An Indiana school district took first lady Michelle Obama’s advice regarding healthy school lunches to heart. The district lost $300,000 in revenue in the process when students stopped buying lunches.
When the Carmel Clay school district instituted the new federal school lunch guidelines put in place at the urging Mrs. Obama, its food service personnel thought they were doing a good thing. But things didn’t turn out quite as expected.
“I’m a registered dietitian, said Amy Anderson, the food service director for the district. “I used to feel that I was an educator and part of the education system. I currently feel like I’m a food cop,” she told JCOnline according to EAG News.
And an under-appreciated food cop at that.
“I don’t get credit for the 98 percent of our kids who are within normal weight range. I only get slammed for the 2 to 3 percent who aren’t.”
She said the changes may “drive her into retirement,” according to JC.
This isn’t a problem peculiar to this particular district — it’s pretty much universal.
“Kids eat with their eyes. When they saw that smaller portion, that freaked them out,” said Jennifer Rice, food service director of Lebanon Community School Corp., also in central Indiana.
“I’ve been in the school district forever, and they all know me and they’ll go, ‘Mrs. Rice, we are hungry,’” the paper quoted her as saying.
Lori Shofroth, Tippecanoe, Ind. School Corp.’s food service director, said many students are dumping their food, which gives other kids a bad example.
“They’re teaching our kids with this meal pattern that it’s OK to throw away,” she said “We did a waste study on three different schools, and there was a huge amount of waste. That was just with produce, fruit or vegetables or milk.”
Mrs. Obama’s advice may have been well-intentioned, but as the Carmel Clay school district discovered, the road to insolvency — just like the road to hell — is paved with good intentions.
Instead of listening to the first lady, the school districts should have heeded the sage advice of former President George H.W. Bush:
“I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”