The PJ Tatler

The School Lunch Police Strike Again!

If you thought the incident Bryan reported on last week was an isolated incident, think again.

Diane Zambrano says her 4-year-old daughter, Jazlyn, is in the same West Hoke Elementary School class as the little girl whose lunch gained national attention earlier this week. When Zambrano picked Jazlyn up from school late last month, she was told by Jazlyn’s teacher that the lunch she had packed that day did not meet the necessary guidelines and that Jazlyn had been sent to the cafeteria.

The lunch Zambrano packed for her daughter? A cheese and salami sandwich on a wheat bun with apple juice. The lunch she got in the cafeteria? Chicken nuggets, a sweet potato, bread and milk.

Okay, checklist time.

  • Meat? Salami. Check.
  • Dairy? Cheese. Check.
  • Grains? Bread. Check.
  • Fruit? Apple juice. Check.
  • Over-zealous school busybodies who should keep their noses out of kids’ lunches? Check!

Diane certainly seems to be taking good care of her daughter:

“That‘s not really the school’s responsibility,” she said, adding she’s extremely health-conscious and doesn’t feed her daughter junk food or let her drink soda — or even eat the tater tots or other fried foods often served in the cafeteria.

“They give the choice of pizza and hot donuts…none of that is healthy,” Zambrano said.

Predictably, the entrenched bureaucracy is trying to a) spin, b) cover up, or c) both.

Reached Friday morning, a representative from the Hoke County School Superintendent‘s office denied knowing anything about what happened with Jazlyn’s lunch and said they had no record of a complaint. Reached again, a different representative said they had “no information at this time” about the situation. A West Hoke Elementary official similarly denied any knowledge and referred all questions to the school district.

Principal Samuels previously told the Carolina Journal he “didn’t know anything about” parents being charged for cafeteria meals after the first preschooler’s mother — who has not been identified — came forward.

Bob Barnes, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the McClatchy News Service Thursday that the first preschooler to make headlines just misunderstood her teacher when she thought she was told to ditch her homemade lunch for one from the cafeteria: the cafeteria items were only meant to supplement the food groups missing from the homemade lunch.

“We are not the lunch bag police,” Barnes told McClatchy. “We would never put a child in any type of embarrassing situation. But we are responsible to see that every child gets a nutritious meal.”

Barnes confirmed there was an agent from Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Child Development and Early Education at the school Jan. 30 who examined six student lunches and determined one did not make the nutritional cut — presumably the first little girl whose story made news.

[snip]

In a statement to The Blaze, the Division of Child Development and Early Education said it is investigating what happened but flatly denied any of its employees or contractors “instructed any child to replace or remove any meal items.” The division issued a similar statement to McClatchy even after Barnes said it was one of their agents who examined the lunches.

“It is not DHHS’ policy to inspect, go through or question any child about food items brought from home. The facts we have gathered confirm that no DHHS employee or contractor did this,” the statement said.

Sorry, unnamed spokesperson, the facts we’ve gathered here at the Tatler appear to confirm that someone involved with this is lying through their teeth.

And school bureaucrats wonder why the number of home schooled and private schooled students is steadily rising.

  • 1999: 10% private schooled, 1.7% home schooled.
  • 2003: 10.8% private schooled, 2.2% home schooled.
  • 2007: 11.4% private schooled, 2.9% home schooled.

I’d bet a lot of parents in this part of North Carolina are considering those two options right about now.