The evil of the snack, and meltaway moms

devil ducks at cafe
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Ill temper seized me today as the after-school pickup gossip was full out outrage about some mysterious Policy or state law. The school will no longer pass out snacks (which the parents brought each month – boxes of crackers.) Instead we must pack an individual snack for our child every day.

No one likes this policy. Now some kids will have a snack and some won’t. What’s with this law? Is it a law? What’s up? Why doesn’t the school, the district, the principal, whatever, communicate? Also, many of the incoming 1st grade moms didn’t know that Thursdays are early pickup day and they don’t have childcare backup. A bad situation. “I’m going to complain to the principal…” was the refrain.

“Oh look, here he comes now, let’s ask him about this stuff,” I say, and walk over to the dude, who has always been perfectly willing to speak to me. “Hey Mike, we were just wondering about this snack policy thing…”

Hey presto, it’s magic, five or six moms melt away like scared little birds. I am left to speak for myself. Fine. (Not fine at all, and it’s not the first time this exact thing has happened, and I don’t appreciate it.)

Mike was evasive at first and referred to how it was the Law. I asked which law and why doesn’t anyone say? I pressed. Mike busts into a grin and sweat, and explains that as part of No Child Left Behind, or NCLB, schools are only allowed to give food to kids under specific conditions and it has to be specific food that fills some kind of requirements for healthy eating. For example, nothing that has a sugar coating. “So, Mike, why stop all the snacks? It was all crackers anyway. Why not just have the district, or the school, set a policy?” Mike says they’re afraid of losing their federal funding (?! I have to say… yeah riiiiight.) if they make a wrong move. “So, the district can’t use its own judgement? They could, but they’re afraid to? ” “Well, our funding…” “That’s silly. They should set reasonable guidelines and say what’s acceptable.” “Well, a few months from now maybe the district nutritionist will give us a list.” “So until then only certain kids get snacks? Seems like a bad solution.”

I walked away at this point… A bit abruptly, which I’m sorry for … I don’t have any reason to get up the principal’s nose about this or any other issue. Obviously it’s the district’s decision not his. Mostly I just had to leave out of disgust with the other women who wanted to complain, but could not even manage to ask a direct question of another human being who might know the answer. The district administration comes in for my disdain at this moment for not having an ounce of gumption. I wonder what other Really Stupid Legislations they’re knuckling under at this moment? Since I’m writing smack about them I should probably call and ask directly.

I also get hot under the collar about people whose own negative body image leads them to stand around making judgemental comments about poor people being fat, and how we need to help them, because at home they just watch tv and eat fritos. “We need to have salad options in the cafeteria!” Hello! Whatever! Maybe 2 kids out of a hundred are going to eat a salad. Are they crazy? “I don’t give a rat’s ass if my kid eats an Oreo at school,” I said, in the grouchy, earthy way that makes me so popular in the capri-pants crowd. “I don’t need some pushy dieter telling me that sugar is child abuse. Give my kid a graham cracker for god’s sake.”

I am going to hell for posting this. Thus, the devil ducks and cake in the photo above.

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