Letter to Editor: Changes in lunches ripe for student action

I am in Mr. Winkel’s class of American Literature: 1930’s to Today, and we read Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and it has prompted me to write this paper and take a stand on the topic of the recent school lunches at Cedar Falls High School.

School lunches have always been criticized for whatever reason, but the recent push in the last five years is to get rid of all the junk food and make it healthier. Obesity rates are at the highest they’ve been and are rising, so the government felt the need to control what we can and cannot eat at our school. Martin Luther King Jr described it best in saying, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” They have progressively become more and more gross, and less and less edible for me. It often leaves me no other choice than to just eat a bunch of bags of chips and other snacks that can’t be too healthy instead of the less-than-appetizing entrées they offer. Eating a bunch of snacks often leaves me starving at the end of the day, which I’ve never had a problem with in past years.

The school lunches affect more than just me. There are millions of students in the United States that have to deal with similar food as I do at Cedar Falls. It only leads to more kids going out and eating McDonalds, which is a lot less healthy than the lunches from the past couple years ago. If the creators of this plan think it will even have the slightest effect on the health of students across the country, then they are just delusional.

There is no way I could last the whole year with these lunches; someone needs to step up to it, and step up now. There have been plenty of times they take off the unhealthy food, which I have understood, but now only allowing us to have one ketchup? That’s getting a little ridiculous. It is past our time to stand up, but we still must stand up to it.

I remember clearly from a lunch earlier this year, when I hadn’t heard of the “one ketchup pack per person” rule, and I had only received one packet and asked for more since one packet obviously isn’t enough for all my chicken strips. The lunch lady was polite, and I know she has no control over this topic, but she said each student is only allowed one. I was dumbfounded by it; why they would only allow one ketchup packet, but still offer ice cream and brownies for the Healthy Kids Act. King said, “An unjust law is a code that a numerical power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.” It is just a ridiculous situation we’ve all been thrown into, and I doubt Michelle Obama and the originators of this act follow through with it on themselves and eat similar food to what we must eat daily. Like King added, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” The founder of this project is the nation’s First Lady. I expect more out of a First Lady than this. I am not a big fan of the Obamas; they are good people, though, and I respect them, so it just makes this whole ordeal even that more frustrating.

Some sort of action needs to be taken on this. Some day we all need to boycott the lunches. This could be people bringing in their own lunches, people going out to eat for lunch at a restaurant or people going home to eat. This would be something rather simple to line up in order to show them we are serious about. We would also need to contact the people who started the Healthy Kids Project and let them know how strongly against it we feel. This action is “just” because it is not violent or terribly disruptive in any way. It’s a simple, quiet way to stand up to it. This would be just silly to let this issue go by with a pass with no fighting; we have to do something.

By reading this, I hope you may notice all the flaws in the Healthy Kids Act and want to stand against it like I do. They shouldn’t be able to control and dictate what we want to eat, and if you feel the same, you should join me. No one wants to be told they can’t do something, especially something as simple as what you want to eat for your meals. Don’t let the government dictate simple things like this.

– Senior Brian Allender

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