American schools are under a pressure to serve the children of America now more than ever. On top of trying to create a learning curve to brighten our country’s future, while not leaving any children behind (with the 'No Child Left Behind Act'), the new stress of nutrition has been added to the undoubtedly long list of impossible tasks that United States public schools must accomplish. While there are several ways of implementing changes to the school-served lunches, changing the minds of parents who pack their children’s lunch can be a whole new daunting task. With the U.S. getting more and more parents working instead of staying home with children, it seems convenience and speed have put nutrition and health in the back seat. Even though the public is concerned with child obesity and children’s overall health and well-being, it is the same public that, when broken down into households, is the direct problem. Schools are now supposedly providing ‘healthier’ lunches at their institutes than parents are packing for their own children at home. Although schools are required to provide lunches that contribute one third of children’s daily nutritional value and offer options that include all five food groups, lunches from home have no guidelines to follow. Therefore, schools are now trying to rectify the problem by setting such requirements for packed lunches. However, a new debate has opened; how can a public school in a democratic nation require standards of any kind involving the freedom of being able to pack a lunch for your own child? Is this an attack on parent’s rights or an overdue slap across the face to American parents? Both sides of the debate are poised and ready to explain their side of the story. The argument at hand is, whether or not it is fair for schools to restrict packed lunches, or even ban them, for the nutritional well-being of the youth of our nation.
Public schools are being pressured to change their menus to suit the public’s view of healthy food because of the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, and several other countries. While there are many changes, some of them are very minimal and some are simply erratic. Schools have even started counted pizza as a vegetable because of a provision in the healthier school meals bill that, “…allows one-eighth of a cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza to count as one-half cup of vegetables, rather than one-eighth of a cup.” (Shah 11) American schools have several other new restrictions such as the guideline that, “…no more than 30 percent of calories may derive from fat, and less than 10 percent may come from saturated fat.” As well as being required to, “…provide one-third of the recommended daily allowances of protein, vitamins, and calories.” (Hellmich 2) While the public seems to support the healthy changes being made in schools there is one flaw in the plan: packed lunches. Parents who have their own busy and demanding...