Teacher Refuses to Let Girl Eat Poor Lunch mom steps in A seemingly insignificant incident at a Colorado school has ignited a powder keg of controversy and sparked a much heated debate between teachers and parents. When a young student came home complaining about being hungry, her mother questioned her.
Was she still hungry after eating the lunch that she had packed her? But this mom wasn’t prepared for the answers she got. Lisa Pearson was going about her day as usual, but when her young daughter arrived home from school hungry, she knew that there was something up.
Lisa had sent Natalie to school with her usual packed lunch, which had come back with her untouched. But when she looked inside Natalie’s lunchbox, she was taken aback to find an audacious note inside. Lisa and her daughter live in Aurora, Colorado.
The town is well known for its residents who display respect, acceptance and generally treat each other well. Naturally, Lisa was rather surprised that a staff at Aurora’s Children’s Academy would treat her daughter like this.
No child or parent should ever have to endure this. They had gone too far. Of course, Lisa only wanted the best for little Natalie. She herself had grown up in a rather competitive society, so when she enrolled Natalie in Aurora’s Children’s Academy, she thought she would be giving her daughter the best start in life. But the dream school was quickly becoming a nightmare.
On the stressful morning in question, Lisa had taken Natalie’s lunchbox and had done something that the school would see as unforgivable. The Aurora Children’s Academy and Childcare Center preschool can accommodate up to 150 students at any given time and is a very popular choice with the mothers in Aurora.
Community members held the school in high regard and trusted the staff there to help their young learners prepare for elementary school, which is exactly what Lisa wanted for Natalie. Everything was coming together for Lisa. She was close to completing her degree and Natalie was adjusting well, making friends and excelling at preschool.
It seemed as though things were finally looking up for the family, but little did Lisa know she was about to be jolted out of her dream by shameful and rude awakening. Natalie had been attending the preschool for almost an entire year, and Lisa was very happy with her daughter’s tuition. Thus far, she had no grievances and was confident that she and her husband, Nate had made the right choice by choosing Aurora Children’s Academy. But one fateful Friday, all hell broke loose. Natalie said that she was always busy, as most young mothers are, and completing her degree.
Working in law enforcement and taking care of Natalie was no easy feat. She said that she was too busy on one particular day to realize that she had run out of fresh fruit and vegetables for her daughter’s packed lunch. But it was this small oversight that would ultimately become a much bigger issue. It was on that fateful morning that Lisa had decided to include a little treat for her daughter, so she threw in a few Oreo cookies as a sweet surprise for Natalie. She also packed a Ham and cheese sandwich as well as a string cheese to balance her daughter’s meal.
Normally she would include a piece of fresh fruit, but she hadn’t had any in the fridge on that particular day. If you consider how sugarfilled Oreo cookies are, it’s no surprise that they are one of the unhealthiest cookies on the market today. Sweets such as those are notorious for causing diseases such as diabetes, which can lead to heart disease. The school officials call lunches that include sugary treats poor. Should a little girl be eating them?
And was the school’s concern warranted? That Friday, Natalie arrived home from preschool with a sad expression on her face. Lisa asked what the matter was and Natalie said that she was hungry. That’s when Lisa looked in her daughter’s full lunchbox and saw the note on top of the offending cookies, which were uneaten. But when Lisa read the note, she became furious.
Lisa knew she needed to share the note with everybody and shame the school for their behavior. The note read, Dear Parents, it is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy snack from home along with the milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lisa was absolutely furious.
How dare the school dictate what her daughter could eat and what she couldn’t. The note also stated that Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. She was so angry that she decided to share her outrage online when she posted the note and her summary of the day on social media. Lisa was quickly met with the support from other parents and general outrage about the situation. I just got a bunch of outrage from friends I hadn’t heard from in years, Lisa said later, noting that her friends summed up the incident as ridiculous.
From the school’s point of view, they were saving Natalie. We need to consider that the past 20 years have seen a huge rise in obese children, whereas 30 and 40 years ago a larger person would have stood out and would have been acknowledged. Today, obesity is the norm and is being treated as such. The folks at Aurora’s Children’s Academy probably just wanted to set Natalie on the right track. The Children’s Academy was just keeping a watchful eye out.
It’s no secret that there’s an obesity and health problem in America, and the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act came about to encourage healthier lunches for kids in school. They are not going to allow their schools to eat for lunch. Seeing Natalie open a pail full of carbs and sweets and zero veggies must have set off a lot of alarms among the staff. We must keep in mind that the Children’s Academy is a place where toddlers aim to hire their education. They can’t do that with a pail full of Oreos.
Studies have shown that healthy food does help children learn more efficiently. Students who eat regular healthy meals are less likely to be tired and more attentive in class and retain more information, said NYU associate professor of economics and education Policy Sean Patrick Corcoran. Natalie definitely wasn’t eating healthily. No parent wants to be made an example of, and no one wants to be accused of poisoning their child with bad food. The school basically went out of their way to make Lisa feel like a bad mother.
One can’t deny that she probably spent nights tossing and turning in bed while questioning her own parenting methods. Lisa would later tell the media that her biggest problem with the issue was not that the school wanted students to eat healthy, but that the school took it over the top. She said she felt shamed and that it was wrong for the school to say what her daughter could or couldn’t eat. Lisa believed that by telling Natalie what she couldn’t and could eat out of her lunch that the school had overstepped its boundaries. What the school thinks is healthy for her is not what I think is healthy for her, she said.
She needs to eat what she’s going to eat. That’s between me and her and her doctor, not the school. It would be one thing if Lisa’s daughter was £100 and waddling through the class hallways by all means at that point shows some concern, but she was otherwise a thin and active little girl. This made the accusations all the worse. Lisa said she was particularly unable to understand the school’s response, considering that her daughter is healthy and not overweight.
It’s not like I was offering cookies to the entire class and it’s not like that was the only thing in her lunch, Lisa said. To add fuel to the fire, Lisa alleges that the school once offered her daughter treats, making their actions hypocritical. They say I can’t decide what to feed her, but then they sometimes feed her junk food, Lisa said during an interview with ABC News. After the controversy that ensued, Lisa defended her decision to include Oreo cookies in her daughter’s lunch. We’re not the parents that sent junk food every day, she said later in an interview.
She has a full, healthy lunch and this was a Friday. Why not give her a special treat? The accusation is a bit strange, especially seeing as schools aren’t exactly sporting reputations that associate them with healthy food. The meals that kids usually get in school cafeterias are usually full of mystery. The meat will taste rubbery and everything else will commonly share a disgusting texture.
Also, candy is too commonly handed out in class. At the time, Brenda Dean worked as the Children’s Academy director she said to the media that she was looking into the note and that the note was not in accordance with the school policy and should not have been sent home to a parent in such a manner. If you are picturing this little girl getting her lunch ripped from her grass and tossed in the trash, you might be getting the story all wrong. Nobody exactly took the girl’s lunch and left her to starve for the rest of the school day. As the plot thickened, the whole truth came out.
Aurora public school’s chief communications officer Patty Moon said that although the school did prefer to keep the parents informed about healthy choices, such actions should not be punitive. She did, however, say that Natalie had been given the choice to have another snack and therefore did not go home hungry.
This means that Natalie took a stubborn stance and refused to eat the meal that was further provided for her. That said, amid over 100 children eating, she sat there and wouldn’t eat anything. She decided that going through the day hungry was better than giving them the satisfaction.
When it comes to the feud between Lisa and the preschool that her daughter attended, it seems that drama was dropped when Natalie started elementary school. One has to wonder what schools and parents learned from the situation.
In the end, the public school system certainly reevaluated its stance and definitely won’t be sending any more notes home to parents. Meanwhile, Natalie moved on to elementary school and hasn’t had any other issue. However, the situation definitely shined a light on what role, if any, public schools should have up in what kids can and can’t eat for lunch.