Okay, I'm back, acknowledging yet another misunderstanding. When the article said, "Department of Health and Human Services," I automatically thought of the federal one, but you are right that they meant the North Carolina state department.
Looking into it further, it appears that the USDA does not have any policies regarding what schoolchildren bring from home, although there are various guidelines to the effect that, for certain programs eligible for USDA reimbursement, milk must be served; there is another rule that seems to say that all (presumably just public) schools must offer milk, but not that they can force it. On a bright note, all mentions of meat that I found included "meat alternatives," including plain old beans, as equally acceptable. Next, let's get them to say that about milk, and finally, let's get them to stop calling our food "meat [and milk] alternatives," and just say that a varied menu based on legumes, vegetables, fruits, and grains, is a fine model for any school lunch program.