The newly announced state mandates on school lunch servings and nutrition, which we report on in this issue, are extremely troubling. The state this coming school year will now require students who buy school lunch to take certain foods even if the student has no intention of eating them and will only throw them in the trash.
What an unconscionable waste of food and money.
According to the Skaneateles school lunch program manager, the state basically told districts: we tried to let the kids make their own food choices and they failed to live up to our standards; now we will tell them what and how to eat.
Any time a government seeks to impose its own limits or regulations on individual choice is immensely unsettling. Mandating children’s nutrition in this way certainly smacks of the erosion of individual rights — and, it could be argued, also sows the seeds of absolutism.
A child’s nutritional education, like so many other things, starts at home. Parents should be teaching their kids what it is to eat healthy. That is not the responsibility of a school district or a state to mandate.
The school board was rightly concerned about the fiscal and resource waste of the new mandates, and BOE member Thomas Lambdin’s idea about creating a composting program to alleviate the food waste was an excellent one, as was district lunch program manager Elaine Crysler’s idea about creating a school garden.
We encourage the district and the board to actively pursue these ideas, as well as any other recycling possibilities, to alleviate the ridiculous waste this new mandate will create.
But more than that, we encourage our readers to realize that good health is not something we should rely on the state for, or on the schools for. It is our own responsibility. The idea that some unelected appointees in air conditioned offices in Albany know better than we do how to live our own lives is of great concern to us — as it should be to everyone.