From Pundit & Pundette comes this
And then they came for the Spiderman lunchboxes
I never thought I’d see the day. Kids’ cartoon-themed lunchboxes are out? As a homeschooler and cultural dropout, I wouldn’t have known. But non-dropout Petula Dvorak testifies that DC area public school nannies do not approve of the use of such containers. And even Ms. Dvorak, no critic of the school-knows-best culture, seems a little surprised. In fact, schools are micromanaging not only what’s in and on kids’ lunchboxes, but every other detail that goes into the preparation (and clean up!) of a non-school lunch. Dvorak:
The lunchbox itself can be fraught with peril. Anything commercial is bad, bad, bad. Spider-Man? Hannah Montana? Clone Wars? Totally out. Might as well call social services.
If a school doesn’t want to outright ban such things, the teacher gently suggests “non-violent” themes (good luck if you’ve got a boy) or urges you to “Think outside the box!” when selecting kids’ gear.
I made this apparently huge faux pas with my older son’s first lunchbox, a Buzz Lightyear model that was singularly garish amid the neat row of noncommercial, whimsical containers from L.L. Bean and Hanna Andersson.
Buzz’s smiling endorsement of the Disney mega-machine cost me $8 at Toys R Us. Meanwhile, the simplicity of a caterpillar, antique robot or whimsical zoo scene costs more than a fancy downtown lunch.
When we bought our lunchboxes this year (nonlicensed, generic robots at Target — win!), I realized that there was a whole host of other things I was supposed to be afraid of.
“Ultra Safe! PVC Free! Worry free!” read the label hanging from the robot’s ear, assuring me that there is also no lead to be found in the squishy lunch bag. Really? I thought all I had to fear was the other parents. I totally forgot to worry about the physical, not just psychological, harm that Buzz was inflicting on my child.
As for what’s inside the lunchbox? Schools want you to save the environment (and cut down on their trash), so they ask you to package everything in separate, reusable containers.
When you also follow their guidelines on providing one food of every group and every color, that means you have about eight pieces of plastic to wash every night. Wait, I have two kids. So that’s 16.
Oh, and by the way, at least one school in Montgomery County asks you to hand wash all those tiny Tupperwares, rather than use the dishwasher. So as not to release any carcinogenic BPAs from the plastic, of course.
The Nanny State strikes again