Illegal lunch ?

Sharon - posted on 04/21/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?sectio...



CLEVELAND, TX (KTRK) -- Parents are angry over a punishment at an area middle school. A father says his child didn't get a proper lunch, just to teach him a lesson.



Dennis Sowell is mad and determined.



"I don't put up with this," he said. "They have to leave the profession."



He is calling for the end of careers and all because of a less than appetizing lunch.



"That meal is illegal to serve to a death row inmate," Sowell said.



Sowell says his 12-year-old son, a sixth grader at Cleveland Middle School, was assigned to in-school suspension for missing 30 minutes of class last month.



As part of the punishment, he wasn't allowed the usual cafeteria food for lunch.



Instead, the school gave him white bread, cheese and milk.



"You don't withhold food as punishment," Sowell said. "It has nothing to do with the quantity of the meal; it has to do with they violated the statutes, they violated the trust, they violated state and federal rules."



In fact, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture Regulations for school lunches, in-school suspension students must have equal access to food service. The secretary of state's administrative code says fruits and or vegetables must be offered daily.



Sowell says the school is in violation and goes even farther.



"That is child abuse top to bottom," he said.



Cleveland ISD's Superintendent Kerry Cowart confirms the school had been serving the sparse lunch to students as part of their discipline since the beginning of the school year.



While Cowart doesn't think the administrators did anything wrong, they aren't doing it anymore. ISS students now have access to the same lunch as everyone else.



Case closed, but not for Sowell.



"The only discipline is the license leaves the wall, they leave the profession" he said.



A Texas Department of Agriculture spokeswoman tells ABC13 that the agency received a complaint, and they investigated it, and that's why the school changed its ways.



The agriculture department is satisfied with that corrective action, but Sowell says he plans to file another complaint with the Texas Education Agency.

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27 Comments

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Cassie - posted on 04/25/2010

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I think the school went a little too far in only offering the milk and a cheese sandwich; a fruit or veggie should have been offered along with the cheese sandwich. BUT this is not child abuse. The school broke their own rules regarding the food offered to students, were reprimanded and have changed the way they operate offering food.

It is RIDICULOUS of the father to demand the school employees be fired. It is laughable actually. No harm was done to his son and by taking it so far, he is not teaching his son anything more than how to look like an idiot when you feel you've been wronged. He is going about the situation in an entirely inappropriate way and is teaching his son nothing.

C. - posted on 04/25/2010

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I think that's borderline child abuse. Kids need proper nourishment at school AND at home, though unfortunately there are many that can't get a decent meal at home. Schools shouldn't be allowed to do that. When I was in ISS (it was a lot, but not for anything real bad), we ate what everyone else ate in the cafeteria. We sat apart from all the other students, but we went through the line and were able to get whatever was on the menu. I think ISS is enough of a punishment. In our school, we had desks with separators so you couldn't see each other and we had to do all the work that was given to us to make up.. We had to sit at those desks all day, isolated. How is something like that not enough punishment? Give him after school detention if ISS isn't enough, but for crying out loud..



Yet on the other hand.. At least they gave him SOMETHING to eat, right? I'm kind of torn on this one..

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2010

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Sharon, I kind of did the same thing!!!! My son stopped eating certain things and I found out he wasn't eating his apple so I stopped sending them.



I have since learned both my kids go through phases, so instead of forcing certain fruit on them, I let them choose at the store when I buy it. Some days they choose apples, others bananas, others mandarins. OK, so I didn't let them have bananas when we were paying $18 per kilogram for them......I have my limits.

Sharon - posted on 04/25/2010

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I still don't think the cheese sandwich was a big deal. When i caught my kids wasting food, I quit buying it. (they were taking single bites out of apples and throwing them away) I did. I quit buying apples. It was a long while before i brought apples back.

I also don't make or give my kids food if the won't eat their meal. If that means they are going to go hungry, then so be it. Hunger is obviously not that bad if they can take it.

Jodi - posted on 04/25/2010

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Well, aren't I in the shit? My kids go to school quite frequently with a cheese sandwich or bread roll in their lunch box. Admittedly on wholegrain bread and with a piece of fruit, but seriously.......child abuse?

Ez - posted on 04/25/2010

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I think the Dad is a tool, but I also don't think the food should be used as a punishment. The school administration broke the rules, they've been caught, and the practice has been stopped. That should be it.

Honestly, I would rather my child be kept for another detention or something. I realise no kid is going to be traumatised by a cheese sandwich lol, but I can't help but think the idea of a school withholding food or altering the planned menu as punishment is a dangerous one.

[deleted account]

Well, because cheese is "predigested" the proteins in it don't bother us. We can't have liquid milk or ice cream.

We were used to the regular stuff - mozzarella, cheddar, jack, and American, but when we had our "bread & cheese" dinners we'd have a variety of more pricey cheeses, a few at a time. Our favorites were Camembert, Muenster & Havarti. John likes the blue cheeses. Patrick & I thought they were a bit over-powering.

Sharon - posted on 04/24/2010

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hahahaha they do have soy cheeses Laura... I'm honestly afraid to try them, but i have a vegan friend who says they're ok.

Isobel - posted on 04/24/2010

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I agree...somebody deserved a thump...the kids parents. They are what's wrong with society today. To call this child abuse and call for the end of somebody's career is absolutely absurd! They should be worried about their kid's delinquency and making sure that issue is dealt with.

I'm curious MaryEllen...what kind of cheeses did you eat for dinner, being dairy free?

[deleted account]

Mmmm, When my son was little, once a month we'd have bread or crackers, cheese and fruit for dinner. The three of us would sit on the floor around the coffee table and taste different kinds of cheeses and breads along with whatever fruit was in season. We didn't have milk - We're dairy free - intolerant or allergic.



If this dad wanted to look less silly, he should have said his son was on a special diet or allergic to something that was offered. That wouldn't sound so whiny as complaining about the plainness of the food sounds.



*SO* glad we homeschool!

Lady - posted on 04/22/2010

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I'm glad the practice of giving a less lunch as a punishment is over, I don't think with holding food is an appropriate punishment for a school to dish out and should have been stopped but I think the Dad is going way over the top asking for peoples jobs over it!

Dana - posted on 04/22/2010

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I disagree, I think it's not the fact that it's only a cheese sandwich and milk. I think that it's to do with it being a discipline method. You do wrong, you get in school suspension AND an inadequate lunch. By law schools are to supply students with a proper meal, they broke the law, plain and simple. Whoever signed off on giving all kids in in school suspension a meager meal should be demoted.

Kate CP - posted on 04/22/2010

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ONE cheese sandwich, no. I don't think this is a huge deal. I wouldn't be calling for the end of some one's career over it. But, some one deserves a thump upside the head, though.

Sarah - posted on 04/22/2010

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I've no problem with cheese sandwiches! (as some of you know haha)
I would be annoyed purely because i would have PAID for my child to receive a school dinner.
I don't think it's a good punishment, but i do think calling it child abuse is WAY over the top!

LaCi - posted on 04/22/2010

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We fed our delinquents more than that, and I still felt it wasn't enough. Maybe I sympathize since there were kids in the center who were happy to be there because they got fed on a regular basis.

[deleted account]

Haha, that's what my daughter and I ate for lunch today. Cheese sandwiches and milk. Am I a child abuser? Maybe not because our cheese was on wheat bread, not white as the article specified.

BUT, a school shouldn't withhold food from a child. I think the parent is over-reacting, because the child was fed. But the school should make sure all students get proper lunch. As others have pointed out, school lunch is the only food some children get.

Lindsay - posted on 04/21/2010

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All this over a cheese sandwich and milk? Are you kidding me? There are so many parents out there that need a reality check. This kid skipped school and is serving his punishment. I would be far more concerned that my child was cutting class than over the school not giving him a "burger and fries" for lunch. And if this truly is the only meal he is recieving, his father needs to be looking into getting a job to provide his family food instead of bitching and complaining about something as small as this.

Kelly - posted on 04/21/2010

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I am with Sharon on this one. Since when is a cheese sandwich child abuse? If the kids are earning in school suspension, they apparently have respect (among other) issues. And this dad shows where his kid gets it from. No one wants to hold their kids accountable for anything anymore. All it's doing is creating a generation of brats who expect to be taken care of their whole lives. And I am sorry, if those kids are only getting ONE meal a day (at school) and their parents aren't feeding them at home, why are you outraged at the school short changing them, and not the parents who apparently can't afford to have kids in the first place? It is not the school's responsibility to provide a sole source of nutrition to children. That is a parents job.

Kate CP - posted on 04/21/2010

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The problem I have with this is that it can cause serious health issues for the kid: constipation. There are already so many problems with the school lunch program in this country already. Did you see the article about the military bitching about school lunches and how unhealthy they are? That says a lot coming from the military. :/

Sharon - posted on 04/21/2010

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They didnot withold food. The kids recieved an adequate, if less than appetizing, lunch.

Those kids were not eating that lunch all year, it has just been the policy since the beginning of the school year. They don't mention if it has been implemented at all.

Rosie - posted on 04/21/2010

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i'm with sharon on this one. there's nothing worng with that meal, in fact sometimes that's what my kids want, lol! but if they were punishing my kid, i would like to be informed and have a say in what goes on.

Tah - posted on 04/21/2010

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i agree..you don't withhold food as punishment to children..some children go to school and those are the only meals they have in a day..that is def not the punishment fitting the crimea and the fact that they have been doing it all year is what makes it worse...

Sharon - posted on 04/21/2010

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ARGH coms started to glitch up in the middle of my asterisk line...



Was the punishment justified?



Is this dad just being a prick?



My opinion? If my kids had thrown food around my house, wasting it, ruining things and completely disregarding my authority - they would have gotten a lot worse than a plain cheese sandwich w/milk.



I would want to be notified before hand of the punishment though.

LaCi - posted on 04/21/2010

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Thats ridiculous. There are some kids who get their food at school, not at home. Some kids rely on school food for their sole source of nourishment. They have every right to be outraged. This is not a tolerable form of punishment.

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