Saturday, September 20, 2014

Legitimate Policy, or Stupid One?

And is the punishment appropriate to the "crime" in this case?
An eighth grade student from Weaverville Elementary School got a detention slip for sharing his school prepared lunch Tuesday.

Kyle Bradford, 13, shared his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria.

Bradford didn’t see any problem with sharing his food.

"It seemed like he couldn't get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn't really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage if I didn't eat it," said Bradford.

But the Trinity Alps Unified School District has regulations that prohibit students from sharing their meals.

The policies set by the district say that students can have allergies that another student may not be aware of.
An 8th grader should be aware of his/her own allergies, and probably is much more so than the cafeteria staff. What if they gave the child something to which he/she was allergic???


maxutils said...

20 years ago, this wouldn't have been a problem ... and I agree with your point. But food allergies have become so prevalent (and I would love to know why ---in my classes there was not a single one, and we could bring in baked goods ... and who the hell is alle rgic to chicken burritos?) but ... things have changed. Society has become more litigious, and I suspect the school district has been told by their lawyers that they face serious liability issues if they don't have such a policy in place ... and if they don't ban mom's bringing cupcakes on birthdays unless they are store bought (I got around this once by baking my own delicious cookies -- no nuts, because a) my daughter doesn't like them and b) that actually is a serious death causing allergy) or playing tag, or running on the asphalt ... unless you're playing basketball, which I guess qualifies as an assumed risk.

So ... I hate the policy, think the kid's great for sharing, think the school probably hates the policy too ... but these days, it's unfortunately not a stupid one. I blame the lawyers who would take advantage ... no ... just all lawyers.

maxutils said...

The way I got around the baking rule was ... I didn't finish my thought ... I put them into an empty safeway plastic box. It amuses me to think there are probably people going to Safeway looking for those cookies ...

Anonymous said...

Given that I had a HS student have a severe allergy attack in class the other day, due to another kid sneaking food during class, I think its a perfectly reasonable reaction. Yes, the kid was trying to be nice. I doubt he didn't know about the no-sharing-food rule, and I also doubt he offered an ingredient list for the other kid to check for allergens.

The rule isn't a stupid rule, in this case. And the kid KNEW it was there, and chose to disregard it, potentially putting someone else's life in danger.

PeggyU said...

I don't think it's the policy that's stupid so much as the overreaction based on the policy. It is a symptom of over regulation when people break rules by doing seemingly innocuous things. They simply don't know the rules exist. But why give the kid a detention slip for a first "offense"? Why not congratulate him on his generosity but explain the school's position on why he can't share, and let it go at that? Furthermore, if this is such a strict policy, why not post signs in the lunchroom or make reminder announcements before lunch?

maxutils said...

Anonymous and Peggy U .. with all due respect ... it's a sad day when kids can't share food. When you were in school, did you ever trade lunches? Or parts of lunches? I did. Didn't seem to be a problem. I understand the school's position, given the potential liability (which also didn't seem to be an issue in my day) ... but ...what about personal responsibility? If you know you're allergic to something, you don't eat it. My daughter loved the rhubarb sauce I made for her ice cream once ... but she broke out in hives 20 minutes after, and I had to give her a massive dose of Benadryl to make it stop ... I know that's a weird allergy. But it is ... and she knows it. By the time your as old as these students? Unless it's something really weird, like rhubarb, you should know what you can and can't eat. And the school shouldn't be penalizing the most for the few, if they are making their own choices about what to eat.

PeggyU said...

Max - I agree, but I also understand the awkward position the schools get put in by over-litigious parents. It only takes a few to ruin things for everyone.

I think kids who are that old will be aware of their allergies, as will the school - since they should have the student's health info on file if the parents provided it. I think there might be more to this particular story, though, than what was relayed in the article. The school provided the lunches to both of these students. Is it possible that the student with the sandwich was under some sort of food restriction, and that's why he had a different meal in the first place? If that were the case, then the school would have been following the parent's directives.

I do think everyone should be responsible for what he puts in his own mouth. Problem is, somewhere along the line that responsibility was assumed by schools - probably because somebody failed to take responsibility for his own welfare and the school got blamed.

maxutils said...

You could be right , Peggy U... but the impression I got from the story was that the student with the cheese sandwich was on a government funded school lunch program, and the other got to choose.

maxutils said...

And ... I must say. If my child wants a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch? The government does not have the right to make me have them have something else. If you've got a nut allergy? Don't sit next to my child. What if you're in a class where 1 kid has a nut allergy, 1 a bologna allergy, 1 a gluten allergy, 1 a vegan, 1 lactose intolerant ... things can get really silly, really fast.