Junk Food in the Schools... Revisited...
...Remember a few months ago when I got a little hot under the collar about a proposed ban on junk food in Santa Clara schools?
Well, there's an update. Actually, the update came back in June while I was having a hard time with the changes at work and not being inspired to write anything more legible than my name on credit card reciepts paying for my children's school tuition. But that's not important right now....
Remember how I said that school districts should not be responsible for teaching our children how to eat? That the onus for that lies with the parents, who should be the ultimate example for a child as to how to eat healthy and make good choices about what they put in their mouths. An update as to how my children behave... At the annual neighborhood park party we had this past weekend, A & B chose to keep going back to the fruit plate instead of taking the brownies, or the pasta, or the 'pigs in a blanket' that were out (they took one pig in a blanket each and that was it). So I continue to stand by the fact that my kids make good choices most of the time.
But Santa Clara's school district doesn't think that kids can make good choices, and have decided to restrict food... or at least they were going to until people started raising a right old fuss about it. And so the law was reworked a bit, but not in the way that you would expect.
Instead of a 24/7 ban on unhealthy foods it was decided that they'll scale things a little differently. The school boards will encourage parents at sporting events to sell some healthy choices along with the cheeseburgers and sausages, but that cupcakes in the classroom for birthday parties, and on campus sales of candy and cookie dough will be discouraged. That doesn't really solve the fund-raising aspect of the situation that I mentioned last time, but it does lessen the iron grip that the SCUSD (Santa Clara Unifed School District) wanted to have on things. Sort of. They've added a new restriction to make up for what they lost - there's an additional ban on foods containing trans-fats and items with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup in them. So while the ban has been lessened, it's still a ban.
And I'm still a bit frustrated with it (not that I don't disagree with the corn syrup aspect of things but still). Since when does a school district have the right to decide what my children can and cannot eat? And if they're going to ban foods with corn syrup and trans-fats, and they're really supposedly looking out for the health of my children while they are on campus, then I'd like to see what they're going to do about the school lunch program while they're at it because I doubt very much of that is going to change to be in accordance of this.
You see, since I wrote the last article one of my children has moved from a semi-private school to a public school. A very good, high ranking public school, but a public school none-the-less. I want you folks to take a good look at what's on the school lunch menu
for the Campbell Union School District (which does not reside within the SCUSD). See that entry for September 12? Maxx Mozzerella Cheese Stixx? Should I have confidence in a foodstuff that has 4 x's in it's name? Somehow I question the nutritional value of something like that, even if it's paired with fresh fruit, carrots and milk. Corn dogs with hash browns? Pizza every week?
A tells me that pizza isn't on the menu every week - it's available from the "a la carte" snack shack thingy every day
, along with chips, crackers and Gatorade. I can't get my hands on a menu for that program, unfortunately, else I'd share with you what is on it. From what I hear from A, it doesn't sound like very healthy stuff. Now, I know that there are state guidelines about what kinds of foods are included in the lunch program, but from the sounds of what's on the menu, I'm not so sure that the food always meets the guidelines. I think parents and children are in for a rude awakening when the school lunch system will have to be overhauled in 2007 in California (because of the statewide ban on junk food that is coming down the line) and when the prices for lunch go up as a result.
Meanwhile, I'm prepared for it. A brings her lunch every day, and hot lunch is a random treat. Currently the price for the public school lunch is less than what we paid over at the semi-private school, so even if lunch goes up by a quarter it's still less than what we were paying. Not that I'm going to start buying A public school hot lunches because I think the choices she makes in the morning when she puts together her lunch (under the watchful eye of DH) are leagues better than what she could get from the school. Ah, but I digress...
The ban on junk food is still in effect, SCUSD wants to continue being food police, and the parents are clueless (unless they're paying close attention to this) to what's coming down the line for changes in their childrens' diets at lunchtime. I suspect once all the changes are in place there are probably going to be a lot of parents who say "oh hey, that's great, it's about time healthier food was offered to our kids". That's probably because they're too lazy to have done anything about it themselves in the first place...
...and still are too lazy to do anything about it at home. And that's the real shame.