Fernando Dominguez cut the figure of a young revolutionary leader during a recent lunch period at his elementary school.
"Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?" the seventh-grader shouted to his lunch mates in Spanish and English.
Dozens of hands flew in the air and fellow students shouted along: "We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!"
Fernando waved his hand over the crowd and asked a visiting reporter: "Do you see the situation?"
At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria. Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices...
A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals.
"While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments," Monique Bond wrote in an email. "In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom." [emphasis added]
The principal is not "encouraging choices" of any kind. (Only in the Orwellian world of modern education could banning everything but what the state allows be called an exercise in choice.) The principal is dictating what these children are eating pure and simple. Like every other tyrant since the beginning of time they try to disguise their dictatorial impulses as being all benevolent intentions and sunshine. In reality it is merely thuggish and masks a real contempt not only for the children but also their parents.
Related: See my take on the "idea" of "Food Justice."