We previously discussed whether England was becoming a “Nanny State.” (here and here). As much as I love London (and Londoners), it appears to have plunged into realm of government regulation of virtually every aspect of life and family management. An example is the new directive from the British government to school officials that they can and should use their “common law powers” to search student lunches to remove and destroy “unhealthy or inappropriate.” Education minister Lord Nash issued the directive to cover unhealthy items listed by the school that are now barred. Teachers can now “confiscate, keep or destroy” such snacks.
As the parents of four, my wife and I tend to be fairly strict about junk food, but we try to find a happy balance. We work hard to put together healthy lunches. A couple days a week, the kids may have a cookie or other treat to jazz up their lunch. The idea of a teacher then overriding our parental judgment and confiscating such an item is otherworldly.
Nevertheless, Education minister Lord Nash has said that such searches are permitted, though he added that they should be done with the consent of the pupils: “There is nothing to prevent schools from having a policy of inspecting lunch boxes for food items that are prohibited under their school food policies. A member of staff may confiscate, keep or destroy such items found as a result of the search if it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances.”
We have seen similar moves in the United States, though there appears far greater public backlash to trend. I am not one of the critics of the First Lady for her effort to improve the healthy content of school lunches though the management of program has been rather . . . well . . . hamhanded. I think it has been a great idea to remove soda machines and candy machines from schools and reduce fried foods. However, the resulting menus have often been distinctly unappetizing. If the kids are not going to eat the lunches (which appears a widespread problem), it defeats the purpose. Regardless, there must be a line preserved around parental authority and family choice in the rising (and feeding) of their children.
What do you think?