If ever there was evidence that freedom was considered too expensive for government, this is it. Over the weekend a British government adviser recommended schools ban packed lunches that kids bring to school because of concerns they are fuelling obesity. According to a report in the UK’s Telegraph:
[T]eachers should prevent pupils bringing their own lunches into school – and ban them from visiting fast food outlets – amid continuing fears over the state of children’s diets.
According to the article there is a desperate need for kids to learn how to cook and cooking classes should therefore be provided in school. That’s a debatable point, but certainly schools have provided home economics in the past and there’s no reason to suggest it should not be part of a well-rounded education, though in an increasing populated curriculum.
But if packed lunches are banned, the only choice is for parents to be forced to pay for canteen lunches provided by schools. According to the article:
Currently, around 40 per cent of children eat school meals, with the remainder bringing in packed lunches or leaving school at lunchtime to visit local fast food stores.
This is sounding all very statist. It’s also a tad ironic. For years we have all been told the problem with obesity is sugary, salty fatty foods served at fast food restaurants. Apparently now it is what Mum or Dad is sending to school. The government adviser continues:
[S]chools should consider banning packed lunches and requiring pupils to remain on site over lunch to drive up investment in school catering services. He suggested billions of pounds was needed to enable all schools to provide high-quality healthy options for pupils.
Of course, what a school serves on its grounds should be up to them. Equally while kids are in their care, they should decide whether they can leave, or not, based on the school rules. But if schools are going to be forced to provide lunch cause kids cannot leave school grounds and they aren’t allowed to pack lunches, who will pay? Presumably parents. Which is all very well if they can afford the cost of canteen meals everyday. But what if they can’t? Normally the kids who can’t afford canteen meals are the same ones that bring packed lunches.