With Congress considering the reauthorization of the federal Child Nutrition Act, which regulates school lunches, there’s a renewed focus on what kids should be eating. Unfortunately, some activists in government are taking it way too far. Two weeks ago the board of supervisors in Santa Clara County, California, voted to prohibit restaurants from serving toys with popular kids’ meals. And last week a third-grader at a Texas elementary school was given one week’s detention for the “crime” of—wait for it—possessing a single piece of candy.
You can’t make this stuff up.
School officials defended their decision to punish the 10-year-old, weakly citing a state law barring “minimal nutrition” foods in school. The Texas Agriculture Department has since swooped in to clear the air, telling the school that the supposed “infraction” in fact “would not be considered a violation of the state or federal nutrition program.” Unfortunately, the response came after the third-grader had already served her time.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel also douses today’s nanny-state philosophy with a load of common sense. In an editorial yesterday, the paper writes that parents, not government, should be the decision-makers for kids:
If a Hot Wheels car or a SpongeBob watch or a small Barbie doll is going to make your kid obese, you have more problems than just too many Chicken McNuggets.
What officials should do is encourage parents to have their kids get exercise. Encourage parents to make the sensible decisions about their kids' food. Encourage parents to set limits as to how often they will go to fast food restaurants. Encourage parents to say "no" more often.
And then step back and let parents be the ones to make decisions about their children's eating habits.