Brampton students are embroiled in a food fight with the Ministry of Education which is trying to take the junk food like sodas and fries out of schools.
“We feel undermined as students in the public system and we’ve had enough,” said 18-year-old Samuel Battista, head of the student council at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School. “How are students supposed to make the right choices after high school when there are no options or choices to make in high school?”
And thus starts the beginning of a social media campaign called "Our Future" by students trying to bring down what they see as a failed policy.
Since September 2011, Ontario schools stopped selling candy, chocolates, fries and energy drinks on their property.
“It’s not about limiting choice,” said the press secretary for the Ministry of Education, Grahame Rivers. “We’ve heard from schools, parents, teachers and boards who feel that their schools should have healthy food choices and we’re working with them to find options that appeal to the student body.”
The backlash has meant that kids are eating outside of the cafeteria walls, leaving a dent in revenues, eight to 10 percent of which funds school clubs and societies. With less money, some schools are unable to host events.
A case of biting off the nose to spite the face? Should teens be forced to eat (healthily) at school, or should the Ministry welcome the junk back?
According to a recent survey by Parents Magazine and New York’s Child Mind Institute, a treatment centre for children with mental health, more than a third of parents claimed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) had more to do with slack parenting than a genuine medical condition. Ouch.
Many of parents quizzed also felt that 'normal' kids were being misdiagnosed "because their teachers can't handle them," and medicated too readily by doctors. A minority blamed the diagnosis on “insufficient or absent parenting” by single parents.
Although 13 percent of parents believe that ADHD is merely a behavioural condition that needs to be "corrected with discipline,” 96 percent would expect their own pediatrician to flag potential psychiatric or learning problems in their kids.
"Stigma, lack of awareness, and fear around mental health care prevent many parents and teachers from getting kids the support they need," said Dr. Harold Koplewicz, a physician and the president of the Child Mind Institute.
This at a time when the Canadian government recognizes the need to ramp up its mental illness mandate.
Is ADHD a result of poor parenting skills or a genuine medical condition?
Save the Children's thirteenth State of the World’s Mothers report is out and as usual, its findings are surprising.
Out of the 165 countries evaluated in terms of mother's health, education and economic status, as well as her children's health and nutrition, Canada moved up one place from 20th to 19th—an improvement based on the percentage of women in parliament, and the addition of parental leave.
At the bottom of the barrel, seven countries were in the midst of a food crisis—malnutrition being the "underlying cause of at least a fifth of maternal mortality and more than a third of child deaths."
The report says the first 1,000 days following pregnancy (up to the infant's second birthday) are critical to breaking the cycle of malnutrition and stunted growth in moms and babies. Save the Children hopes their findings will prompt more do be done when G8 leaders gather in Camp David later this month.
Simply supporting breastfeeding in developing countries where fewer than 40 percent of infants are nursed could save an estimated one million children's lives a year. For a developed country, Canada only rated 'fair' for its breastfeeding policies.
You can help prompt change. Help Save the Children’s Newborn and Child Survival campaign by signing its petition to get world leaders commit to saving children's lives.