Students, parents, and teachers in a tiny Kansas school district have launched a revolt against new federal school lunch guidelines by producing a video parody that shows hungry children collapsing in classrooms and ends with students burning copies of the government regulations.
Residents in Sharon Springs, Kan. say the regulations mandated by The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 have resulted in more hungry kids. And under the guidelines, teachers would be in violation of the law by giving hungry children an extra chicken tender.
So, students and faculty members joined forced to produce the music video. And their message is simple – let Kansans run their own lunch rooms instead of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
The video is performed to the tune of the song “We Are Young.” The lyrics read: “We are hungry. Set the policy on fire. It can burn brighter than the sun.”
The video shows children collapsing from hunger during athletic events while others raid the school kitchen in search of food. Another student can be seen wearing a shirt that reads: “I love beef.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) told Fox News the tiny school district has managed to explain the chief complaint over the Obama administration’s guidelines.
“The whole purpose was to enhance their nutrition and actually the opposite is happening,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). “The lunches may be a little bit healthier but if the kids aren’t going to eat it and there aren’t enough calories for the kids, you’re making the problem worse.”
Under the new guidelines, school districts must serve more whole grains, daily portions of fruits and vegetables, less sugar and salt and only low-fat or non-fat milk. But the lunches must also meet caloric restrictions. And under the government guidelines, a high school student is not allowed to have more than 850 calories.
“Any parent would look at some of these lunch trays and say that’s not enough food for my kid for a seven-hour school day,” Huelskamp told Fox News.
That’s why he joined Iowa Rep. Steve King to introduce the “No Hungry Kids Act.” The legislation would repeal the USDA’s rule that created the new, controversial standards.
“Let the school cooks, let the parents, let the school district decide this – not some bureaucrat in the Obama White House,” Huelskamp said.
That’s what Dave Porter would like to see happen. He’s the superintendent of Wallace County Schools – home to some 200 students.
“Our kids are not getting the fuel they need under the new federal guidelines,” Porter told Fox News. “It’s basically just not enough food.”
Porter praised the students and teachers involved in creating the parody – calling it an “unofficial” school protest” – that had his blessing.
“There is a right way to revolt and there is a wrong way,” he said. ‘I consider this to be the right way – showing creativity and bringing public awareness to what is considered to be – I don’t know if you want to go so far as to call it an injustice.”
Porter said he’s hearing from educators across Kansas just as upset at the federal government’s rules.
The biggest issue is portion size. For example – last year students were given five chicken tenders at lunch. But this year they are only getting three. And local schools are forbidden under the law from giving children additional food.
“This is what is dictated to us,” Porter said.
It’s especially difficult in Sharon Springs because many of the children work on family farms – and need those extra calories.
“They are just not getting the fuel they need under the new federal guidelines,” Porter said.
Huelskamp said the most “damning evidence” that Obama’s regulations are not working is coming from school cooks.
“They tell me ‘We can’t meet these mandates and it will mean less kids will participate in the school lunch program,’” he said.
For example, Huelskamp said students are only allowed one and a half ounces of meat. In a beef state like Kansas, he said that just doesn’t work.
“The idea that one and a half ounces of meat is only what they’re going to be given for two or three days a week is simply not enough for a growing kid,” he said.
“Go look in the trash can,” he said. “There is your failed policy.”
The congressman and the superintendent said they wholly support healthy eating – but there needs to be some common sense added to the mix.
“Obesity is an enormous problem,” Huelskamp said. “It’s probably not the overwhelming problem the First Lady makes it out to be. It is not the number one threat to our national security as Michelle Obama has referred to.”
But he did say there was a bigger problem.
“What’s even a bigger problem is an obese overweight federal government that wants to mandate everything – including what goes in our kids’ mouths,” he said.
Todd is the author of Dispatches From Bitter America — endorsed by Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity. Click here to get your copy!