This commentary originally appeared in Breitbart Texas on September 10, 2014.

Are radical social engineering policies entering our schools? If Dripping Springs ISD’s latest ploy to save the planet is any indication, the answer is yes.

Recently, Dripping Springs ISD joined other school districts in observing “Meatless Mondays,” which, as they sound, are Mondays on which no meat is served. Parents of children in Dripping Springs might have concern that their kids are not getting the protein they need when they send their kids to eat school lunches on “Meatless Monday.”

Hold that thought, though — Dripping Springs ISD’s Director of Child Nutrition Services has issued what is intended to be a serious response to those worried parents — the answer, he told KVUE News, is in the cheese. 

That is because on one school menu that included “cheese pizza, black bean burritos, vegetarian chili, cheese nachos, and more,” according to KVUE, the nutrition director was quick to point out that: 

“The cheese sauce is made with real cheese. It comes from Land O’ Lakes, and it actually has incredible value as a protein product.” 

Putting aside the fact that I wish I had thought of this excuse when justifying to my parents why nachos are equally as healthy as Brussels sprouts, cheese sauce is not a serious substitute for protein. It does not take being a nutritional services director to know that kids need protein. 

Ag Commissioner Todd Staples agreed, and wrote an op-ed for the Austin American Statesman in which he took the practice to task: 

Restricting children’s meal choice to not include meat is irresponsible and has no place in our schools. This activist movement called “Meatless Mondays” is a carefully-orchestrated campaign that seeks to eliminate meat from Americans’ diets seven days a week — starting with Mondays.

Commissioner Staples is correct that this is an “activist” movement with radical origins that has no place in public education. But he also points out some common sense, which is that meatless Mondays can be observed without need to force it on our kids:

For those Texans who choose not to eat meat, I say more power to you. If you want to take the personal challenge to go meatless on Mondays, go right ahead. However, we cannot force such an agenda-driven diet on anyone who has not chosen such a diet — especially our school children.

Finally, Commissioner Staples urges Texans to “get the propaganda out of Texas schools.” Indeed. What is the real purpose of these kinds of policy changes?

It might be worth looking at the website for Meatless Monday, which claims that the movement’s “… goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15% for our personal health and the health of our planet.” The health of our planet? Sounds an awful lot like the real purpose of this has to do with global warming, does it not?

And sure enough, right there on the page “Why Meatless?” we get our answer, in the form of a short treatise that includes the following reason for going meatless:

“Reduce Greenhouse Gases — Studies show that meat production produces significantly more greenhouse gases than vegetables, including carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide — the three main contributing sources of greenhouse gas. Beef was found to produce a total of 30 kg of greenhouse gas (GHG) per kg of food, while carrots, potatoes and rice produce .42, .45 and 1.3 kg GHG per kg of food, respectively.”

It would seem that some of our schools are being subject to the agenda of a group that would put the perceived dangers of livestock “emissions” over and above the dietary requirements of our children.

Would it not be nice if parents had a choice not to send their kids to schools that taught things they objected to, or simply went off the rails in service of some political agenda? Under our current system, parents have little choice but to send their children to the public schools they are zoned into. Charter schools are one alternative, but have waiting lists over 100,000 children long. Texas students deserve universal school choice.

Whether it is “Meatless Mondays” or biased history textbooks, social engineering does not deserve a place in the classrooms or on the cafeteria tables of our kids’ schools. Texans should be vigilant to watch out for such influences being foisted on their children in the name of tolerance or social progress, and hope for a future in which parents and kids are able to get out from under the thumb of bureaucratic educators.

You can follow Jess Fields on twitter: @Jessalanfields