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Keep Your Hands Off My Kid's Lunchbox

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TEACHER SCHOOL LUNCH
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There's a new trend happening around town and it's one that may be catching on. Consider this my civic duty to spread the word and stop the idiocy of being legislated. That's right -- schools are now trying to tell me what I can and can't put in my kid's lunchbox. Case in point:

"Toronto school's lunch-box restrictions have gone too far, some parents say."

And it continues:

"Durham parents infuriated after kids lunches and snacks are taken away for being unhealthy"

"No juice boxes - Green school lays down lunch laws"

Ummmm...no.

No, it's not happening, at least not in my household. Here's why:

My kid, my rules, including what they have in their lunch boxes

I make lots of decisions about my kids. As a matter of fact, these decisions are so frequent, as they are with any parent, that it would be impossible to list all of the choices that are made daily on their behalf. The the list would be way too long. From the time that my children wake up in the morning to the time that they go to bed, choices are made -- by me and their father -- their parents - and that's the way it should be. These choices include what they're going to eat that day, amongst other things.

Now.

If the kids are going to be at school, great. Their lunches are packed at home with items that we, their parents deem appropriate. If my kids are sent to school with leftover pizza or lunch-size bags of Goldfish, that's our prerogative, not the domain of their teacher or a school "policy" that dictates otherwise.

We all have a personal agenda, based on our individual circumstances, lifestyles and families.

Allergies? Of course we'll abide by the rules. No parent wants to have their child adversely affect another child by bringing to school food products that could result in physical harm to another. Anaphylaxis? No. Goldfish and pizza? Yes. I'm sending them in.

Next!

The "Nanny State" is not going to encroach on my freedom as a parent to feed my child as I please

Everyone has an opinion these days. If it isn't hard enough that we're dealing with the craziness of parenting, we're now also subject to the disapproval of strangers about how we choose to raise our kids. Food is a big topic amongst the nay-sayers. Who knows why this topic is a touch-point but for whatever reasons, it is. For some who disapprove, its proof of bad parenting if each and every morsel that goes into a child's mouth isn't 100 per cent nutritious. In an ideal world, this would be great. In the real world? Impossible.

As I mentioned earlier, I will abide by not only school regulations but common decency surrounding allergy-related items that may harm (or, heaven forbid -- kill) a child. Anaphylaxis re: peanut allergies and similar ailments are not to be taken lightly by anyone at any time. To this end, of course I will abide by the rules of keeping all kids in my child's classroom safe. After all, it's the right thing to do and a life-or-death situation in some cases.

That being said, when it comes to a subjective and non-sensical decision such as the idea that pizza for lunch is a no-no, or that juice boxes are verboten, that's where I draw the line.

Next!

What's considered "appropriate" is subjective

Let's face it: everyone has an opinion. What I may find "acceptable" or "appropriate" may be considered unacceptable or inappropriate, depending on who's judging. And that's exactly the problem: Who are the people making these judgments, and why judge at all?

We all have a personal agenda, based on our individual circumstances, lifestyles and families. Corporations and institutions -- such as schools and educational facilities -- have agendas that, for the most part, are in the best interest of their employees or students. But not always. It is clearly possible that such entities get caught up in the cultural trends or political climates in which they exist, not always to the benefit of those within their charge. For this reason alone, decisions concerning the day-to-day activities of children should be left to the parents.

Now, look. I'm not saying that schools and educators shouldn't have a say in how and what their students should learn, whether it's nutrition, healthy eating or otherwise. Of course they should. However, there needs to be limits and parameters on what these educators convey, and how this information is provided to our kids. In other words, if I want to give my kid a slice of pizza, a chocolate chip cookie (or two) and a juice box in their lunchbox, it's my prerogative. If it's not hurting another child, let me be the one to make the decision about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of my kid's lunch.

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