Obesity among children is a rising epidemic. These days there are a lot more unhealthy food choices. Children need to be educated on the benefits of healthy eating, and it’s up to parents and teachers to show them the way. But only the parents have the right to say what their child eats. One teacher took a student’s diet into her own hands when she took the kindergartner’s lunch away. The teacher replaced it with something healthier, but you’d never guess what the “unhealthy” food was. This story has gone viral and soon you’ll understand why.
There is an obvious health kick that is on the rise around the planet. It’s not unwelcome considering that childhood obesity is at an all-time high. In order to maintain consistent health it’s important to eat natural foods that are full of vitamins and nutrients. It’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure that their children are eating the right foods. But that doesn’t mean that the government and school officials can’t intervene with knowledge about proper diet.
When Obama was president, the First Lady Michelle Obama made it her mission to tackle the ever-growing issue of unhealthy eating. Speaking of her Let’s Move! campaign, the former First Lady said, “I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.” But one teacher in Canada believes that this isn’t a recommendation.
It’s quite typical for any given child to be a picky eater. Most children would choose junk food over more healthy choices if they were given the option. Some kids even absolutely refuse any kind of fruit or vegetable. The student we’re speaking about is one of those picky eaters. The teacher found an item in his lunchbox that they considered to be quite unhealthy and frowned upon, but certainly not illegal to have.
Since 2010, the United States government has been taking steps to get rid of childhood obesity. Guidelines have been set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 to offer access to healthier food options. The key word there is “offer.” Even the Canadian government clarified their regulations. “There is nowhere in our policy or procedures that say our staff is allowed to take food away from a student,” explained learning consultant James MacKinnon. So, you can probably assume how the kindergartner’s mother felt.
The mother of the child, Elaina Daoust, became “infuriated” with the actions of the teacher and the note that went home with the the child. “He came home with a [healthy food] chart and told me he and the teacher talked about it and healthy choices,” she frustratingly explained. “I was really, really, really mad for several reasons.” The intentions of the teacher were in the right place, but could she have approached it differently?
Teaching children about healthy eating and giving information to the parents is extremely important. The superintendent of the school issued a statement which read, “food preferences and choice remain with students and parents unless they pose an adverse allergic danger to other students.” The food item that was taken away must have been a threat to the rest of the school.
So, what was the food that caused this uproar? Banana bread! But the banana bread must have contained nuts, which is harmful to those allergic, right? Wrong. It only had a few chocolate chips in it. Daoust even said that she purchased it because it said “nut free” and safe for kids in school. She has claimed that her son is a picky eater. “It’s not like he had chips or a chocolate bar.” After taking the banana bread, the school gave the child a healthier option.
Once the teacher took away the child’s banana bread, she replaced it with a healthier option. Instead of that evil chocolate chip banana bread, he was given some grapes! The teacher didn’t know that the student was a picky eater and was just attempting to help him make healthy choices. The grapes are definitely a healthier option, but that only works if the child actually eats it.
Even though the student ate a small part of his lunch, he was hungry for the rest of the day. What the teacher should have done was discuss food options with the parents, instead she discussed it with the student, took away his food, and quite honestly, overstepped her bounds. It would be different if this only happened once, but many school districts have forced their hand on the lunch choices of students.
This is a rising problem with schools, according to the Associated Press. One mother, Janae Brangman, said her son’s raisins were taken from him because apparently they had too much sugar in them! She was furious when she stated, “it was more unhealthy for a child not to eat at all.” Teachers need to make it their mission to take these issues up with the parent, and not the child.