Monday, 20 February 2017

The school lunch box

contents row just got a little worse.
The note sent home in the lunch box of a pre-school child complaining about the inclusion of home made chocolate slice apparently "went viral" as they say. In other words, a lot of people heard about it. 
What they heard and what they thought varies. Like so many other things it depends on what you believe. Some people believe the story is not true. Others think the day care centre has every right to monitor the contents of lunch boxes.  Still more believe that it is all nonsense and that it should be up to parents to decide what a child is going to eat.
I talked recently to a mother who told me that her child is not allowed to take anything with nuts in it to school - because one of the children in the class has a nut allergy. On the surface that might seem reasonable - except that her child is now in the final year of the primary school. I wonder if they plan on carrying the ban over into the secondary school - and why it doesn't apply to the rest of the school as well? Yes, a nut allergy can be life threatening but is banning all nuts for all children the answer? 
For other children nuts are likely to be a good food, one they should be encouraged to eat.
There is a child in the Whirlwind's class who has a similar allergy. She is a allergic to nuts and eggs and chocolate - and possibly other things I don't know about. The school provides lunch for everyone, even the day girls. Nuts and eggs are often included in the menu. When they are she is simply given something else. There has never been a problem. 
I told the mother of the other child about this and she looked horrified and then said, "Oh, I suppose it's a fee paying school so they have plenty of staff to watch that sort of thing."
I don't think that's the point at all. The staff know but the girl knows too. At thirteen she is considered old enough to take responsibility for asking and for telling. She carries an EpiPen with her. There is another one on the school premises. They have never needed to use it and probably never will.
And they have never cut all nuts and all eggs out of the lunch menu just for her. 
If there is good reason to be very watchful with small children then it is right to be very watchful. Scolding a parent for sending home made chocolate slice left over from a party the night before is not being watchful. It is intrusive and interfering. 

1 comment:

Jodiebodie said...

The story I heard was that a parent of a number of children who have very healthy and balanced diets, held a birthday party for a sibling on the weekend. On the Monday, the mother popped some leftover birthday slice into the lunchbox for a treat.
The teacher sent a note home for the parent chastising the parent for sending "inappropriate" food; that 'cake' is a 'sometimes' food and not for meals, yet the parent was sending cake as a 'sometimes' food. Sometimes, there is a birthday and sometimes we get to have cake in our lunchboxes. Every other day of the year is a healthy lunch. So that is how I heard this conversation get started.

I also heard comments of parents who have had teachers and schools make the child feel so bad, that their food is bad, that it has given the child a complex about food and now the child is manifesting behaviours of eating disorders like hiding food unnecessarily and linking negative emotions like guilt with food; etc.

Here is another example where someone failed to teach the rule to not leap in with judgment before investigating all the facts.