When one mother packed her daughter’s school lunch just as she did every day, she didn’t give it a second thought, nor did she expect the strange and alarming outcome.
Out Of Fruit And Veg
Leeza Pearson woke up early that morning, to prepare her daughter Natalee’s lunch and sent her off to school at the Children’s Academy in Aurora, Colorado.
Running Out Of Time
She woke up later than usual, but never the less, managed to pack her daughter’s lunch on time, having to make a few amendments here and there, using the ingredients she had in the house, but all in all, she was satisfied with what she had packed.
Pearson said she was stunned when she picked up her 4-year-old later in the day. Something strange went on at school and she couldn’t understand what had happened.
Children’s Best Interest
Leeza always had her children’s best interest at heart, and every day she woke up extra early to prepare their packed lunches with nutritious and delicious food that would keep them going throughout the day at school.
Being a single mother, juggling her career and children was not always easy, and especially grocery shopping proved difficult. Never the less, she did her utmost to make sure that the house was stocked with things that were filling and also nutritious. Being children, of course they loved sweet snacks and who could blame them?
Cause For Concern
Her daughter was a happy go lucky young girl, who got on with most things without a complaint. At school she did not cause a fuss or any issue, and teachers liked her as a student. She never went against the rules and at parent’s evening, her mom only ever heard positive things. So when she returned home one day with a note from the school, she was concerned what could have happened.
Her daughter got into the car and said ‘Mommy i’m hungry’ to which she replied ‘did you not eat your lunch?” Her daughter immediately went quiet, and Leeza began to feel suspicious, she always ate her lunch happily, and rarely was she hungry when she got in the car.
When they got home, her daughter stated yet again, that she was hungry. Leeza wanted to see how much of her lunch she had eaten, she remembered giving her a hearty lunch plus snacks.
When she opened her daughter’s lunch box, she saw a note sitting next to the unopened packet of oreos that she had packed for her earlier that day. When she picked it up to read it, she was astounded at what she saw.
When she read the note, she became quite angry. She did not feel that the school had the right to send her child home with such a ridiculous note. But what did it say to get her all riled up?
What 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 a milk.” But that wasn’t all.
“If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation”
Bread And Potatoes
She wondered to herself, why does having bread and potatoes make for a healthy lunch? Where have they got this information that proved that that was a healthy lunch?
Pearson said she is baffled by how the school handled the situation. Her daughter came home hungry and confused, and she does not feel that it was dealt with in a proper manner, especially as the school does not provide lunch themselves.
Over The Top
“I think it is definitely over the top, especially because they told her she can’t eat what is in her lunch,” Pearson told ABC News. “They should have at least allowed to eat her food and contacted me to explain the policy and tell me not to pack them again.”
Officials Answer Back
Officials at the Children’s Academy said they have no comment when contacted by ABC News. However, Patty Moon, a spokeswoman for the Aurora Public Schools, which provides funding for some of the children to attend the private pre-school, said a note in the lunchbox is not supposed to be standard practice.
“From our end we want to inform parents but never want it to be anything punitive,”. Moon said the school was just trying to promote healthy eating but Pearson said that effort has often been inconsistent. What did Pearson mean by that?
During this year’s Easter holiday, for example, she said the school asked students to bring in candy for the celebration. Her daughter also receives jelly beans as a snack when she stays for after-school care, Pearson said.
Frustrated And Confused
Part of Leeza’s frustration stemmed from the fact that the preschool seemed to contradict themselves in practice. They shamed her for packing cookies one time, yet asks parents to send candy in for class parties from time to time.
“They say I can’t decide what to feed her but then they sometimes feed her junk food,” Pearson said. “Why am I being punished for Oreos when at other times I am asked to bring candy?”
Not The Case
The child was offered an alternative snack, the teacher said. But Pearson said this was not the case and her child came home hungry. She stated that it is between her and her doctor, whether or not her child is healthy and what to feed her.
“She is not overweight by any means and I usually try to feed her healthy,” Pearson said, noting her daughter’s lunch also included a sandwich and some string cheese. “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.”
To social Media
When Leeza couldn’t get a response from the school’s director, she vented some of her frustration on social media. And to her surprise, many were just as frustrated as her by the school’s reaction! “I just got a bunch of outrage from friends I hadn’t heard from in years,” she said.
Healthy Lunch Boxes
Due to this confusion, and the fact that parents are always tirelessly looking for healthy food options for their kids, two California moms and former teachers came up with an idea, to create already packed lunch boxes, with healthy snacks in them, called revolution kits. They are low in sodium and preservative free. Perhaps this will really help moms like Leeza in the future.
As for moving forward, Leeza said that she will make an effort to make sure that her daughter’s lunch is healthy just as she has always done, but believes that the school needs to rethink these rules and that each child is different and individual, so what may be right for one child, may not be for another.