Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Making the most important meal of the day most important

This morning, I was 10 minutes late dropping Jennifer off at school. As I was telling her goodbye and reminding her to eat some breakfast when she got to class, she informed me that if the children are done eating breakfast when she got to class, her teacher would not allow her to eat breakfast.

I was alarmed! Her teacher was denying her food? This was so wrong!

I reminded Jennifer to tell her teacher that her mother said she must have breakfast, and I assured her I would straighten this out.

Soon after I got home, I set to work typing out a lengthy e-mail to both her teacher and the school principal. I was fuming over this but I kept the e-mail civil. I apologized for getting Jennifer to school late on some mornings, noting that her tardiness was NOT her fault and that she should not be "punished" for being late by being denied breakfast, and explaining that, in addition to getting Jennifer up and ready to go to school in the mornings, I am also getting my toddler son's diaper changed and getting him ready to go with us. Because my husband works late and doesn't usually get to bed until 4 or 5 a.m., I don't feel secure leaving the baby with him after only 2-3 1/2 hours of sleep while I drop Jennifer off at school. The schedule is crazy; the baby might sleep or he might wake up in time for us all to be ready on time. (I have been thinking of just waking him up when I get Jen up, though I'd hate to disturb his sleep.)
Anyway, I was fuming over this whole thing. I was just...outraged! I couldn't believe they were making her go hungry until lunch time. What in the world!

I was chatting with someone as I typed my e-mail and I told her about this. She commented on certain legal matters concerning food laws at elementary schools and advised me to check out Oregon laws relating to this before I sent the e-mail.

Well, all I can say is, it's a good thing I used e-mail to communicate my concerns about this. If I was speaking to them in person, I might've ended up screaming at them.

After I sent the e-mail, I thought I would feel better, but I didn't. I was just reeling over the whole thing. Even when I homeschooled Jennifer, I made sure she ate breakfast first! AAH!

When the teacher responded to my e-mail, she had something different to say. She noted that the school DOES recognize the importance of children eating breakfast (part of the reason why they offer it free to all of the children, regardless of family income), and that the latecomers to class are allowed, even advised, to walk to the cafeteria to get some breakfast. She did note how there was one time Jennifer did not do this when she had suggested this, and I started to think maybe we had mixed signals here. Maybe Jennifer said she didn't want to go get breakfast, changed her mind later, and was told it was too late.

She also let me know that the children are provided with a snack at around 2 hours after arriving at school, which is also 2 hours and 20 minutes before lunch.

I had to reflect on this. I was relieved to hear that they make it a priority that the children receive adequate nourishment and food during the school day. I remembered one day, when Jennifer was late for kindergarten, she was told she missed breakfast and she wasn't able to eat anything. I suppose maybe they changed that policy since then. And, if so, I'm glad for it. Once again, this school comes out as a winner in taking care of their students!

It didn't bother me that, in the end, this was all a big misunderstanding. I am glad I was able to make my feelings about this kind of thing known to them, and that they understood the whole situation about why I've gotten Jennifer to school late on occasion and how I try very hard to ensure she gets to school on time. (The teacher definitely understood this, because she, too, has a small child. Only a parent can relate to these things!)

Nevertheless, the quest continues to figure out the best way to have both kids ready to go out the door on time so that I can get Jennifer to school on time. I am glad and extremely grateful that the school makes sure that even the late kids receive breakfast, but I will still try to make sure she gets to school on time so there are no disruptions.

No comments: