Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Parental Rights.org on the usurpation of parental authority over children’s lunches at a public school in Chicago. (I’m so glad we homeschool–we can eat bonbons for lunch in our jammies if we want to!)
What’s for Lunch? And Who Decides?
By now you’ve probably seen the Chicago Tribune story about the Chicago public school that doesn’t allow students to bring lunches from home. One parent explained the issue thus: “when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food.”
But there is always control over the food. The only question is, “Who is doing the controlling?”
At Little Village Academy, a public school in Chicago, the answer is Principal Elsa Carmona, who six years ago decided lunches from home must be banned. “Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. She has obviously never met my wife – or any one of countless other moms and dads who go to great lengths to see that their children stay healthy and properly fed.
“This is such a fundamental infringement on parental responsibility,” said J. Justin Wilson of the Center for Consumer Freedom, as quoted by the Tribune. And we heartily agree. But we are not surprised.
In 2005 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fields v. Palmdale School District determined that a traditional fundamental parental right “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door.” (427 F.3d 1197, 2005) So, in Chicago the school can mandate that parents shell out $2.25 daily for a child’s lunch or let their child go hungry.
Where will the madness end?
Passage of the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a good place to start. By restoring the traditional standard of fundamental parental rights, we can begin once again to empower parents to make the good, healthy decisions for their children that they are currently not allowed to make. We believe, as the Supreme Court once said, that “[t]he statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition” Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979).
And that includes deciding what’s for lunch!