The other week I wrote about how parents were complaining that schools weren’t teaching their kids to swim, stating unequivocally that it was the school’s responsibility to do so. That school was about preparing their kids for the future not just passing a maths exam, it was to give them life skills and the tools to grow into wise and productive adults. Not when it comes to food though apparently. No, then it’s all ‘hands off my sausage roll’ and ‘don’t tell me that I can’t force feed my child processed carcinogenic meat.’
A Bradford school has banished sausage rolls and pork pies from children’s lunch boxes in an attempt to crack down on unhealthy food stuffs – Shirley Manor Primary academy in Bradford is the school in question and parents are up in arms about the fact they can no longer prise their children’s faces open and pour suet directly into their infant bodies.
We can talk about body shaming, we can talk about a culture that is Instagram obsessed, body conscious and superficial but we cannot also dismiss the undeniable fact that as a nation we are getting steadily fatter and as a consequence less healthy. In Bradford around 20% of children in reception classes were overweight or obese. This figure rises to above the national average to nearly 40% by age 10 – 11. It is clear based on those statistics, as well as the broader national picture that not all parents can be trusted to make the healthy choice for their child but instead just the easier one. The arguments presented are utterly fallacious, saying your child is a picky, or fussy eater is a crutch. There’s not a child I’ve met that wouldn’t favour a sausage roll and crisps over cucumber and carrot sticks but as adults it is our responsibility to encourage that choice even if that means the removal of the option. A child’s fussiness is probably in direct correlation with the parents’ willingness to be unpopular. A sausage roll for example is around 64% fat, delicious yes but by no means a necessity for a child. Yes, it’s true it’s not my place to dictate what is necessary or otherwise but certainly anyone with half a functioning mind can see the inevitable consequence of teaching kids from a young age to eschew vegetables, fresh fruit, yoghurt, grains etc in favour of food stuffs that are 2/3rds fat. One of the parents at the school suggested that one or two sausage rolls a week would be a fair compromise.
Your children are at school for 6 hours, some of them even less as the ban is also aimed at 3 year olds, give them chocolaty shit for breakfast and ram them full of transfats, nuggets, chips, crisps and fizzy drinks from half 3 until bed time if you so choose but at least give them the chance of one meal a day that is nutritionally balanced so they have the opportunity to know the difference. This is not a civil liberties issue, or if it is then the argument must surely hold that the children have the right to understand and learn about the impact that a poor diet will have not just on their future health but also their happiness, life expectancy, employment opportunities and romantic life.
You cannot hold the schools and the teachers to account when they don’t do something that you can’t be arsed to, like teach them how to survive drowning but insist your rights as a parent are being trampled upon when they try and prevent them contracting type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure. Being outraged or angry about something is not the same thing as being right.