Some schools say they are concerned about food allergies, and it is true that for some children a stray bite of someone else's peanut butter sandwich can mean anaphylaxis and even death. But I don't think allergies are the main reason that districts across the country are racing to put new food policies in place. After all, children are allergic to strawberries, wheat and dairy, too, but there are no proposals that I'm aware of to ban any of those foods.
I fear there's something else at work — a fear borne out by a flier my fifth grader brought home saying that at the monthly pizza hot lunch, no child would be allowed to buy a second slice of pizza. The district says the new ruling is to avoid bad feelings caused by "inequities": if everyone can't have extra helpings, no one can.
This solution may seem rather Solomon-like. But if equity is the issue, I'll eat my lunch tray. I believe the schools are overreacting to the so-called obesity epidemic, and in the process are doing our children more harm than good.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Food Wars In Schools
The New York Times has a reasoned article about the food police in today's schools.