'This isn't China, is it?'
Wrong country. Wrong year. The country is Oceania and the year is 1984.
A North Carolina elementary school forced a preschool student to eat cafeteria chicken nuggets for lunch on Jan. 30 after officials reportedly determined that her homemade meal wasn't up to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's standards for healthfulness, according to a report from the Carolina Journal.
The newspaper reported that the four-year-old girl brought a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice in her packed lunch from home. That meal didn't meet with approval from the government agent who was on site inspecting kids' lunches that day.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Child Development and Early Education requires that all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs must meet USDA guidelines. Meals, the guidelines say, must include one serving each of meat, milk and grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables. Those guidelines apply to home-packed lunches as well as cafeteria meals.
The Carolina Journal reported that the girl and her mother wish to remain anonymous to avoid public scrutiny, but she did write to her state representative to complain about it.
"I don't feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home," the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
"What got me so mad is, number one, don't tell my kid I'm not packing her lunch box properly," the girl's mother told a reporter. "I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn't really care for vegetables."
Arbitrary and capricious? Welcome to America, circa 2012. It doesn't "take a village" to raise a kid. It takes a government willing to trample tradition and the Constitution in order to butt their nose into the business of families trying to raise kids right.
Listen to that mother; "I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats." Duh. She is obviously doing her best to supply her child with healthy food choices, while making sure the kid has something in her belly to get her through the afternoon. It's called "compromise" and it's what parents do a hundred million times a day in America.
Not good enough says nanny. The government is telling parents you're too stupid to raise children correctly. We know what's best for your kid so shut up and let us do our job.
I grew up less than 5 minutes from my school so I never had to bring my lunch. But I can imagine the fury that would have erupted from my mother if some idiot bureaucrat had implied she wasn't feeding her kids right.
Then again, it would have been impossible to imagine - except in some dystopian nightmare - that such a thing could ever have happened.