meal.
Right of access to and information about healthy affordable food options is not the same as mandatory participation in the same practices.
In addition, if the schools wish the students to follow a healthier regimen, they should then provide healthier options, rather than take a policing approach. Not all parents have the option to provide students with a 100 per cent healthy meal, but if the school is willing to offer it, that would at least be a positive step.
The tone in this approach has come off slightly dictatorial rather than the helpful guideline it should be, this is what most parents have been taking offence to. Most times, parents feel that the teachers and board are acting in a way that judges both the student and their parents. But, if education is provided, about the current nutritional guidelines and affordable healthy options that are out there, and if the school has a healthy affordable option in place, this could then repair the divide. This is both clear and extends dignity to families.
But instead, reports have found some teachers are either withholding students lunches because of what they have or are confiscating the unhealthy options. This is not what we, as community members, pay taxes for them to do.
Schools need to realize that parents have a lot on their plates and, on occasion, in a rush, can make the decision to provide the students with options that may not be of optimum health benefit. Do lunches make up the sum total of a child's diet, of course not, and so therefore, are not a clear representation of the provision parents are making for their children's health. These teachers and schools need to realize this, and not let their actions come off as judgmental against these families or as policing, which is out of their scope.
Now let’s make sure this is clear, this is not meant to pertain to all schools, as not all likely carry out the same policy, but this editorial is meant to address those teachers, in the select schools, that have been operating with these practices.
It all comes down to tone of actions and if all schools and teachers can work towards a practice that comes off as less judgmental, we will no longer have a problem here, and it could morph into the solution for parents I'm sure it was intended to be.