Just so you’re aware, this is something that I wrote back in August of 2006…

Where to begin, where to begin?

Do I talk about falling down the steps, hurting my left butt-bone and getting rug burns down my arm?

Or do I talk about how someone I know won’t go near the women’s lingerie department when she has her kids with her because it’s inappropriate to display undergarments so predominantly?

Or maybe I discuss how I became physically ill after riding a ride at Paramount’s King’s Island and it pretty much wrecked me for the entire day.

No, instead I’ll talk about the free breakfast for every student at my kids’ school. That’s right. Each morning, every kid is given breakfast. It appears as though students do better if they have full bellies. Sounded like a spiffy idea to me…at first.

This breakfast consists of: one of those individual cereal boxes (in this case, Froot Loops), either a small carton of milk or orange juice, and an individually wrapped graham cracker. Every student must take the breakfast. They can choose to eat it, save it for later, or put it in the “recycling bag.”

My first reaction to this was, “Why do they HAVE to take it. Why can’t they decline it if they want?” I have since come to find out that this is just a way to “pad” the statistics. Look! EVERY CHILD was given breakfast! Yay! What a roaring success!!!

Whatever.

After more thought, there are other concerns about this program. Let’s pretend the kid(s) opt to decline the breakfast. ALL OF IT goes into the “recycle bag.” Yep, the box of cereal, along with the milk/juice, and the graham cracker…all into the same bag. Well, it seems to me that the graham crackers run the risk of getting crushed in this bag. Additionally, it would be interesting to find out how long these milks sit in the bag before being “recycled.”

And finally, there are several parents at school who watch what their kids eat. I know of several of them who are very strict about the amount of sugar they allow their kids to have. Froot Loops and cinammon graham crackers don’t make it on the list of “acceptable foods” for the kids. So what are they to do?

Certainly, the wheat side of me says that if you educate your kid and let them know that you don’t want them eating this type of food, then the kid will take the breakfast (as required) and then put it in the “recycle bag.”

However, the frosted side of me says that kids will be kids and when given a sugary treat they will eat it. Especially if it’s “forbidden Froot.” And as far as I know, there is no “diabetic-friendly” breakfast alternative.

So here’s the setup. The bell rings in the morning and everyone lines up. Intermediate grades 4-6 (approx 210 students) go straight to the cafeteria to get their breakfast. They take it to their homerooms and eat it there. Primary grades K-3 (approx 250 students) go to their rooms first and then head to the cafeteria to get breakfast and bring it back to the room to eat it. As you can imagine, that’s not easy to coordinate and it takes time.

WELL…a few years ago the school system changed the length of the school day to add half hour of instructional time to the day. It appears to me that extra half hour is now being used to give breakfast to kids who’ve most likely already HAD breakfast.

AND…lunch is at 11-11:30 and 11:30-12 and 12-12:30. Already there have been issues where kids haven’t been eating their lunches because they are still full from eating their homemade AND school-provided breakfasts.

This whole thing just smacks of someone saying, “Y’know what would be great? If we could make sure all our kids are fed.” Follow that up with someone else who said, “By Jove, I think you’ve got something there! Let’s do it!”

And, you know what? I think it’s a noble idea. Not necessarily sure I agree that the school system should be responsible for feeding our kids, and feeding them sugar on top of it all. I think the whole execution of it needs some work.

***UPDATE***
It didn’t take long for them to realize that compulsory breakfast was not working out. Breakfast is still available, but only in the morning before the bell rings and only for those who want to eat it.