Then that school district has no right to forbid home-made lunches. What's on that plate? White bread, fried chicken, overly processed milk product, and GMO corn - and the meat appears to be ½ the meal, not ¼. The only apparently healthy thing on plate are the green beans. 1 4 ounce piece of baked chicken, ½ cup each of rice, carrots, green beans, and 1 cup of a choice of almond, rice, or whole milk, with a piece of fruit - that would have been a much better plating - no wheat or soy, with nut and dairy allergy/intolerance substitutes provided, and a better balanced meal.
When my children were in school, I sent their lunches for several reasons: it was cheaper, they got food they would actually eat, and they had food to eat. I don't know about other schools, but the ones my children went to often ran out of food long before they ran out of students, and would provide the "left over" students with 2 slices of bread and a squeeze packet of jelly. On any given day, ¼ of the students only got bread and jelly, and often, it was the same students who got the bread and jelly instead of a full meal - even though they paid the same price as the students who got full meals. It all came down to when they had their lunch time and how far back in line they stood.
The first time my children came home saying all they'd gotten for their $3.00 lunch was dry bread and a single packet of jelly had me in the principal's office wanting to know why my children didn't get the meal I paid for. When I was told that the school could fund only so many lunches and children who had the late lunch often got nothing but bread and jelly, I said my children would be bringing their lunches from that day forward.
They got protein sandwiches (Nutella and banana was a favorite, but they also got tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, and venison salad sandwiches - with celery, carrot shreds, scallions, romaine lettuce, radishes, and such to garnish) , sliced fruits, salads, granola and yogurt, hot soups or chili, packets of homemade trail mix, pickles, and herb teas.
I packed enough for them to share with several others but I couldn't afford to make up the meals for all the students who were left with bread and jelly for lunch.
There's no way, absolutely no way, I would send my children to a school that demanded my children either buy the school's nutritionally unsound lunches (judging by the sample photo) or do without lunch.
That sort of draconian authoritative zero-tolerance policy that's become endemic in public schools is why I am so glad my children grew up just before all this nonsense took hold.