(NaturalNews) Individual responsibility and personal freedom are becoming a thing of the past in the nation's public schools, as strict control over what students can and cannot eat -- or bring to school to eat -- escalates to near-dictatorial levels. The Chicago Tribune reports that for the past six years, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side has prohibited students from bringing their own lunches from home, a policy that many say subverts parental authority and violates students' rights.
Principal Elsa Carmona first enacted the food policy after observing some of her students drinking sodas and eating chips for lunch, instead of eating a well-balanced meal. By both mandating that students eat lunch at school and improving the quality of food served, she hoped to improve the health of her students.
While they appear to be good intentioned, Carmona's efforts have actually angered many students who say they would prefer to bring their own lunches from home. And ironically, the policy has had the opposite effect, in some cases, of actually causing students not to eat anything at all, which is even worse for their health.
Students that have food allergies or other medical conditions that require them to eat something other than what is served in the cafeteria are able to be exempted from the policy. Most students, however, still end up being forced to eat whatever is served. And many students that do not have medical conditions, but that would prefer a meal from home, are stuck without a choice in the matter.
"This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility," said J. Justin Wilson, a senior researcher at the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) in Washington, to the Chicago Tribune. "Would the school balk if the parent wanted to prepare a healthier meal? This is the perfect illustration of how the government's one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again."
Last year, a non-profit group known as "Mission: Readiness" came on the record accusing school cafeterias of being a threat to national security because they are allegedly making children "too fat to fight" in the military. The group has called for strict federal food legislation to control what children can and cannot eat (http://www.naturalnews.com/029226_school_lun...). And late last year, the state of Pennsylvania's board of education actually proposed banning all sweets from school functions, including birthday parties (http://www.naturalnews.com/030365_junk_foods...).