Parents slam school staff for ‘inspecting’ children’s packed lunches

A primary school is believed to have a ‘traffic light’ system in place, where staff stop and search children to remove unhealthy food.

Westgate Primary School in Otley, West Yorkshire currently uses a traffic-light system, featuring foods listed in red, amber and green categories.

However a frustrated mum-of-four has since called for the school to review this policy after staff were taking up to an hour to inspect children’s lunch boxes. 

The Telegraph reports that under the new policy, unhealthy snacks are placed in bags and handed back to parents.Banned items, such as crisps and cereal bars, are in the red section, and so are being bagged up and given back.

Amber items include ‘occasional foods’, such as sausage rolls and plain biscuits, where as green foods, like meat and vegetables, can feature as often as parents choose.

Speaking anonymously to the Telegraph, one mother said: ‘The teaching assistants take at least half an hour inspecting children’s packed lunches in the morning while wearing rubber gloves.

‘Kids as young as eight are being given responsibility to tell on their friends if they have inappropriate items in their lunch box.

‘If an item is removed it is bagged-up with the child’s name and given to parents at the end of the day.

‘The school says lunches have improved, they have, but at the expense of the parents and children who are scared stiff of taking the wrong thing in.’

She went on to explain how it was double standards as children with newly enforced ‘healthy packed lunches’ could be sat next to a kid eating a school dinner of sponge pudding and custard.

The policy, which started in September 2016, is designed to ‘encourage healthy eating’ according to Helen Carpenter, the headteacher of Westgate Primary School, and she claims that they’re part of ‘many other schools’ who have done the same.

‘The policy is designed to support the different needs that exist within families including budget and time constraints and we take a flexible approach in individual cases where children have significant food issues.’

She added: ‘We only remove items with high fat or sugar content and replace with a healthy alternative.

‘The majority of our parents are very supportive of this policy and since it was introduced there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of fruit and vegetables in packed lunches.’

What do you think? Has the school gone too far, or is it a good idea? Let us know in the comments box below.