Dining And Dummies

Posted on February 16, 2012 by


You’ve doubtless heard of the school lunch fiasco out there in North Carolina in which it was reported a couple of days ago that a four-year-old preschooler had her bagged lunch confiscated and was instead given a “healthy” school-provided lunch when a “lunch monitor” determined that the child’s turkey-and-cheese sandwich, banana, apple juice and chips didn’t meet federal nutritional standards (in point of fact, it did). When the child returned home with her uneaten lunch and a bill from the school for $1.25 to cover the cost of the lunch they’d served her, Mom went ballistic – not over the bill, but that somebody had told her daughter that Mom didn’t pack a healthy meal.

Of course, the fact that she packed a lunch at all likely places her in the 1% that the Occutards are forever yelping about: she’s rich enough to pack a lunch for her daughter? How dare she? Imagine how that ostentatious display of wealth must make the other preschoolers feel!

In any case, amid the resultant uproar, the school predictably enough beat a hasty retreat: they rescinded the buck and a quarter bill, and tried to explain the situation. No state or school official has identified the person who intervened during the child’s lunch period to tell her she was eating a sub-standard lunch, but Bob Barnes, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Hoke County schools, told the Fayetteville Observer that it was an agent of the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Child Development and Early Education. 

Barnes said the DHHS representative examined six lunches in the class that day, Jan. 30, and found that one did not meet federal nutritional standards. The child’s mother and grandmother told CJ that the child was told she had to eat a cafeteria lunch, but Barnes told the Observer that this was a misunderstanding on the part of the 4-year-old.

“We are not the lunch bag police,” Barnes told the Observer. “We would never put a child in any type of embarrassing situation. But we are responsible to see that every child gets a nutritious meal.”

They may, in retrospect, claim not to be the lunch bag police, but the incident prompted two members of the N.C. congressional delegation to fire off a letter expressing “strong concern” to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“This unfortunate and absolutely unnecessary event exemplifies the very definition of ‘government overreach’ and further perpetuates a growing reason of why the American people continue to hold less and less faith in our government,” writes U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, D-8th District, in the letter co-signed by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-2nd District. Kissell represents the district in which the incident took place.

“The content of a school lunch provided to a child by their parents should be governed only by the child’s parents, not another government bureaucrat,” the letter continues.

The case might just be an example of governmental overreach, but DHHS is working to determine the specifics, so hey – it’s all good. They may simply have been following the example of Michelle Obama, who a couple of weeks ago was visiting an air base mess hall, where she encouraged pilots to eat their vegetables.

Not to be alarmist, or anything, but it seems entirely possible that people may eventually tire of the continuing interventions of the Nanny state. Here in Oregon, we may be witnessing the beginnings of a backlash: as has been noted several times, such as here, the Clackistani Uprising is already well underway. And now even state employees are getting into the nannies’ faces: they’ve filed a class-action lawsuit naming long-time control freak Michael Jordan (formerly head of Metro and a passionate advocate of Central Planning as a means of controlling the lives of the “little people”) among the defendants. Jordan jumped from Metro to take on a state job as CEO and head of the Department of Administrative Services; interestingly, of five defendants listed in the suit, Jordan is the only individual named, and his DAS is also a defendant – in other words, 40% of the suit targets him.

Terrance has a good look at the background in a post he dropped off late yesterday evening; taking it all together, pushback against control freaks in general and bureaucrats in particular seems to be starting to build nationwide. And it’s long overdue.

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Posted in: Big Government