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Latino Daily News

Tuesday April 12, 2011

Chicago School’s “No Home Lunch” Policy Angers Parents

Chicago School’s “No Home Lunch” Policy Angers Parents

Photo: Little Village school bans lunches from home (Photo not actual lunch from school)

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A school in Chicago’s predominantly Hispanic, Little Village neighborhood is making headlines from coast to coast, as its attempt to make student lunches healthier has parents up in arms.

Administrators at Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side enacted a school-wide rule Six years ago that bans students from bringing their lunch to school, and instead requires them to eat the often-healthier school-provided lunch.

Principal Elsa Carmona said she stands by the six-year-old rule, and sayd is was put in place after many children were seen bringing “bottles of soda and flaming hot chips” for their midday meal.

“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school. It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception,” Carmona told the Chicago Tribune.

It is unclear why the parents and their advocates are suddenly revolting against the rule, but family members like Anna Torrez, say the predominately Hispanic school doesn’t account for finicky eaters, or for the fact that it’s not any better that they choose not to eat at all.

“[My grandson] is really picky about what he eats,” said Torrez. “I think they should be able to bring the food from home. Other schools let them. But at this school, they don’t.”

Not all parents are against the “school lunch or no lunch” policy, however. Parent Miguel Medina said, “The school food is very healthy and when they bring the food from home, there is no control over the food.”

So far, the outraged parents’ are not winning, as the Chicago Public Schools’ spokesperson Monique Bond stated there is little the district officials can really do.

“While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments,” said Bond. “In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom.”