An eruption of aggravation about the massive federal intervention into the foods American schoolchildren must now eat in public school cafeterias is never far away in the Obama era.
This week’s fury has occurred in Richmond, Mo., a small town about 40 miles northwest of Kansas City — and the self-proclaimed “Mushroom Capital of the World.”
Students at the two local taxpayer-funded elementary schools and the middle school came home on Monday with a letter about “Frozen Friday,” reports Kansas City Fox affiliate WDAF-TV.
As the letter explains, “Frozen Friday” is a bribe to get students to buy lunches prepared by cafeteria workers because sales are seriously lagging.
The bribe involves $1 ice cream — but only for kids who buy school lunch (at regular full or reduced prices).
“This will be a treat for the kids that [sic] are participating in our school lunch program,” the letter reads. “We will not be offering it to the kids who bring a lunch from home. This is in hopes of bringing up participation.”
Why is participation low? It’s because kids don’t like the food lunch ladies are ladling up this year.
The promotion angered local parents.
“Parents all over town are outraged by this letter,” a discontented dad told WDAF. “Most of our children take their lunch due to food preference or medical/allergy reasons and should not be ‘bribed’ to eat school lunch.”
Another parent said it’s not fair to make ice cream more expensive for kids who bring their lunches from home. “It irritated me that they weren’t giving a fair opportunity to everybody,” the mad mom told the station.
Neither parent wanted to be identified by name.
Local school district superintendent Mike Aytes apologized about the letter and promised that ice cream prices would be the same for everyone.
“There was evidently some miscommunication,” Aytes told the Fox affiliate.
He suggested that fault lies with employees of Opaa!, the food service company with which the district has contracted for school lunches. The school district did not approve the letter, Aytes said.
The reasons why “bringing up participation” in school lunch-eating is necessary in Richmond, Mo. aren’t clear. However, the deeply unpopular Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has caused kids to stop eating public-school cafeteria food in droves. (RELATED: Kentucky Students To First Lady Michelle Obama: Your Food ‘Tastes Like Vomit’)
Under the complex legislation, which has long been a signature issue for first lady Michelle Obama, participating schools take federal money but must stringently limit the amount of sugar, fat and sodium in every morsel of food sold at schools. Also, in what presumably falls outside the hunger-free aspect of the act, there are calorie caps.
Some school districts — particularly wealthier ones — have opted out of the healthy-lunch regime and the federal dollars that come with it.
In other news, Obama admitted last month that she wears Spanx. “We all wear them,” the first lady swore during a speech to students and fashion moguls at a White House fashion education event. (RELATED: Michelle Obama Admits She Wears Spanx And Thinks Everybody Else Does, Too)