Parents in Missouri are expressing anger after their school district announced it would no longer allow students to eat fast food any time during lunch or school hours.
The new policy for the Richmond School District was announced on social media earlier this month; Dear Elementary posted news of the change on its Facebook page on Aug. 15, and it was promptly met with backlash.
"At the end of the day, we want to be able to decide on our own," Chris Swafford, a father of five kids in the school district, told Fox 4. "I thought it was overstepping at its finest. It's up to parents what their children eat."
“Parents' lives are busy. They sometimes have things going on, and sometimes, grabbing a 10-piece nugget from McDonald's and taking it to their child shouldn't be an issue," he added.
Many others on Facebook agreed with Swafford, arguing that the school has no right to dictate what their children are allowed to eat.
“I seriously think school board needs to reconsider this,” one commenter wrote.
“Of all the things that need attention with kids… and they crack down on this?” someone else wrote.
“I don’t agree with this. At all. I’m the parent. It is my job to parent my child and make those decisions. What she eats, how much she eats, what she wears, how she does her hair, if I keep her home because she is sick, those are MY decisions The schools sole responsibility is to provide a safe, positive learning environment for my children to get an education. They are not, and will not be making parenting decisions for my children,” another angry parent commented.
However, some parents support the district’s decision, saying it promotes lunch equality and healthier eating habits.
“I’m not sure the reason, but applaud the school board for what seems to be a healthy change for the students,” one person wrote.
“Oddly I support this. I would hope they are doing this for the right reasons though. That being it’s simply not right for kids who do not ever get these things to watch the other classmates eat it in front of them. Some parents can’t afford to bring child fast food,” someone else commented.
“So what about all of the other kids that are going to be complaining that your kid got a happy meal and they didn’t? What about the kids who parents can’t afford to bring their children lunch or something like that? Are you really gonna let your kid eat their happy meal in front of all these other kids? They’re avoiding those issues all together with this policy,” another supporter wrote.
The Richmond School District Superintendent, Mike Aytes, told Fox 4 in an email that staff members were too busy with the first day of school to comment on this policy change.