A Janitor telling your child to eat their whole lunch!?

[deleted account] ( 34 moms have responded )

My son got in the car fri. after school and said he was told in school he needed to finish his lunch. He had part of a soft pretzel left and he said this was not the first time it had happened. To top it off it was the janitor that told him this! (not that I have anything wrong w/janitors, but I thought they were there to clean and take care of the school. That is what the tax dollars are for if I am correct?) He also has gotten in trouble for standing to open his lunchable, standing up to fix his shorts, not raising his hand (one time first week of school) to empty his garbage. He is not a kid that gets in trouble and when he does he gets very upset and is hard on himself.

I went in right after he told me that to talk to the principal. He has intussecption, even noted on medical records there. (means his bowels get irritated very easily and he may not eat) Well she was VERY snotty like I was one of the kids a school. Which did not fly with me. I was nice at first, but then basically told her the Janitor has no right or any of the staff to tell my kid this and I think most parents would agree with me. They did not go to school to be a nutritionist. I was told they tell all the kids that so they do better in school. My opinion is someone there is a little power hungry with these kids. Anyway he is scared to death to go to lunch now! He is in first grade and I feel that it should be at the least of his worries. I don't know if I am taking it a little hard because he is my child and I feel his pain!? I am almost half tempted to go to the superintendent. Do you think that is to harsh? Or am I over reacting?

Her cure to it was to write a note to the cafeteria manager. So I did and it was on the border line very mean so maybe they will get the hint they are not nutritionists. Any input would be very helpful!!!

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Cathy - posted on 10/23/2009

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I think your right that the school is part of an authority system, but how many times do we as parents have to sit by and pick up the pieces to where the school falls short...Sometimes we have to stick up for our children or they won't know how to do it themselves when they grow up.. All children need to know they are loved and that they have someone on their side.

[deleted account]

I think ur totally over reacting ..sorry.
First of all, the Janitor comes everyday, he knows the kids, he knows what their up to..as children always talk to the janitor, and asks them whatch doin?...
I don't think he's being nasty be making a comment to finish his lunch..if u see the amount of food chn chuck straight into the garbage, i would too. Most only eat the crap food, without eatting whats good for them first..like their sandwich..or fruit...u shouldn't bother with "snacky types of food" as their a waste of money..and no or little nutritional value...I work at with chn, and during the holidays parents give their chn.heaps of snacks..rather than a sandwich, fruit...and they're the kids that a starving come late afternoon tea...where they'd rather eat fresh cut up fruit.., or bread with spreads, u should see them make their "salad sandwiches"....
The janitor is a person too, and just made a passing comment....no biggie

Allison - posted on 10/18/2009

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I don't think that you over reacted at all! I would have been pretty annoyed myself. You like to think to yourself that you're sending your child to school into a nurturing environment where they'll feel safe, particularly when they're only first graders. I don't think Janitors should be around, in fact I don't see why they have to be present when children are eating, I'm in Australia and we don't have cleaners floating around when kids are eating. In the end, YOU need to feel comfortable about where you are sending your child to school. This is the place that will help to shape them, it's where they will spend a large chunk of their day & you need to have the utmost confidence in them with your child. By the way, you should not have had to write a note to the cafeteria manager, the Principal should have gotten off her snotty behind and sorted that one out herself!

Angie - posted on 10/23/2009

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Amen, Jana! How can the every single staff member at a school know every single child's issues? If every staff member was told every child's issues, parents would be complaining that their child's rights were abused because confidential information was given to everyone.............

[deleted account]

I think your overreacting with all of this. In some way it does seem to bother you that it was a janitor that made the comment to your son. You say that you have no issue with janitors, but you felt the need to say "To top it off it was the janitor that told him this! ". An adult was just encouraging your child to eat and had no idea about your son having a condition. Truthfully, very few of us have gone to be school to be nutritionist, but we still feed our kids. Talking to the principal is okay and so was her telling you to write a note to someone else. Young kids do get busy talking at lunch and probably do need to be reminded to eat from time to time. Just let it go at this point. Tell your son to eat he needs to eat as much of his lunch as possible and that if anyone says anything to him about eat more, just say okay. Does it mean he has to eat more? No, but the getting so upset is not needed either.

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Patricia - posted on 11/27/2012

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This would not fly with me either. I have seen more and more children with eating issues because of these types of things being said to them like finish and be punished for it. I would complain especially since he does have a medical issue here. That janitor needs to mind his own business and shouldn't even be speaking to the children. His job is to clean and that is it.

Amanda - posted on 12/09/2010

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I would of done the same damn thing! I would be so irate!!! I mean a janitor of all people telling kids to eat all their lunch?! WTF I mean he cleans for a living!! ( No offense to any janitors out there!) and he thinks that he can just demand things from little kids?! I would most definetly go to the superintendent! If the damn principle is too lazy to fix this you are going to need to find someone else! My sons school is extremley helpful, and I don't think I could imagine this ever happening there but if it did I would take the same steps you are to improving this. It's not right for a 1st grader to not want to go to lunch because of ADULTS! I could understand if it was because their was a bully trying to take his food or lunch money, but it's because of the rude adults! Omg!!! Keep doing what you're doing and good luck! :)

Patricia - posted on 12/09/2010

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I understand Jana's point; however this was a NON-ISSUE. I have no problem when a teacher deals with my children about something LEGITIMATE and later on WILL discuss the matter with me POLITELY. However we pay our taxes to a school system that needs to be accountable to what they deal with their students/our children about and NOT be snooty or disrepctful when a parent has a question about what was said to a student or whether the problem was something to be taken seriously or a non-issue

Patricia - posted on 12/09/2010

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Any way you can find another school for your son????
Honestly if a PRINCIPLE got snotty with me when I LEGITIMATELY complained about a JANITOR butting into MY Child's Business, I would SERIOUSLY consider pulling him out of this ''school'' and finding another one that will focus on not only Educating children but knowing the difference between a REAL disciplinary issue and something that is really NONE of his/her Business
I am Praying that your son can go to another school as I type this....I am SO SORRY you and he are going through this; schools these days are stepping WAY out of their bounds...................

AMERICA - posted on 10/30/2009

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you are not over reacting!!! no one will stand up for your kids but you!!!!! i am a mom who feels that the school officals are there to educate our kids not parent them!!!!! go to the superintendant and tell them how you feel!!!!! how else will the problem get solved! STAND YOUR GROUND!!!!!!!!!

[deleted account]

I went to the doctors and got a note for him. I told my son next time it happened to polietley asked to be excused to call me. Well it happened again Friday. The principal happened to be there this time again. Kaden told her he would like to call me at home. So on my way to the school (it was book fair week I volunteer) she called me and said Kaden wanted to call me because he was told to eat his lunch. (I felt like batting my head against the wall) She was nice this time though. So, being polite I told her he can not be made to eat his lunch. I asked her if he was fooling around and she said no. He had eaten all of his pizza and that is all his belly could hold. Her response: "I don't know why he would get that idea to call you?" I told him to call me if there was any problems. Her response O' I turned in the medical note along with a letter to the cafeteria manager as requested and the doctors note was my idea! I don't know how long we will have to go around about this, but he does have medical problem. I think it needs tatooed to his forehead! lol

[deleted account]

I think I didn't overreact. I am not saying the janitor is not a person. Does he get the medical records for kids? No. My son has a medical condition and if you were a mom that did not stick up for your child for something like this, then I don't think much of you.

Klaudia - posted on 10/23/2009

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I feel your pain when it comes to righteous indignation when adults are hurting your child. I am ALL up in their faces! I agree with the note, that was a good move.

One more thought occurred to me while reading your message. I also get very upset when I am trying to instill a moral, good habit, courtesy, etc. in my child and the adults that are with my children so much seem to discourage or just plain undo what I've taught. So, my point here is that when an adult (janitors are sometimes slow-moving patient-tempered people, easily taken to by children) does re-enforce a "thought" that I'm teaching my child, it's very reassuring. I can see that in this case, your child needs some leeway, but in other areas it could be good. Perhaps a personal chat with a few of these people could be a gift you can give your child as his only advocate. Keep up the strong stance! :)

Jana - posted on 10/23/2009

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When i was growing up, the school was part of my authority system. i think too many parents are whining and sticking up for their kids when they should be helping out the school to raise ur kids. Sorry, but it had to be said.

[deleted account]

Karen and Rachel do have very good points here - about the janitor being a concerned adult and about children often wasting food.

I've been thinking about this over the past couple of days - I can see both sides.

I still think your school may have reacted inappropriately given your particular case history, however, I can also see how someone who sees the children regularly might have just made an innocent remark.

I still also agree that I would be fairly put out too - I don't like anyone telling my daughter to do things which conflict with my beliefs and methods - especially concerning food.

I'm just glad that a few people have dared to bring in views from the other side - something which, in my reflecting on how I would feel, I didn't even consider. Thank you to you two.

Kari - posted on 10/22/2009

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I don't blame you for reacting in the way in which you did and it's not an overreaction. I would have definately done the same thing. These schools don't take care of our kids with their best interest and some of the teachers and staff are always in everyones business and treat our kids unfairly! I don't understand why they would be teaching children if they don't like to do it and if they don't FULLY understand at each age level how that child is thinking or will react to something they do or say!! I had a situation with my son where they thought he should be attending school at an IU13 because his fine motor skills aren't where they need to be. His teacher said his writing and cutting are his biggest problems. Um Hello he's in K-5! He's still learning and it's still considered the beginning of the school year. I at first was debateing whether I wanted to sign the papers for him to go to that school because of course I was concerned with him being associated with bad kids and following in their direction. But in the end I decided not to hold him back if he needs an extra push. I went to see his teacher and asked her if she had heard anything regarding this paper I sent in. She was snippy and was like you ONLY handed it in in the beginning of the week. Then proceeded to tell me my son cut a pocket out of a chair. And that the principal wasn't in that week but she is going to speak to him concerning this. Wasn't she the one who told me my son couldn't cut right? And where was the supervision? And just WHEN was she planning on telling me!! If there is an issue with my son I want to know immediately!!

Cathy - posted on 10/22/2009

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I think you are totally right!!! What is up with all these adults in our school they act more like children than the children LOL.. I'm not usually a overbearing person but recently my son had a problem with his bus driver and I was completely appalled as to the reaction I got when I confronted her...Maybe before someone is allowed to work at the schools they should have to get some kind of training on child physcology LOL

Jana - posted on 10/22/2009

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i think you're overreacting. i'm guessing the janitor.. who is also a person that works at the school, just wanted to make sure your child knew it was lunchtime and was reminded to eat. sometimes kids get distracted and lunch isn't very long, and being a first grader with only one opportunity to eat during school hours, may have needed to be reminded. let it go.

Michelle - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Dana :

A Janitor telling your child to eat their whole lunch!?

My son got in the car fri. after school and said he was told in school he needed to finish his lunch. He had part of a soft pretzel left and he said this was not the first time it had happened. To top it off it was the janitor that told him this! (not that I have anything wrong w/janitors, but I thought they were there to clean and take care of the school. That is what the tax dollars are for if I am correct?) He also has gotten in trouble for standing to open his lunchable, standing up to fix his shorts, not raising his hand (one time first week of school) to empty his garbage. He is not a kid that gets in trouble and when he does he gets very upset and is hard on himself.
I went in right after he told me that to talk to the principal. He has intussecption, even noted on medical records there. (means his bowels get irritated very easily and he may not eat) Well she was VERY snotty like I was one of the kids a school. Which did not fly with me. I was nice at first, but then basically told her the Janitor has no right or any of the staff to tell my kid this and I think most parents would agree with me. They did not go to school to be a nutritionist. I was told they tell all the kids that so they do better in school. My opinion is someone there is a little power hungry with these kids. Anyway he is scared to death to go to lunch now! He is in first grade and I feel that it should be at the least of his worries. I don't know if I am taking it a little hard because he is my child and I feel his pain!? I am almost half tempted to go to the superintendent. Do you think that is to harsh? Or am I over reacting?
Her cure to it was to write a note to the cafeteria manager. So I did and it was on the border line very mean so maybe they will get the hint they are not nutritionists. Any input would be very helpful!!!


I do not think anyone principal, teacher, or janitor has a right to tell a child to eat everything.  They can encourage them to eat a little more but to tell them they have to eat everything on their plate is setting them up for obesity later in life.  We have enough of a problem with that in this country already.



You did the right thing going in and talking to the principal even if she did treat you poorly.  You are your childs best advocate.

Michelle - posted on 10/22/2009

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Quoting Emilie:

Wow! The schools where you live must be very different then the schools in NC, My son is in first grade also, he and alot of other kids never finish their lunch. I have sat in his classroom and eaten lunch with him, and they are free to stand up and walk around as they like, as long as they are not disturbing anybody. I have never heard of that. I know things are different from city to city and state to state, My sister's step-son lives in VA, and the kids have to bring their own toilet paper to school and their own snacks. I like the schools here.


Their own toilet paper...now that is getting a little ridiculous.



 



I am in Central Virginia about half way between Richmond, VA and Washington, DC and they expect the children to bring their own snack beginning in 1st. grade and depending on the teacher.  In kindergarten each student is assigned one day a month to bring a healthy snack for the class.



I have never heard of a school system requiring the student to supply their own toilet paper, however after buying all the school supplies they request you might as well be supplying the toilet paper.

Michelle - posted on 10/21/2009

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Alright Mama! You have to stand up for your kids and I think you did awesome! Kids need to know that if they have a problem that they can come to their parents and not just be ignored. Things are taking place in his life that bother him and no matter how small it may seem to some people [like the snotty principal] your son will never forget that you stood up for him. And that is extremely important because later in life he will know that he can come to you with any problem and you will try your best to help him. I would do the same for my kids and I'm glad there are other mom's out there who do the same. And if your school principal doesn't take your issue seriously, especially because there are medical issues involved, maybe talk to your pediatrician and get a letter from her directed towards the principal and also bring it up with the school superintendent. You sound like a great mom, keep up the good work!

Emilie - posted on 10/21/2009

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Wow! The schools where you live must be very different then the schools in NC, My son is in first grade also, he and alot of other kids never finish their lunch. I have sat in his classroom and eaten lunch with him, and they are free to stand up and walk around as they like, as long as they are not disturbing anybody. I have never heard of that. I know things are different from city to city and state to state, My sister's step-son lives in VA, and the kids have to bring their own toilet paper to school and their own snacks. I like the schools here.

Amanda - posted on 10/21/2009

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even as a fully grown adult my appetite varies alot, so why expect a child to be any differant? When my kids go through a growth spurt thet eat any eat anything that is not nailed down, but when they are not going through a spurt they dont eat a whole lot. I never assume how much my son will or will not eat at school, so when I pack his lunch box I always put in more than I think he will need, just in case. If he doesnt eat it all that is fine by me, that just tells me that he had enough to eat. I would rather him not eat all his lunch than not have packed enough and have him be hungry.

Tricia - posted on 10/21/2009

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Hi Dana! I feel for you here - our school has lunch supervisors that are constantly telling kids to "Eat your sandwich first", "Eat all your lunch", etc, etc. Personally, I think that kids are their own best guage of their hunger, not the janitor, not the principal, not the lunch room supervisor. There are SO many reasons why kids don't eat their whole lunch - the start of a virus, too much excitement, etc - that I don't think we need to drill into them that old mantra "No dessert until you clean your plate"! No child will starve him/herself, and as a matter of fact, children are much better than adults (generally) at stopping eating when they are full. Now, given the fact that your child has a medical condition that affects his eating habits, and given the fact that it is not the janitor's job to forcefully make a child to eat, I would go to the superintendent. The most compelling reason for me is the sole fact that obviously the principal has no interest in advocating for or protecting the health and well-being of your child!!! Remember, just because she is the principal, does not mean that she has the final say in how things are run and how the children are treated! Your child in grade 1 is in no position to advocate for himself to elders such as a principal, a janitor or the cafeteria staff, so you need to be the advocate for your child and don't stop until things change! If this means going to the superintendent, then so be it! And, unfortunately, if things still don't change, then you might want to consider changing schools. The first years in school are so important because they give our kids a lasting impression and overall attitude towards school as a whole. It would be a shame to allow something like LUNCH to jade his entire school experience!
Best of luck to you, and let us know what happens! =)

Carrie - posted on 10/21/2009

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I've never encountered something of this nature, but I would be highly PISSED. I think if it continues you should call the sup. Half the time th lunches they serve in school are not something I would feed my dog. I don't believe janitors should be in a lunch room with their trash contaminating the kids school lunch. Second I don't think anyone but parents should be telling peoples kids what they should be eating. I would assume that as long as schools have been around that they price food with the possibility of waste, kids are not always going to eat something they don't like. As I said if it continues do call the higher level, don't stand for people telling him to eat, if he was doing something wrong I could see it, but not something like this.

Sylvia - posted on 10/21/2009

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Quoting Dana :

There wasn't a problem until the principal gave me the attitude. I did not go in yelling or mad. I wanted the situation dealt with and not tell me to write to the cafeteria manager. That is her job. And my son is not the type of kid to get in trouble or horse around. He is very quiet and reserved. It irks me that the medical records were not read. That is why they are put into place.
A side note to Sylvia, maybe telling kids they need to eat more is why as a society people are so overweight and heavy and by teaching them now that you do not eat everything on your plate would raise a healthier child in the future when they become an adult.


 



Hi Dana,



I'm sorry if it sounded like I was advocating making kids clean their plates (or empty their lunch bags, in this case ;^)) -- I don't agree with that approach AT ALL and certainly don't insist that my daughter keep on eating after she's full. Both DH and I were raised that way to some extent (in DH's case the food issues are so extreme that even when he's so hungry that he can barely keep it together, I have to *insist* that it's OK for him to have a healthy snack to tide him over till dinner!).  I'm pretty sure she's not overeating, since she's 48" tall and weighs 40 lb.



On the other hand, I also make sure I don't pack her a bigger lunch than she can reasonably eat. If she comes home with 3/4 of what I packed her still in her backpack, that tells me that she was doing something else when she was supposed to be eating -- yakking with her friends, probably :P. Again, that's my child, not yours! :)



I agree that making people eat more when they're already full is probably a factor in the general tendency to overweight that we see in North America these days. It's not the only factor, though. I actually think a bigger issue might be the ever-smaller amount of time that kids spend being active -- fewer kids walk to school,  there are fewer PE classes per week, more kids are playing organized sports and fewer have free time after school to just run around playing or ride their bikes around the neighbourhood, kids are spending more time in front of the TV or on the computer or doing homework...

[deleted account]

There wasn't a problem until the principal gave me the attitude. I did not go in yelling or mad. I wanted the situation dealt with and not tell me to write to the cafeteria manager. That is her job. And my son is not the type of kid to get in trouble or horse around. He is very quiet and reserved. It irks me that the medical records were not read. That is why they are put into place.
A side note to Sylvia, maybe telling kids they need to eat more is why as a society people are so overweight and heavy and by teaching them now that you do not eat everything on your plate would raise a healthier child in the future when they become an adult.

Niki - posted on 10/20/2009

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Hello Dana,
My son is also in First grade, and I don't blame any of the kids for not eating all of their food, honestly, I have eatin lunch with my son at his school, its not exactly the greatest food. I know the teachers as well as lunch room staff at our school hold the kids to one rule, they have to eat atleast 2 bites of everything on their plates. Not clean their plate completly.
I dont think you are overreacting at all, they have no way of knowing whether a child is truley full or not, some people don't take into consideration how small their tummy's are and that all children eat differently, good luck

Sylvia - posted on 10/20/2009

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I suspect they are just trying to stop the kids from wasting food, but given the medical issues, I'd be a bit put out too. And what if a kid is just saving something to eat at afternoon recess? When I pack my daughter's lunch (she's in grade 2), I pack enough for a snack at morning recess, lunch, and another snack at afternoon recess -- I wouldn't expect her to eat the whole thing at one go. If for some reason she doesn't eat something, it just goes back in her lunch bag and comes home again at the end of the day.

Anyway, would it work to pack his lunch and his recess-time snacks in separate, smaller bags/containers, so it's clear he's not *supposed* to be eating the whole thing at lunchtime?

And if someone is giving him grief about throwing food away, maybe just tell him he can always bring home anything he couldn't finish? That way he won't be throwing food away and he might be less likely to attract unwelcome attention...

I'm not sure why the focus on nutritionists and training in nutrition -- you don't need to be a nutritionist to know that kids need to eat regularly, and eat healthy food, or they won't be able to pay attention or focus in school. I would have no objection to a teacher, a lunchroom supervisor, or, yes, even a school caretaker telling my kid to quit horsing around and eat her lunch. I'd probably tell her to ignore it if someone told her she had to eat everything in her lunch bag, though (not that anyone ever has).

[deleted account]

I get very upset when someone tells my daughter to eat everything up. I've fought the extra 20 lbs for years because of that mentality, and also never learned to recognize when I was satisfied.

My personal rule of thumb is to point out it is all the food the child is getting until next meal time - and if lunch is skipped, there will be no afternoon snack to make up for it. Then it is up to the child to decide.

Maybe you could tell your child to just ignore the people (politely) ...?

Natasha - posted on 10/19/2009

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I had a similar story as well, Last year my son came home very upset and this was his first year of school, He said that the cafeteria lady said that he needed to finish all of his food. I got really upset and it just so happened that I had my parent teacher conference that following day, So when I went into talk to her, I let her know that what had happened and that I was upset and she said well normally most parents want theyre kids to finish there food and I said yes I understand that but my son eats plenty at home and therefore im not worried about him not eating ALL of us lunch. I dont know what makes them think they have the right to tell ANYONES child what or how much to eat.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/19/2009

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we send our kids to school to get an education and that is it! the janitors and other staff have no right to tell you child anything as far as eating all there food. that is our jobs as parents not theirs. so if it continues just contact the B.O.E where your child go to school. to get some justice for the matter

Cheryl - posted on 10/18/2009

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I agree. The JANITOR has absolutely no business telling you child what to do except where to dump his trash. I'm wondering why the pricipal of the school had to answer to the cafeteria manager. Isn't the principal supposed tobe the top of the food chain as far as in the building goes? I'm right there with you. If I was in your situation I'd definitely goto the superintendant if you don't get the DESIRED result not some half assed attempt at a compramise. We're all behind you sister!

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