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When should a school intervene? Never? (school lunch issue)

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  • randomtai
    randomtai Posts: 9,003 Member
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    Wow... This is why I want to home school my children. Too many busy body people.

    abe-simpson-gif.gif
  • jcow84
    jcow84 Posts: 75 Member
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    I would talk to the whole class about healthy eating and physical activity and send a note home to all parents expressing that your class is focusing on healthy living habits and that you encourage children to bring a well balanced meal/snack to school.

    Don't send any notes home like that until you have admin backing....that could easily backfire. It is a nice idea to teach kids about healthy food choices though.
  • dirtyflirty30
    dirtyflirty30 Posts: 222 Member
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    Eeek. Honestly, the only thing I might do is send some healthy breakfast ideas home with all students.
  • 7elizamae
    7elizamae Posts: 758 Member
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    mfp2014mfp wrote: »
    God I hope this post was just to look at people's responses and not to actually look for advice. The only thing any teacher should do would be dictated by that particular schools rules and regulations. As for all the people freaking out about her food, for goodness sake get some perspective! Lots of lazy outrage here as per usual.

    Have no fear. I don't use MFP forums to make decisions about my students.

    If you'd read my posts you'd see that I've already made my decision and was interested in the discussion.
  • MikaMojito
    MikaMojito Posts: 680 Member
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    Energy drinks are banned at my school. They are not just unhealthy, they're potentially very harmful to growing bodies. I don't think one should make a fuss because of some sweet treats but a child should not be consuming caffeine and taurin etc.
  • melimomTARDIS
    melimomTARDIS Posts: 1,941 Member
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    I dont know what I would do in that situation, honestly. The exact components of that breakfast are surprising to me, but if the child was having a bottle of OJ and a chocolate chip granola bar, I wouldnt even bat an eye.

    One of my kids (age 3) is going through a food phase right now, and only wants nutella on white bread, and a glass of chocolate milk for breakfast. Every morning, same thing. Midmorning she grabs a piece of fruit from the fruit bowl, and for the rest of the day is a fairly healthy eater.

    My other child (who is school aged) has sensory issues, and eats a limited diet. His breakfasts ALWAYS are; a bowl of fruity cereal with milk, and a glass of OJ, or packaged snack crackers (like austin toasty crackers) and a glass of milk. If we are in a rush, he will have a strawberry nutragrain bar.

    I am glad no one has seen fit to intervene with my kids. They both are healthy (if a little slim), and meeting their growth and developmental milestones.

  • melimomTARDIS
    melimomTARDIS Posts: 1,941 Member
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    My question would be- how is that breakfast affecting that child? Is it indicative of an overall unhealthy diet? Is the child obese, has trouble in school, etc? If not, I'd chalk it up to a food phase.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    Now if it's a child child (?) then i would absolutely intervene**. I would only do so by collective the offending item and replacing it with something else. For example, in the breakfast situation i would collect the redbull and cheetos and give them an apple and a milk. Or a banana and a yogurt. something to that effect.

    I would then send them home with the offending item and a handwritten note that they had received a healthier option instead. I would probably say something along the lines of... "XChild has had low energy lately" or "XChild seems to be having problems integrating and playing with the other students" or "XChild is having problems in PE/Recess" and it "may be because they didn't have a nutritious and healthy breakfast. So i bought them something that may be more beneficial to their studies/health".

    having been picked on horrible as a child over my food by everyone- I would have been MORTIFIED had to taken my food/drink away as a child.

    why would you do that to a kid?!?!?!
  • melimomTARDIS
    melimomTARDIS Posts: 1,941 Member
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    JoRocka wrote: »
    Now if it's a child child (?) then i would absolutely intervene**. I would only do so by collective the offending item and replacing it with something else. For example, in the breakfast situation i would collect the redbull and cheetos and give them an apple and a milk. Or a banana and a yogurt. something to that effect.

    I would then send them home with the offending item and a handwritten note that they had received a healthier option instead. I would probably say something along the lines of... "XChild has had low energy lately" or "XChild seems to be having problems integrating and playing with the other students" or "XChild is having problems in PE/Recess" and it "may be because they didn't have a nutritious and healthy breakfast. So i bought them something that may be more beneficial to their studies/health".

    having been picked on horrible as a child over my food by everyone- I would have been MORTIFIED had to taken my food/drink away as a child.

    why would you do that to a kid?!?!?!

    we had something happen like this in our local elementary school. a lunch worker offered a leftover brownie from that day's school lunch to a brown bagger. The kid said yes (duh). The principal saw the kid eating the brownie, which he had not paid for (it was offered to him) and took it away and threw it in the trash. In front of his classmates. after he had already bitten it.

    Did I mention that this child is obese and teased relentlessly? Yeah. So a firing happened because of this, and it wasnt the principal who was fired.
  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
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    JoRocka wrote: »
    Now if it's a child child (?) then i would absolutely intervene**. I would only do so by collective the offending item and replacing it with something else. For example, in the breakfast situation i would collect the redbull and cheetos and give them an apple and a milk. Or a banana and a yogurt. something to that effect.

    I would then send them home with the offending item and a handwritten note that they had received a healthier option instead. I would probably say something along the lines of... "XChild has had low energy lately" or "XChild seems to be having problems integrating and playing with the other students" or "XChild is having problems in PE/Recess" and it "may be because they didn't have a nutritious and healthy breakfast. So i bought them something that may be more beneficial to their studies/health".

    having been picked on horrible as a child over my food by everyone- I would have been MORTIFIED had to taken my food/drink away as a child.

    why would you do that to a kid?!?!?!

    we had something happen like this in our local elementary school. a lunch worker offered a leftover brownie from that day's school lunch to a brown bagger. The kid said yes (duh). The principal saw the kid eating the brownie, which he had not paid for (it was offered to him) and took it away and threw it in the trash. In front of his classmates. after he had already bitten it.

    Did I mention that this child is obese and teased relentlessly? Yeah. So a firing happened because of this, and it wasnt the principal who was fired.


    they fired the teacher over that- damn. that's harsh- although shame on the principal for doing that- that's awful. I can't even with adults- sometimes they get so caught up in the "principle" or the point- they forget the ripple effect it has to everyone else.

    poor kid. :(


    I agree with Niner- "so and so has been coming to school with doritos and red bull- just wanted to make sure it was okay"


    but thinking back- I drank many a pepsi for breakfast in highschool. calories are calories.
  • Neonbeige
    Neonbeige Posts: 271 Member
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    We have a relatively strict policy in elementary school. No sweets, candies etc. Still there are kids all the time that bring chips etc. Dunno what happens in that cases.

    I think the whole thing depends on if that was a one term thing or if that is normal breakfast for the kid. What impression do the parents give? Do they care about the kid? Are they coming to stuff like parent-teacher conferences? Is the kid in good health? Does it seem happy?

    If I would feel the kid needed help, I would try to find a way to do something without putting the kid in a *kitten* position. But just ignoring it, because it´s not my business? Nope
  • Emily3907
    Emily3907 Posts: 1,461 Member
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    I think the only way I would intervene is if there were other factors pointing to deeper problems at home, like the child had bruises, was noticeably neglected (dirty, smelly, inappropriate clothing for the weather, etc.) or having serious behavioral issues that would constitute mandatory reporting. Then, I would approach the school nurse and/or principal with my concerns to discuss the next steps to be taken by the school. My sister is an elementary school nurse and has to help make these decisions almost daily when approached with concerns. It is a tough spot to be in, for sure.

    I do like the ideas of making a fun activity (within the curriculum) for the whole class to participate in to help teach proper nutrition. It certainly can't hurt if done in a way that is fun and educational, but it also does not single any one student out.

    It is unfortunate that these are the choices this child has for breakfast (for whatever reasons), but that does not necessarily equal neglect or endangerment, in my opinion.
  • angel7472
    angel7472 Posts: 317 Member
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    About 10 years ago I was called to the school by the principal because my daughter decided to have her pudding for a snack instead of lunch. The teacher saw this and took it away and gave her an appropriate snack.

    When I went to the school I asked the principal what was so unhealthy about a pudding made with low fat milk. I was told that it wasn't deemed on the list of healthy school approved snacks. On this list was fruit snacks. I laughed at her. I told her that I find it ironic that I can send my child to school with the equivalent of candy for a snack but that my daughter got in trouble for having low fat milk with flavoring in it.

    In the end I ended up having a talk with my then 4 yo daughter and telling her that if mommy packs you a pudding then it stays in the lunch box until after she eats her lunch as a treat. That the pudding isn't a "snack" and that mommy packs you a snack and that you are to eat that. She understood and we had no more problems.

    My point it that something as harmless as this was frowned upon 10 years ago. This "news" about children being denied cookies and such is nothing new. I've had notes sent home with my children for years regarding them not eating what they should. I've sent a sandwich, carrots, yogurt, all natural applesauce, string cheese, chips and a treat in my kids lunches. They will choose to eat the surgery tasting stuff first and this is what the teachers see. They sometimes will ignore their sandwich and only maybe eat a portion if at all. I've gotten notes home about them not eating all of their food on their tray when they eat hot lunch. A teacher will sit by the garbage cans and watch what children are throwing away and notify the parents if they notice a pattern. I've asked my kids and they will tell me it was gross and they didn't want to eat it. I understand that.

    I agree with the teaching the class about healthy options and see what happens. If the pattern persists then I also agree with the small note home. If after that it still persists then you've done all you could and just sit back and accept it for what it is.
  • FloraSin
    FloraSin Posts: 188 Member
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    As one of those kids who barely survived childhood, I can relate to the kid. My mom worked nights. I would have been mortified if anyone had singled me out in any way for anything, especially food. I was a wisp of a kid, but bad food choices are still bad. I lived on sugar and salt. I packed the "healthy lunches" (lunchables) for my little brother and gave him the cheerios for breakfast because there usually wasn't enough for both of us. If there was, I knew my mom couldn't afford a lot and we had to make it last, so we could double the time we got through with the "good stuff" by giving it to just one kid.

    My grades were excellent and teachers loved me. I had friends. I was just shy and awkward and dealing with a lot.

    I know you didn't actually come here for advice, but if I were you, I'd teach healthy nutrition to the whole class and send the mom a note to let her know what her daughter is bringing for breakfast. Beyond that, you don't know how close they are to the poverty line. I've lived under it almost my whole life. My mom isn't good with money or decisions, but she tried. I endured a lot worse in my childhood than poor meal planning and that's when I fantasized about being rescued by friends and teachers and the like. I never thought of it when I was eating a whole bag of doritoes or drinking pop like water. I was just thinking that of money.
  • Ohwhynot
    Ohwhynot Posts: 356 Member
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    Unless the child is your child, it's not your business.

    As much as this kills me, i 100% agree.
  • EvgeniZyntx
    EvgeniZyntx Posts: 24,208 Member
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    JPW1990 wrote: »
    JPW1990 wrote: »
    I don't know about your state, but in NY you are required to report neglect. Giving a second grader an energy drink isn't just neglect, it probably falls under child endangerment as well. Energy drinks have been tied to several adolescent and teen deaths in the last 5 years.

    "NCANDS defines neglect as “a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure by the caregiver to provide needed, age-appropriate care although financially able to do so or offered financial or other means to do so” (USDHHS, 2007). Neglect is usually typified by an ongoing pattern of inadequate care and is readily observed by individuals in close contact with the child. Physicians, nurses, day care personnel, relatives and neighbors are frequently the ones to suspect and report neglect in infants, toddlers and preschoolaged children. Once children are in school, school personnel often notice indicators of child neglect such as poor hygiene, poor weight gain, inadequate medical care or frequent absences from school."

    http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/child-neglect.html

    You're asking because your gut says you should say something. Teacher to teacher, go with your gut. Ignore the people who say your job is just to teach. They don't know the laws, and they don't have the training.

    I find it interesting that most of the answers are avoiding that detail like the plague. Everyone is all about the Doritos, and nobody seems to be worried that Red Bull is in an 8 year old's hands.

    After consuming a single retail unit, 70% of the children and 40% of the teenagers who consumed caffeine were estimated to have exceeded the adverse-effect level of 3 mg/kg body weight per day beyond their baseline dietary exposure.

    The report concludes: On the basis of this review, we conclude that (1) energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit, and both the known and unknown pharmacology of various ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, suggest that these drinks may put some children at risk for serious adverse health effects

    Still not your business.

    A teacher has a different legal level of responsibility than a random stranger.

    I will grant you that. But the child is not being abused or neglected, apparently, or being treated in such a way that would cause her immediate harm. There are probably plenty of children who actually have a need for teacher intervention in their lives. Passing judgment on what the child is eating for breakfast and intervening in that consumption goes beyond the scope of that responsibility. At least the child is coming to school and is eating. There are a lot of children who don't even manage those two things.

    Oh, and you were doing so good before....

    Fallacy of relative privation

    ;)
  • Cryptonomnomicon
    Cryptonomnomicon Posts: 848 Member
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    Personally I'd send a note first highlighting that she's doing well, is a gem, and mentioning your concern.

    I get notes from the teachers all the time (we have a system called "cahier de correspondance", in France) which is intended to keep channels open. Mostly I get notes about "talking in class", "late hw" when it happens. I have had an ongoing discussion about one daughter and her food pickiness. It's ok when it isn't set up as a conflict between parents and outsiders.

    Takes a village ....

    I'd rather have teachers engaged in children's welfare through open discussion with parents than curriculum-only or cps calling. IMHO, the role of public education isn't just teaching a skill base but part of a Social Contract.

    D3nz2CN.jpg

    I myself am a parent and enjoy the fact the school I send my daughter to communicates with us regularly not only about our daughter's education but also about her well being. I think EvgeniZyntx nailed it on the head with his answer. An open non patronizing dialogue between the parents should be sufficient.





  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited May 2015
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    avskk wrote: »
    As a parent and a former childcare provider, I like @ninerbuff's idea to send a quick note that says, "If you're not aware, Kid is having chips and Red Bull every morning for breakfast. I know you're a busy family with an unusual schedule and I just wanted to be sure this was okay with you." Then leave it alone.

    I agree with this. Given the context it's possible the parents don't know. (And yes, it would have to go through the proper channels assuming school rules about stuff like this.)

    I also like the idea of saying positive things about the child in the note.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited May 2015
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    Kind of related to this, I run around various local neighborhoods and look around and happened to notice that one of the elementary schools had a notice up about a nutrition discussion for parents that it was hosting. Not a bad idea, perhaps, although enough kids come from out of the neighborhood (at least for the elementary school in my neighborhood and for many around me) that I wonder about attendance. I was curious about what was involved and how successful these kinds of things are.
  • ksy1969
    ksy1969 Posts: 700 Member
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    7elizamae wrote: »
    Don't do it. And don't judge. At least this kid has food. She probably packs her own food, from what is in the home. I doubt anyone packs her lunch, or even pays much attention to her.

    Some kids just survive childhood.

    You hit the nail on the head. This little one is getting herself out the door in the morning -- her mom works nights and isn't up in the morning. She likes her breakfast the way it is and isn't on time for the school breakfast.

    So, I just welcome her to class and carry on. She does have lunch at school. And she's doing fine in class. :) She's a gem.

    I don't think it's the school's place to intervene on home nutrition. I just wondered what everyone thought since it's been in the news this week.

    I really wish we could "LIKE" an individual post in the thread :-)

    This one should end the thread.