Education

Lunch Box Brigade

By Elizabeth Rich — January 24, 2008 1 min read

The U.S. isn’t the only country trying to curb childhood obesity. In the UK, teachers are being “urged” in a cross-government strategy to police student lunch boxes for unhealthy choices, including “crisps,” fizzy soda, and chocolate. While schools here in the U.S. also warn of mealtime contraband and many districts are now requiring laps at recess, healthier choices in vending machines and school cafeterias, teachers so far do not typically include lunch box inspections on their list of required duties.

And teachers in Britain aren’t too wild about the idea, either. The concern is that the burden of monitoring lunch boxes could be taking teacher and administration duties “a step too far,” according to John Dunford, head of ASCL, the teacher leader’s union for secondary schools. Dunford worries that the government could reduce teachers to the food police, “If we have a healthy lunch box policy—it’s a pretty short distance between that and Ofsted [the state inspection agency] coming in and saying you are failing in that duty if they spot a packet of crisps in a lunch box.” Maybe the UK government is just looking for an early escape route to making good on its promise to pay adults to lose weight.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.