JESUP, Ga. – Eat like Michelle Obama or go hungry — that’s the attitude of a Georgia preschool.
A parent of a child at Wayne County Head Start says her 4-year-old comes home hungry after the food being served is often stomach-turning and inedible.
“He comes home and he’s constantly hungry,” the boy’s mother, Mattie Genaux, tells WTOC. “Granted, boys are typically always hungry, but he is starving. And his weight, he’s not gaining anything. He is actually not gaining anything at all, and I’m worried.”
Genaux produced photos of moldy french fries, old coleslaw, and other food she claims has been served to children.
Another parent claims her child was hospitalized after “constant vomiting from eating the food” at the school.
Genaux attempted to take matters into her own hands and pack a lunch instead of subjecting her son to the school’s food, but she says the school’s director blocked her from doing that.
“I asked her, ‘Hey, can I bring him lunch? Can I bring him his snacks?’ And it is actually against their school policy. Their policy is that no food is allowed to be brought from outside the facility, even though all the food is, because nothing is cooked on site,” Genaux says.
It wouldn’t be the first time a school has banned home-packed lunches.
In 2011, a Chicago school implemented a ban, theorizing they know better than parents when it comes to their child’s diet.
“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Little Village Academy principal Elsa Carmona told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”
In 2013, a Richmond, Virginia school sent a note home notifying parents could no longer send a homemade lunch, except with a doctor’s note.
“Ms Brooks, Please do not send a lunch to school unless a doctor’s note is sent in connection with this letter,” was written by hand on the typed note, which read:
I have received word from Federal Programs Preschool pertaining to lunches from home. Parents are to be informed that students can only bring lunches from home if there is a medical condition requiring a specific diet, along with a physicians note to that regard.
I am sorry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Stephanie [redacted] the Health Coordinator for Federal Programs Preschool at [redacted].
These likely won’t be the last examples of government schools squeezing parents out of the picture and deciding what is best for children.