Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence favors passage of a bill that would make it harder for poor children in the USA to receive school lunches and would allow all children in school to make nutritionally questionable decisions.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), and known as the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003) is intended to save the government money. It would do so on the backs of poor children and would undermine recent gains in the nutritional value of school lunches.

The bill would allow children to substitute chips and sugary gummy fruit snacks for fresh fruit. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the bill, as passage would reverse gains in fighting childhood obesity. In 2010 the government passed a bill that required schools to restrict the sale of junk food. This new bill would make it possible for schools to once again provide junk food.

The bill would also require that schools have 60% of children receiving government assistance of some kind – instead of the current 40% – in order for the school to qualify for free lunch for all students. Schools that did not qualify would require needy students to apply for free school lunches. This penalizes poor children, many of whom prefer eating nothing to exposing themselves to ridicule in front of their peers.

This bill, H.R. 5003, is harmful to children, yet it is supported by Mike Pence. Please think carefully before you vote for a ticket that would even consider sacrificing the health of children.

Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of...