Parent Perspective: Successful Advocacy for Healthy School Lunch

July 26, 2010

Today
we have a blog by HSC intern Christine Andersen. Christine recently
completed her freshman year of high school and will be sharing her
perspective on the HSC blog throughout her internship this summer.

Christine’s first post, Student Perspective: Making the Change to Healthier School Food, described the transition to healthier food and the impact it had on
students. In today’s post, Christine interviews her father Bill, who was
instrumental in making the change at her school. Thanks to Bill for
sharing this perspective!


C: How did you know where to begin in the process of improving the lunch program?
B:
I did not know at first, but I started by writing a letter to the
principal of my children's grade school. I did not get much response, so
then I wrote to a school board member, and finally the superintendent.


C: You ended up speaking in Springfield about reform in school lunches. What did you talk about?
B:
I spoke at the hearing for the junk food ban and testified in favor of
it. While I was there, it amazed me how many school nutritionists were
against the ban.


C: Are you still active in anything related to school nutrition?
B: I am still involved with HSC and in the future, I would like to work on larger projects and with other districts in the area.

C: What have you heard from the parents of my peers regarding the previous food?
B: In general, parents were not unhappy with the old food because they did not realize how bad it was.

C:
As a member of the school board finance committee, how did you see the
change in the lunch program affect the finances of the school?

B: Contrary to others’ predictions, finances of the lunch program improved greatly after the changes.

C: Do you think it is possible for other schools to make a change similar to that of our school?
B:
Yes, it definitely is. Those who argue against it argue that kids won't
like it and participation will go down, or that it will cost too much
and the school will lose money. However, in our case and in the cases of
other schools I have read about, none of this was true!


C: What words of advice can you give to others who would like to go and make a change in their schools?

B:
Parents have the responsibility to try and improve their lunch programs
and should not feel intimidated by the school boards or school district
employees who say it cannot be done.


Plus: Read about the new lunch program at Christine's school in her first blog, here.