Shooting the Messenger

In the past, I have bemoaned the new federal guidelines that are creating such a tremendous challenge for our food service staff.  You can read the previous posts here and here.  It seems I’m not alone.  Some high school students in Wisconsin have decided to boycott their school cafeteria over the new regulations, noting that they have no objection to the healthier lunches, it’s the portions sizes that are the problem.  This issue is especially problematic for our athletes.

While I whole-heatedly agree with these students, this is a classic case of shooting the messenger.  There is nothing the food service workers (or their local school board) can do about the regulations.  Maybe the boycott will bring some much needed media attention to the issue and highlight the fact that once again, the USDA painting with too broad of a brush.  Not all schools and not all students are facing the same problems, and sweeping federal legislation is not the solution.

Perhaps it’s too naive to think that we will ever return to the days when local school boards will have the ability to choose the best option for the students in their community regarding issues like this.  The problem for local school officials is that although they don’t have any say in how this type of legislation is created or implemented, they get the blowback (as I’m sure the cafeteria workers in Mukwonago can attest).  And in all reality, we’ve come to accept this fact to some degree.  I guess I’m just asking that when you get mad enough to shoot the messenger, we would appreciate it if you would consider choosing a small caliber.

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About Jay Harnack

Superintendent of Sublette County School District #1
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3 Responses to Shooting the Messenger

  1. It’s defiantly an issue for my two high school athletes! It’s nice to have the a la carte option at a reasonable price. Between the normal lunch and adding an item or two, they are able to get plenty to eat! They also have healthy snacks in their locker and back packs to eat right before practice starts. Thanks for sharing the administration side of the issue.

  2. Rollie Myers says:

    Well put, Jay.

  3. Brandi Crockett says:

    Although the guidelines are challenging, I cannot say enough great things about SCSD#1’s Gail Wilkerson and her staff. I think they go above and beyond in trying to get our kids the most they can from what they have to work with. My kids love the school lunches and have yet to complain about not getting enough to eat. And if they are happy, I am happy…usually.

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