YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — At one Westchester school, some students say they got a hard lesson in healthy eating from their school’s principal.
Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers says Principal Agnes McNamara became concerned when she saw students eating unhealthy foods at lunch and pulled girls out of the lunchroom to talk with them about healthy eating and nutrition.
“That once we’re pregnant and we’re going to gain another 30 pounds then be 50 pounds overweight and you don’t really find love in that way,” said 17-year-old Toni Ahearn, a student at Sacred Heart.
Fred Gaines, Sr., whose granddaughter attends the school, spoke with CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano about the talk.
“Something about they would never have a boyfriend or they wouldn’t have babies and stuff like that,” he said. “That’s my granddaughter, I love her very much, we don’t talk to her like that because we try to give her self-esteem, not low-esteem.”
When discussing the controversy, assistant principal Pat Raccioppo focused on McNamara’s motivations.
“I think she had a good intention. I don’t think she singled out any one individual. She did have the cafeteria staff put into place a healthier menu,” he said.
The president of the Parents Association at Sacred Heart agreed, saying McNamara was just looking out for her students and encouraging good health.
“She definitely did not mean it to be wrong. She just wants to make sure they’re eating right and doing what is right for them,” said Joan Dronzek.
Others likewise agree with the teacher’s message on healthy eating, but were critical of the message including love.
Raccoppo said McNamara brought up healthy eating after she saw so many kids eating just french fries at lunch. He says grilled chicken and fresh fruit have now been added to the menu.
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