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UK school expels brothers for bringing cheese crackers to school, says they violate 'healthy eating' policy

Sunday, February 16, 2014 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: UK school, expelled, cheese crackers

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(NaturalNews) In a shocking turn of events, a British parochial school has decided to expel two young brothers, one age six and the other four, for allegedly violating its healthy eating policy. Colnbrook C of E Primary School in Berkshire says six-year-old Riley Pearson repeatedly broke the rules by bringing cheese crackers, which the institution sees as nutritionally unbalanced, that his mother packed for him to school.

Controversy erupted after young Riley was found with the snack food multiple days in a row, despite the school's stated prohibition of all things chocolatey, sweet, crispy and fizzy. Upon meeting with the administration, Riley's parents, Natalie and Tom, expressed disagreement with the school's position that the crackers are unhealthy, as they have always been balanced with an array of other proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

But the school did not relent, insisting that Riley stop bringing the crackers to school. And when it was perceived that his parents planned to continue packing his and his brother's lunches the way they saw fit, Riley's initial suspension was turned into an expulsion, and his younger brother, who was still in the school nursery, was also given the boot.

"We just do not see how they have the right to tell us what we can feed our son," lamented the boys' mother. "If anything, Riley is underweight and could do with putting on a few pounds. Having a balanced diet also includes eating some carbohydrates, sugars and fats."

Enforcing misguided health requirements a detriment to health freedom

According to reports, Natalie had been providing for her sons lunches that included many of the normal elements of a well-balanced meal, including things like a sandwich, yogurt, cheese, water and of course the infamous Mini Cheddars. So it was not as if she was encouraging them to only eat gummy bears and guzzle soft drinks all day.

But the bigger issue here is that yet another educational institution has usurped parental authority in policing what students are allowed to eat. Setting food policy based on a misguided understanding of nutrition -- and enforcing it to the point of refusing some children an education -- sets a dangerous precedent of control and tyranny over what people eat.

"Rather than address slipping standards and performance the school decides to expel a six year old child for a trivial reason," opined one commenter on The Independent about the issue. "This is a failing school with failing staff. Their behavior is tantamount to bullying which as the victim is only six years old shows how far things have slipped."

As far as Riley's parents are concerned, they believe that continuing to feed their boys cheese crackers as part of a balanced diet is the right thing to do for them nutritionally. While there might be disagreement from some as to the nutritional value of cheese crackers, it is up to a child's parents to decide what is appropriate to feed them, not a third-party organization.

"[W]e as a family believe that Riley is taking a well balanced lunch to school and that no rules have been broken," explained the Pearsons in a statement."

Supporters of the Pearson family have created a petition at GoPetition.com that is calling on Colnbrook to reinstate the two boys. It also explains how the expulsions are technically illegal in the U.K., because they were the result of actions taken by the boys' parents rather than the boys themselves. You can access and sign the petition here:
http://www.gopetition.com.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.independent.co.uk

http://metro.co.uk

http://www.gopetition.com

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