In an act of sanity, North Carolina’s Senate unanimously passed legislation prohibiting child care facilities from providing supplemental food and beverage items to children whose parents packed a lunch for them. This action stemmed from the “ Great Chicken Nugget Fiasco of 2012” that occurred this past spring in which a pre-kindergarten teacher told her class that their packed lunches from Mom and Dad did not meet federal regulations for a healthy meal. Hello, Nanny-State Government. School officials said the teacher should have provided whatever healthy food was lacking in the lunches, but instead the kids were provided access to the cafeteria where there was a proliferation of chicken nuggets just waiting to be consumed.
Since when did it become a school’s job to search through kids’ lunches, deem the meals healthy or unhealthy, and subsequently remove “unhealthy” food and provide a “healthy” alternative? Perhaps the food police force will have to be dispatched to schools across North Carolina to ensure that lunch room regulations are being followed. Maybe the state should install junk food detectors at the entrance of schools?
That won’t be necessary, though. HB 503, Parental Choice/Clarify Pre-K, resolved the matter by exempting parent-provided lunches from nutritional standards set forth by the school. Conceivably, parents could pack a lunch bag filled to the brim with junk food, even chicken nuggets, and send their offspring happily to school. While that may not be the healthiest nutrition option (everything in moderation), the point is that schools should not be in the business of dictating what kids can or cannot eat. More importantly, a government-run school should not supplant the parents’ prerogative to decide what food will be packed for their children to consume. Fundamentally, this is a parental-rights issue. Thankfully, the Senate did the right thing for parents and children across the state.