Schools across America have been educating children on healthy diet and eating habits, apparently from Kindergarten on. There would be nothing wrong with that, except that now many school are banning snacks they consider to be “unhealthy”.
In an elementary school in a Durham, Ontario, one family became furious after their son’s teacher chose to take a snack out of the child’s lunchbox and throw it out in front of him. The teacher told him he would no longer be able to eat that.
What was in the bag that was so terrible? Elaina Daoust, the mother, says she packed her son a slice of banana bread, with chocolate chips. She specifically chose it to pacify her son, who is a picky eater. The school also discourages children from bringing homemade foods because some students have nut allergies. Daoust specifically chose this packaged snack because it was supposed to fit all the school’s requirements.
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Elaina Daoust, a mother of two district students, says she became “infuriated” last year when her son was told he could not eat his morning snack, a small piece of banana bread, because it contained chocolate chips. He was told that he would instead have to eat the grapes from his lunch.
“He came home with a chart (listing healthy snack ideas) and told me he and the teacher talked about it and healthy choices. She also sent a note to me. I was really, really, really mad for several reasons,” Daoust told The Star.
The mother explained that her son is very picky eater and that she chose the packaged banana bread because teachers discourage home-baked treats due to allergy concerns. The snack was labeled as being nut-free.
Douse says her son’s new school, where he started this year, has given her no issues so far.
Healthy eating and nutrition has become a major part of Ontario’s health and physical education curriculum in recent years.
Officials with the Durham Catholic District School Board say that there is a difference between teaching children to eat healthy and critiquing what a child brings to school.
“There is nowhere in our policy that says our staff is allowed to take food away from a student,” James MacKinnon, a teaching consultant with the DCDSB said.
McKinnon added that while teaching students about making healthy decisions is important, teachers should not single any students out.
“It’s up to the students to share that information with their parents, we’re educating and promoting but not dealing with it at snack time,” he said.
More than 30 district parents have shared stories about their children having food taken away. Foods taken away or discouraged in classrooms and in lunch include Goldfish, granola bars, string cheese, Jello, juice boxes, pudding, fruit snacks, raisins, Animal Crackers, chocolate milk, and Sun Chips.