“This policy will eliminate the risk for any students accidentally bringing in cannabis infused food items to school.”
A Chicago public elementary school is reacting to the state’s recent decision to legalize adult-use cannabis by changing its lunch policy, ostensibly to protect kids from the evils of pot, and parents are not pleased.
The outrage kicked off a few weeks ago when parents at South Loop Elementary School received a notice from the school.
“Items for lunch and snack time must be store-bought and in single-serve packaging,” read part the notice. “If a student brings non-prepackaged items to school, they will not be able to eat it during lunch or snack time.”
And what was the justification for the new pre-packaged policy? “This policy will eliminate the risk for any students accidentally bringing in cannabis-infused food items to school,” the notice explained.
Like many local parents on the receiving end of the notice, Vikram Sundararaman and his wife were “appalled” by the news.
“We package snacks all day for our kids,” Sundararaman, the father of a five-year-old and a seven-year-old, told CBS2. “We give them apples. We pack their sunbutter and jelly sandwiches.”
Based on the new rules, it seems that items like homemade sandwiches or a ziploc full of chips or baby carrots would also be verboten.
“I’d have to buy prepackaged Goldfish, rather than getting them bulk at Sam’s Club and putting them in Ziploc bags,” Sundararaman said.
Like Sundararman, other parents were furious at what they felt was a heavy-handed effort to protect their kids. “There was immediately a petition that was started, because several parents make only homemade foods for their kids, and several kids only eat homemade foods,” he explained.
Days later, the school admitted the changes were confusing and causing considerable controversy, so it sent home an updated notice deeming fruit, chips and sandwiches stored in Ziploc bags acceptable in the lunchroom. That said, Sundararaman wishes the school had taken the time to discuss the policy with parents first.
“I think that if you’re going to put out a policy, that policy should be well-thought-through. They should have, especially when we’re talking about school children, they should have the input of parents and the community before the policy is put into place,” he added.
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Written by Emma Spears