Posted by DC1346 at 05/18/13 10:40:57I have a problem with this. I don't think you can force people to be vegetarian. As someone who has taught for 23 years, I know from personal experience that something like this will only encourage students to sneak junk food in their backpacks. I anticipate that there will be a lot of waste if students are made to take a vegetarian lunch.
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act that Mr. Obama signed into law went into effect during the past school year. One of the provisions gives school cafeterias additional funds if they MAKE kids take a portion of fresh fruit or fresh vegetables. The problem with this is that at my school, kids would take these products and then throw them away. The cafeteria people didn't care because they got extra money from the Feds ...but if you think about the sheer amount of food wastage, the amount of food being thrown away was staggering.
I believe that if we want people to be healthy, we have to educate them. Federal programs like the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and school initiatives to go all vegetarian are well intentioned but think about what's really happening. Those kids who can afford it, will bring junk food and non-vegetarian food products to school as part of their sack lunches. The kids being "punished" are those on the free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs.
We are in effect, emphasizing the differences between the haves and have nots.
At the high school I've been working at, kids who don't bring a sack lunch either go home for lunch or go off campus to buy fast food. The cafeteria has seen a huge drop in sales. When combined with the reduced portion sizes that are also prat of the current law, we have a real problem ... because the nutritional needs of children are not the same.
There is after all, a huge difference between a 17 year old football player who's 6'2" and 200 lb. and the 90 lb. science geek. Bigger kids who are also more physically active need more calories than smaller kids who are less active. The new Federal law has a one size fits all policy which simply isn't realistic.
When you throw in vegetarian cuisine on top of everything else - introducing vegetarian meals to kids who haven't been raised as vegetarians, I think you're inviting trouble.