Vail Daily letter: Lunch-lady beef
Vail, CO, Colorado
I just finished reading the letter that Rachel Landin sent to the school district superintendent. Her letter prompted me to write my own about a call I received on May 11 while I was at work from my 8-year-old son.
At about noon on the day in question, my son called me at work. He sounded scared. He proceeded to explain to me that the school lunch lady told him he could not eat lunch that day unless his mommy left work right now and brought in the $10 he owed for lunch.
I had to have my son explain to me what he was talking about several times. I thought for sure that he must have misunderstood. I mean, who would really make a kid call his mother over $10 in lunch money and threaten them with not being able to eat? I finally asked to talk to the person in charge.
He handed the phone to the lady standing next to him. I proceeded to ask the lady if it was really her intention not to provide my son lunch because we owed $10 unless I bring money to him right now.
She said this was the direction she was instructed to take by her supervisor but that she would allow him to eat as long as I promised to bring it in the next day.
I was livid about the whole situation. Not only was someone calling me about a pitiful $10, but I knew that my son only gets 20 minutes to eat. We must have spent 15 of that on the phone. Even if I had been willing to run out of work to take him the money, I never would have made in time.
We have been in the same school for four years now. We have always paid for lunch in a timely manner.
So I decided that I should call the principal. I knew she would be upset by this. Again, who would threaten a child with no food over $10? I talked to the principal and was shocked by the lack of concern I received from her. She proceeded to give me the line about “Well, if everyone owed $10 … “
I don’t care if I owed $100. It was inappropriate to put my son in the middle. He was convinced that he was going to go hungry all day.
School is supposed to be a safe place for children. Withholding food is never a good answer for any child. He should have been allowed to eat lunch and if there was a problem, someone, meaning an adult, should have called me.
I would have completely understood if they called and said, for example, your son
can’t eat lunch here if you have not paid by Friday. My son doesn’t feel neglected, and I am forewarned of what is going to happen.
So my question is: Whose bright idea was this?