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The School Nixed My Son's Snack: Shame on Them or Shame on Me?

Linda in Waltham, MA
Oct. 26, 2017

I’d like you to meet Linda C., an Executive Assistant at Care.com.  I have to tell you, her blog made me laugh out loud. We all know how hard packing school lunches can be, especially when juggling a job, cooking dinner, managing homework and picking up the house. And Linda has a great story – and an interesting debate for you to chime in on.


A couple of months ago (before the collapse of Hostess) I sent my 8-year-old son to school with a Twinkie is his snack bag.  I really didn’t think much of it.  I hadn’t gone food shopping in a while (that’s a whole ‘nother blog) so I didn’t have many choices in my cabinets and refrigerator.  I gave him a piece of fruit, a granola bar and THE Twinkie.

That night, when I picked him up from after school care, he said to me "Thanks a lot Mom, I lost my recess time today because you packed me a Twinkie for snack."   My world suddenly went red. In the first minute my mind jumped around between defending my right, as his mother, to send my child to school with ANY snack I choose and "Oh my goodness, the teacher thinks I’m a horrible mother clogging the arteries of my 8-year-old!"

By the time we got home, I was able to collect my thoughts.  I was however, still disturbed at the fact the teacher punished my son for a decision that I made.  I needed to get to the bottom of it so I sent the teacher an email.  I repeated what my son told me and continued to tell him that I couldn’t imagine he would keep my son from enjoying recess (which is how he would have worked off the Twinkie in the first place, right??) because of the Twinkie and that there had to be more to the story, especially since he had two other healthy snacks in the bag. At least I followed the peanut-free rule!?

Okay, so it turns out there was more to the story (the teacher says he told my son not to eat the Twinkie, but my son says he didn’t hear him and he ate it). And I have no idea if my son is telling the truth. But it raises a different question: Should schools govern the snacks we give our kids?


Comments
User
Dec. 18, 2015

I just experienced this with my 5 year old today. It was snack time and my husband packed our 5 year old a cupcake. After school he got into the car sad and said his teacher would not allow him to eat it. He also lost the straw to his chocolate milk of which she couldn't even help him open it! So my husband went right away and asked her why she didn't allow him. The teacher stated that she didn't want to hear 18 other children complaining that they didn't have a snack. Also, that she wants healthy snacks. So instead our 5 year old sat watching everyone else eat and drink while he had NOTHING!! I want to also add just the day before I got told not to pack so many cookies in his lunch, because he is sharing them with his friends and they are not allowed to do that for the fact not everyone was getting a cookie. Even though they were his friends he sat with at his lunch table!! He also was having a hard time in learning in October and instead of offering him to receive extra help she just said if she had to make a decision at that moment she would fail our son!! This lady really shouldn't even be teaching. We are awaiting a conference with the principal. My son is not even close to being overweight and even if he were bigger it is my son and my choice. Not to physically slam the teacher appearance, but she however is on the overweight side and I'm sure nobody is taking her snacks away. My husband and I are so disgusted what happened today!

User
Dec. 17, 2015

I just experienced this with my 5 year old today. It was snack time and my husband packed our 5 year old a cupcake. After school he got into the car sad and said his teacher would not allow him to eat it. He also lost the straw to his chocolate milk of which she couldn't even help him open it! So my husband went right away and asked her why she didn't allow him. The teacher stated that she didn't want to hear 18 other children complaining that they didn't have a snack. Also, that she wants healthy snacks. So instead our 5 year old sat watching everyone else eat and drink while he had NOTHING!! I want to also add just the day before I got told not to pack so many cookies in his lunch, because he is sharing them with his friends and they are not allowed to do that for the fact not everyone was getting a cookie. Even though they were his friends he sat with at his lunch table!! He also was having a hard time in learning in October and instead of offering him to receive extra help she just said if she had to make a decision at that moment she would fail our son!! This lady really shouldn't even be teaching. We are awaiting a conference with the principal. My son is not even close to being overweight and even if he were bigger it is my son and my choice. Not to physically slam the teacher appearance, but she however is on the overweight side and I'm sure nobody is taking her snacks away. My husband and I are so disgusted what happened today!

User
Nov. 27, 2014

I just don't understand this - why a parent would want to "exercise their parental rights" in such a way? Really? You're angry that a school/teacher is fostering healthy eating habits? Say that out loud and see how silly it sounds. "I should be able to feed my child Twinkies if I want to". Do I agree with your child losing recess over it? No, I don't - and if that's what this post is about, then I agree with you. BUT, so many people are making it about parental rights and those "crazy teachers" and "dictatorships". Save those "special snacks" for home - is it so hard to embrace the notion that school is about LEARNING & ACADEMICS - NOT about Twinkies and cupcakes? Teachers don't try to cook up ways to make your lives more difficult, they don't have it "out for you", they don't think they are your child's parent - they are simply trying to make each child's learning environment the best that they can, and trust me, sugar does not help them meet that goal. You're no dummy, you know that in your heart-of-hearts but for some reason so many people choose to exercise their parental rights at the most interesting of times.

User
Nov. 27, 2014

I just don't understand this - why a parent would want to "exercise their parental rights" in such a way? Really? You're angry that a school/teacher is fostering healthy eating habits? Say that out loud and see how silly it sounds. "I should be able to feed my child Twinkies if I want to". Do I agree with your child losing recess over it? No, I don't - and if that's what this post is about, then I agree with you. BUT, so many people are making it about parental rights and those "crazy teachers" and "dictatorships". Save those "special snacks" for home - is it so hard to embrace the notion that school is about LEARNING & ACADEMICS - NOT about Twinkies and cupcakes? Teachers don't try to cook up ways to make your lives more difficult, they don't have it "out for you", they don't think they are your child's parent - they are simply trying to make each child's learning environment the best that they can, and trust me, sugar does not help them meet that goal. You're no dummy, you know that in your heart-of-hearts but for some reason so many people choose to exercise their parental rights at the most interesting of times.

User
Aug. 24, 2014

HI, my son is 5 years old and I recently had a problem similar to this. My son doesn't like to eat a school but I don't mind because he has a really good breakfast before leaving and I send him a snack for lunch (which is a 10 am, and he practically just ate so he's still full) and he eats again at 2 pm when I pick him up. Last year his teachers had absolutely no problem with this, its not like I'm starving my child he's not malnourished. During the first week of school this year his teacher has been forcing him to eat! And on friday his aunt picked him up and the crazy teacher screamed at her and told her that HE HAD TO EAT and not just a snack! Can she do this? is it a law that my son has to eat lunch at school? somebody please help me. I'm having a meeting with the teacher and I'm trying to find laws that support her but there's none. Can somebody help me?
- Thank you

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