WIBU to make a complaint to the school?

(98 Posts)
ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 16:31:10

DS has been berated by pupils and a staff member for the 'fatty foods' in his lunchbox. Apparently the staff member did ask him just to have a word with me to make sure it was better tomorrow as she will be checking.

Now, I know the school has a healthy eating policy, it was mentioned to me when he started - however I have had several meetings with the school to discuss DS's complex medical needs AND his high fat diet which is necessary due to DS being medically malnourished. The Head personally assured me that his diet wouldn't be an issue for the school. Ever.

My child needs 3000 calories per day to maintain his abysmal weight. We squeeze in calories whenever we can - and he needs crisps & chocolates as part of his regime (yogurts just don't quite have the fat content we need!).

Thing is, the school know this - so shouldn't be monitoring his lunchbox at all. DS is quite bothered by the other children's attitudes towards his lunchbox, and their opinions of his diet - he doesn't want to be unhealthy. He is also concerned that he will be shouted at by the staff member tomorrow - or by other members of staff in the future.

I want to complain, however I just want the school to get it right. They made a cock up of something else last week (medical) and I know that another appearance at the school is going to make me 'that mother'. WIBU to complain about this, or just let it lie and hope that they remember why my boy is gorging on chocolate?

Twattybollocks Wed 15-May-13 16:34:09

No Yanbu, but from the schools point of view it must be difficult for other children who have healthy lunches to see all the sweets and treats in his. That said, if he needs it he needs it!

EldritchCleavage Wed 15-May-13 16:34:23

No, I think you have to mention it as this has the potential to be a recurrent thing that could upset him or make him anxious.

And I would print out and laminate a card to put in the lunch box with a brief clear statement about his diet. Any one busybodies him again, he can brandish it.

piprabbit Wed 15-May-13 16:34:43

I would complain. Surely they have various pupils with assorted medical requirements (nut allergies, asthma etc.) and they manage to meet their medical needs, why should your DS be any different?
Talk to the HT and make sure that she communicates with her staff properly in future.

Smartieaddict Wed 15-May-13 16:35:43

It certainly sounds like you need to talk to the school, it sounds like a communications breakdown with the lunchtime staff which needs to be addressed. You don't need to go in all guns blazing, but it does need sorting, as it's not fair on your DS if this keeps happening. You won't be one of "those" mums.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 15-May-13 16:37:34

No, please DO complain. That is completely unacceptable. Mostly it is unacceptable because you have already told the school about your DS's specific dietary requirements but it is also objectionable imo because making comments about what children have in their lunchboxes is very unpleasant indeed. There are so many more positive ways you can encourage families to provide a healthy balanced lunch and the lunch you have provided for your DS is healthy FOR HIM!

Fwiw I discussed ways to help children and their families make healthy lunches on here a few years ago. I also discussed it with my school council. Every single child said that teachers going around picking things out of lunchboxes was upsetting and embarrassing and "would make the children not want to come to school". Thanks to MN and the children we came up with some fantastic ideas which really helped. Let me know if you would like me to share them so you can take them into your son's school! Sounds like they need them!

Hope you get a sensible response and your son gets the apology he deserves.

Bue Wed 15-May-13 16:37:38

I would complain (OK not complain, remind) and Eldritch's idea about the laminated card is a good one.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 15-May-13 16:40:15

I agree about the laminated card too but really I don't think the school ought to be adopting this approach with young children anyway. It creates alot of anxiety around dinner time which many of them already find difficult.

BarbarianMum Wed 15-May-13 16:40:22


If the attitude of other children to your son's lunchbox is an issue then would you consider he or the school explaining it too them? I don't think a lot of detail would be necessary, just an 'ds needs a high calorie diet to keep him healthy because of X,Y,Z. That means that he needs to eat crisps and chocolate every day.'

A friend of mine did this because her son had CF. The other children were very accepting,although there was a slight tendency thereafter to consider him 'lucky' for having his condition which he found rather irritating.

HairyWorm Wed 15-May-13 16:41:02

Yes. Speak to school. The member of staff should be speaking directly to you if they have an issue and not via your DC.
It could be that the member if staff isn't aware of his medical needs but still not appropriate to raise the issue with him.

freddiefrog Wed 15-May-13 16:42:54

Yes, do go in and have words

I had issues with my eldest, and we had lots of input with child psychologists and dieticians over her diet and we had agreed, with the head of her school, what she needed and the best way of getting calories into her.

The first day, a piece of cheese was confiscated as it was on their banned list and it went down hill from there. One day we got a 'report card' home giving us 2 out of 10 after they'd analysed their lunch boxes in class.

I was not amused.

The head did sort it out though

DorisIsWaiting Wed 15-May-13 16:44:46

Hi Reindeer

I would be in the school like a shot.

DD has chocolate as her breaktime snack (instead of fruit) and the staff help her.

Trying to get the calories in is remarkably difficult (we now have maxijul in all drinks as we weren't winning). Because despite offering pizza, crisps and god knows what else dd2 isn't hungry and will use any excuse not to eat.

I would ask to meet with the lunchtime staff rather than ask the head to pass the message across, Are you able to get to the school when they are likely to be there. I think a meeting in person would be taken more seriously and you are better placed to educate them on your ds's needs (does he need any additional medication?).

WorraLiberty Wed 15-May-13 16:45:26

How old is he?

Could he not just have said, "I have to have a special diet"?

I can see why you're annoyed but it's not practical to expect every member of staff to remember everything about every child.

FJL203 Wed 15-May-13 16:45:43

I'd be complaining in writing to the head and cc-ing to the board of governors as well as speaking to the staff member in person and telling them to butt out. I see no reason to be moderate about it when it's a medical need and the school has already been made aware of it. Good grief, what if it was a nut allergy that the staff member decided to override your requirements on?

Personally I'm already fed up with this nanny state approach and want schools to teach not to tell me what I may or may not feed my child and situations like yours, OP, make me crosser still.

You should not feel guilty or feel like you would be viewed as "that parent" for safeguarding your son's health.

Pancakeflipper Wed 15-May-13 16:46:51


I have a very underweight child. He is also super active. He needs a diet that's different to the average weight child. Our GP and dietician have been really helpful.

And so have the school except for 1 nosey bloody dinner lady.

I am fed up with one mother who is a dinner lady making barbed comments to me at the school gates about what is in my child's lunch box. It's none her damned business. She is not qualified in any way to comment. He has a good balanced diet but just needs more fat.


I know your frustration OP.

ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 16:47:15

I love the idea of a laminated card. I will print them off tonight. Thank you.

I get why this is an issue for his friends, he gets to eat all the 'treats' whilst his friends have to snack on rice cakes or whatever, but trust me he'd rather be in their position, than deal with his condition.

He is very food conscious, and it bothers him that his friends would think this about him, he got every upset a couple of years ago when they had a healthy mind and body week at school - I just had to keep reminding him that this doesn't apply to him.

More than anything I'm annoyed that I'm having to approach them again - l'd have hoped after mentioning something last week (his intravenous access devices came out at school) they would be more careful with him!

BarbarianMum Wed 15-May-13 16:49:16

<<I can see why you're annoyed but it's not practical to expect every member of staff to remember everything about every child.>>

I think its not unreasonable for every member of staff supervising lunchtimes to have easy access to dietary information for every child who has a special diet. In fact, its good practice and very important when it comes to things like allergies.

BalloonSlayer Wed 15-May-13 16:50:10

Yes, complain.

It's hardly difficult in these circumstances for an email to have been sent to all lunch staff: "XX is on a special high-fat, high-calorie diet prescribed by a paediatrician due to a medical condition. He is aware of the school's Healthy Eating policy and is therefore understandably self-conscious about the food he has to eat. Please do not make negative comments on the contents of his lunch, and make efforts to ensure that fellow students also do not make any negative comments to him."

I'd want to know - why was an email like that not sent out?

If one was sent out - what are they going to do about a member of staff disregarding it?

SingingSands Wed 15-May-13 16:50:42

It enrages me that some school staff see fit to police the contents of children's lunch boxes. The laminated card is an excellent idea - not just for his lunch box but a couple of spares for the staff room and the kitchen staff wouldn't go amiss.

BlueberryHill Wed 15-May-13 16:51:52

I agree with most of the posters, go in, maybe from the angle that you are disappointed in having to remind the school about your son's needs as you felt that this had already been resolved. Remind them that this issue has been raised and his consultant has specified that he should have this diet (what with x years of medical school and y years of experience he should know what is best for his patient). You could ask if it would be helpful for you to talk to the lunchtime staff, I bet they say no at that point. I think that the laminated card is a great idea, if you already have one, a letter from the consultant that outlines his condition and what he needs.

Worra, I would have thought that one child with a high fat requirement due to medical needs would stand out enough for staff to remember him.

WorraLiberty Wed 15-May-13 16:52:40

It would depend on the size of the school really Barbarian

Staff do have to check lunchboxes and in a large school, it's not really practical to have to take a child's name and then go through a database of maybe 900+ children, to find out if they have a special diet.

It's easier to ask them why they have that food and for the child to reply "I have a special diet". Then the person can check if they want to.

ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 16:52:53

Worra his school have a very low intake of children with additional needs. They had no idea about his condition when he was admitted to the school so myself and DS's medical staff were invited in to discuss what would affect the school and teachers - this was one of those things, as well as his lunchtime meds.

The majority of staff members were there and the staff member that spoke to him today was present at that meeting.

He is very articulate but didn't say anything as it was a big discussion between his friends and this staff member about his lunchbox. He clammed up, and didn't want to argue with several people at once, who would all insist he was wrong.

Doris how is DD2? We have a PEG and overnight feeds, and we bolus about 500 calories a day. Difficult just about covers it! wink DS is never hungry and has a poor appetite even when well - he would quite happily not eat at all!

EldritchCleavage Wed 15-May-13 16:56:28

I have recently had 4 year old DS telling me bossily what is and is not healthy, based on what he is told at nursery.

Now, it isn't the nursery's fault that DS is (i) bossy; and (ii) seizing on healthy eating messages to manipulate me into giving him particular things, but my heart did sink.

The messages are so over-simplified as to be unhelpful, I don't actually agree with some of them anyway and I'M THE PARENT, THIS STUFF IS MY JOB.

Healthy eating education is a good idea badly executed and happily grabbed onto by the naturally authoritarian as a new stick to beat people with. Hence lunch staff making a little boy feel bad and wrong and self-conscious about his food in front of other people. Very poor.

ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 16:57:23

It's a junior school and has two classes per year from year 3-6.

I will have to check what they are doing regarding communicating with staff members about DS - the incident last week was also he to a breakdown in communication.

They are a fabulous school, Don't get me wrong. But I'm disappointed that this has happened again so soon.

BlueberryHill Wed 15-May-13 16:58:14

I think that is an awful position to put your son in, the staff member was fully aware of your son's condition and made it a talking point with other children. I would actually complain about that, ask the HT why this has happened and ask for assurances that this will not happen again.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 15-May-13 16:58:23

I disagree Worra. Even in a large school the children with dietary requirements such as the ones described here would be fairly small and as OP says the staff were already briefed. It sounds as if the staff member was very insensitive whether he was aware of your son's condition or not.

SunshineMiddle Wed 15-May-13 17:01:06

^<<I can see why you're annoyed but it's not practical to expect every member of staff to remember everything about every child.>>

I think its not unreasonable for every member of staff supervising lunchtimes to have easy access to dietary information for every child who has a special diet. In fact, its good practice and very important when it comes to things like allergies.^

I totally agree. In my last school we had a sheet in the kitchen (accessible to all staff serving and supervising at lunchtimes) with the child's photograph and bullet points of their medical/religious food requirements.

I would see the head again.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 15-May-13 17:01:52

I am afraid that even a child who is underweight does not "need" crisps and chocolate...there are other, healthier options for helping him to gain weight. I personally would be very worried about a child's cholesterol if they were eating that on a daily basis.

I see he's underweight and agree that the school should speak to you personally...have you seen a dietitian who advised this diet?

BalloonSlayer Wed 15-May-13 17:06:13

the consultant has advised this diet Neo And the poor child has a feeding peg for fucks sake, do you seriously think that a dietitian hasn't been involved?

[gimme strength emoticon]

Cotherstone Wed 15-May-13 17:07:04

Err... Did you read the thread, neo? Did you see the mention of all the medical staff involved? confused

EldritchCleavage Wed 15-May-13 17:08:24

I've seen some thread-reading fails in my time, but that's a doozie!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 15-May-13 17:09:50

Balloon I missed that! There's no need to swear...I skimmed I admit. We're all guilty of that at times. My sincere apologies to Reindeer. I feel evern worse as she's been extra kind to me recently. So sorry. I'm tired.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 15-May-13 17:10:39

And of course you should complain Reindeer there's absolutely no excuse for this kind of thing to be happening at all. Abysmal failure on school's part.

DontmindifIdo Wed 15-May-13 17:13:48

You are right to complain, is this one of those annoying teachers who think they know better than the parents, the sort of old school type who "doesn't believe in nut allergies" or that sort of nonsense? If not, then why can't they accept that there's more than one dietary requirement in the world?

(Plus I think a lot of the policing lunchbox activities are terrible of schools to do, I don't see how it helps the DCs at all to say something, it's not like at that age they've packed it themselves, if they notice a lunchbox that doesn't follow what they think is healthy eating for a child that age, then send a letter/call the parents, not humilate the child for their parent's choice.)

youaintallthat Wed 15-May-13 17:14:34

you could contact your school nurse and get them to either set up a meeting with the school or get them to write to the school to explain why your son needs these foods. they tend not to argue when the info is coming from someone medical...also the card in lunch box sounds like a good idea

manicinsomniac Wed 15-May-13 17:14:51

You should certainly strongly mention, if not actually complain.

I know it isn't easy to keep track of every child's dietary requirements but it is important - what if the school had forgotten about a small child's life threatening (or even non life threatening) allergy for example.

It might be hard but they have to be organised and do it.

JenaiMorris Wed 15-May-13 17:14:51

Neo Do children even need to worry about cholesterol (which isn't as clear cut an issue for adults as it was once claimed to be, anyhow)? confused

Laminated card idea is an excellent one. Now I am absolutely not trying to make light of your son's condition, OP, but I remember as children us being envious (envious ffs!) or a child with diabetes because apparently they could just go into any shop and get given a Mars bar. Rather than feeling dreadful about having to eat different foods than his friends, would it be possible to big up the fact that he gets to eat a load of stuff that they're not allowed to?

HollyBerryBush Wed 15-May-13 17:15:56

I hate lunch box Nazis.

WorraLiberty Wed 15-May-13 17:17:17

Ahh I see OP

You didn't mention that it was a member of lunchtime staff (sometimes teachers stand in) and that she'd been there at the meeting. Therefore yes she should have known.

But other than that, a cover supervisor wouldn't know a child's pulling a fast one and it's not practical to check the data base for every child who has a chocolate bar in their box.

SoupDragon Wed 15-May-13 17:22:41

Can you get a laminated card signed by the head just to make it clearer than clear?

Reindeer that is awful I have two on high fat diets luckily senior school for ds2 no one cares as most eat chips or sweets

But like you ds3 is struggling keeps saying he is not healthy and not allowed to eat that and yup he been told of at school and for eating yo slow ( one of his medical isdues is do with chewing )and ot carries on at home not wanting to eat what he needs ds3 is almost 8 and 18kg

Worra, school lunch time staff should be aware of children who have different dietary needs.

SunshineMiddle posted this: In my last school we had a sheet in the kitchen (accessible to all staff serving and supervising at lunchtimes) with the child's photograph and bullet points of their medical/religious food requirements.

It's similar to the system at DS's school. No need for databases.

EglantinePrice Wed 15-May-13 17:23:57

If the school see fit to 'police' lunch boxes (and I detest this anyway) they need to make bloody sure everyone knows what they're doing and is familiar with the children with special requirements.

Angry for you OP.

There should be a card up with photo of all children and if stand in the supervisor should made sure they had looked at the board

Ogg Wed 15-May-13 17:29:14

EglantinePrice has hit it on the head - If they police, then they need to be absolutely sure in what they are saying and to whom ! I would mention the word discrimination when you speak to the head.

LatinForTelly Wed 15-May-13 17:33:30

I think we're in a very similar situation, OP, but for us, the school is brilliant. Admittedly, it's a small rural school, but they are all on the case, understand my son's needs and seem to be informed and aware. He has a diary where they write for me how much of his packed-lunch is eaten. (Even though policy is for DC to take anything uneaten home in their lunchbox.)

I've had one comment at a parents' evening about how I give my DS crisps for snack, and DD an apple or banana. It was joky, so I said, smiling, yes DD doesn't have the crisps, but neither does she have the PEG, the reflux, nausea, the vomiting, the regular blood tests etc etc.

I would definitely go in and be very firm with them. This sort of thing gets my goat.

daftdame Wed 15-May-13 17:36:27

Do school actually have to police lunch boxes?

I know they have healthy eating policies. However surely a better way, if there was a concern would be to check with someone who had access to the child's file and therefore find there is a special diet.

Also it seems, reading on here, that schools vary hugely on the strictness of these lunch box policies. Personally I think it only appropriate to comment if there is a serious concern.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 15-May-13 17:38:57

Shows how the nutritionists do vary though..... my youngest is extremely underweight and on a high fat diet too - but we were told crisps were not an option due to salt content (she is 10 and thin and tall and excess salt would affect blood pressure) and chocolate should be used as treats due to sugar content -

We were advised to use drink supplements, and things like home-made pizza, meat and dairy for extra calories.... and for more if needed then stuff like home made carrot/ginger cake with cream cheese topping - all of which have been fine at her infant and primary school without any need to tell them anything.

ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 17:52:56

Quick one before I start night school.

DS's condition means high salt high fat content. Odd yes, but normal for people with his condition. Crisps and chocolates are force fed and basically we're told that he'll not need to worry about cholesterol long term as other health issues means hes likely to kick the bucket due to lung issues or cancers not heart diease, because hes probably not going to make it to an age where high cholesterol is relevant.

I would have no issue if this was a dinner lady but it wasnt. Actually the staff are usually brilliant so wont mention names, just for his lunchtime needs to be revisited (also DS let it slip that they've not been giving him his lunch meds too). Give me strength <groan>

Pancakeflipper Wed 15-May-13 17:56:36

MadeofStardust - we had similar advice to you. We make a batch of flapjack every week and a tray bake cake. Carrot and coconut is our fav at the moment with a cream cheese topping with nuts sprinkled on top. He takes flapjack for 'healthy' snack a few times a week and his teacher is brilliant about it as he says he can tell when my DS1 is flagging and needs refuelling.

DS1 has a small appetite and couldn't eat a full packet of crisps. So we feed him little and often.

Just weighed him. 19kg at age 8yr and above average height.
<Goes to look in fridge and hand over a slice of cheese cake to him.>

ApocalypseThen Wed 15-May-13 18:14:38

Definitely schedule an appointment to discuss this. But don't complain, whine, make threats or get angry. This happened once, and things can happen once. Save the cannons for if it happens again.

OhLori Wed 15-May-13 18:29:12

Agree with Apocolypse. Its probably an unusual medical condition (well, I've never heard of it) and probably the school have been remiss in educating their staff, which is what needs to happen. I doubt it was deliberate - they are probably just unaware that staff are commenting on this. I would just explain to headteacher and other relevant staff what is going on and how things need to change ...

P.S. I would have a complete discussion with the school on this issue and how to deal with it, especially if there are comments from other children which are upsetting your son too.

lljkk Wed 15-May-13 18:30:48

He doesn't really have sweets in his lunchbox, does he? They aren't even high in fat (or did you just mean chocolate?)

How strict are they for other sugary foods? Would chocolate really stand out that much?

It occurs to me to tape a copy of his dietary needs statement to inside of his lunchbox, and he can just show that to any MSAs who have queries.

lljkk Wed 15-May-13 18:33:58

Ah, Xpost, it wasn't MSA? That makes me feel better because our regular MSAs usually are pretty clued up about who has special diet needs.

Mini-statement in the lunchbox, for sure.

Sorry to read about your son's Life-limiting condition. sad

DorisIsWaiting Wed 15-May-13 18:55:10

Not giving him the meds is unforgivable!!!!

That's half the batt;le without the meds he will not absorb whatever he is eating (for the benefit of others on the thread rather than you reindeer!)

With dd2 we have a sign off book we tell them what meds she needs for her lunch ( with columns) and they sign to say it has been given... but she is only year 1 so I do not expect her to be able to self manage yet.

We are very fortunate in that when dh fogot to put the right no. of meds in (sleep deprived!) they are sufficiently on the ball to phone me up and let me know so I can deliver them to the school

This is now major rethink territory.

piprabbit Wed 15-May-13 19:16:03

So in the last week the school has had issues dealing with:
1) his intravenous access devices
2) his dietary requirments
3) his medication

Not good. They need to pull their socks up.

dayshiftdoris Wed 15-May-13 19:44:35


I would start what Doris has re: meds as that is really good idea...

My son's school maintain a communication book with me every day and the issues are behavioural and not as important as this so you wouldnt be asking for something unusual.

Is it worth another meeting arranging with the medics given the recent issue as a re-fresh - use the transition to next school year as an 'excuse' perhaps?

Hope you get it resolved

LaGuardia Wed 15-May-13 20:40:03

Lard sandwiches could work.

Heebiejeebie Wed 15-May-13 20:57:59

LaGuardia - really? Really, that's what you needed to say in response to this thread?

ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 20:58:28

Just want to clarify a couple of things. His diet is necessary. Chocolate is necessary. We do have high fat milkshakes (nutricia) of which he has about four to six a day. He also has about 500 cals in a bolus and 750 in his overnight feed. I know there are lots of high fat alternatives but he also needs the salt due to his condition. It's not rare it's the largest genetic condition in the country. We have been advised to give chocolates and crisps, but that is alongside his food - a wrap drenched in mayo, with double layers of ham, some cheese and a bit of lettuce (the lettuce is wasted as he gets no nutritional value from this whatsoever). In fact he gets no nutritional value from fruit or veg, they are worse than sweets as they offer no empty calories!

Anyway, as Doris and Piprabbit pointed out, DS has admitted earlier that his meds aren't being given. He is at self management stage but he is currently going through a denial phase, and is in the process of pyschological treatment due to struggling with his condition. So he isn't actively reminding them either thanks DS!. This combined with the other two events mean I'm going to have to call a meeting with the school.

They have been great but this is all new territory for them. They have called meeting and put procedures in place but these have failed, it's not a bad thing, as they aren't used to dealing with it, but it will need to be sorted and I hoping that a chat with them will sort it out. Thank you for all the advice (especially the suggestions of lard sandwiches wink ).

fhutts Wed 15-May-13 21:03:23

Reindeerbollocks how annoying to have to explain yourself again and especially if you little one is a little sensitive. Defo speak to school.I am loving the username tho. Why didn't I think of that! envy


When you said lard did you mean dripping? My dad tried to get DB and me to like dripping as much as him but I'm afraid we both found it absolutely disgusting. grin

zoobaby Wed 15-May-13 21:17:53

Someone mentioned a laminated card for his lunchbox. I'd also suggest that you approach the school about making an A4 page with pic of DS and a short explanation stating the name of his medical condition and its main implications. This is laminated and put in the staff room. On the fridge, beside the kettle, on the back of the door. Wherever they'll see it everyday. I'd also suggest some method of recording when he's received his medication. A book, a new page each week. Whatever is best for all involved. There should also be a named person who performs this duty and a designated time when DS will go see them. Hope you can get it sorted!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 23:10:24

"So in the last week the school has had issues dealing with:
1) his intravenous access devices
2) his dietary requirments
3) his medication

Not good. They need to pull their socks up."

^ this ^ as piprabbit said.

One is excusable... But all three? I think they need a reminder of their responsibilities, and the consequences of not following their processes

BlackeyedSusan Wed 15-May-13 23:28:32

yanbu. hope you get it sorted. life is tough enough as it is without hving to deal with the incompetant. angry

I am now remembering dripping sandwiches though... (pure fat and salt) <shows age>

Going back to a point made earlier (that it was difficult for staff to know who had different lunch needs) - dd has a medical condition which causes issues (not food related), but in her school of 2500 pupils, even the staff who don't teach her, know about her, and although may not be a me to pick her out in a line up, if they saw her ill, they'd know who she was, what it was, and what to do.

So no reason why in a medium sized junior school, a DC with particular "special allowances" shouldn't be recognised either by name, or right, or by "oh yes, let me just check that"

deleted203 Wed 15-May-13 23:32:04

This is something that drives me mad, anyway! Agree pretty much with Eldritchs post, particularly as far as nursery/primary goes.

Is there any point in making disapproving sniffs to a child whose parents have shoved unhealthy crap in their lunchbox? Why have a go at a kid about what his mother has packed for him? What, exactly, do they think he can do about it?

I'm not suggesting for a moment that this is you, OP (and I understand about your son's dietary needs) - but could staff not understand that there are kids in their school who have mothers who might actually be fairly disinterested in the school's healthy eating policy? Who can't afford/be bothered to provide raw veg batons and hummus? I've taught plenty of kids whose mothers felt that shoving a Lidl sausage roll, a packet of crisps and a Mars bar into their lunchbox was adequate. And I could never understand why staff felt that telling the child off and announcing they would be 'checking tomorrow that it was better' was in any way helpful or kind.

A lot of these kids, if they'd dared mention it at home, would have been told 'Tell the posh cow to fuck off then - you'll get what's in the cupboard'. It only served to make the child feel that other people were looking down on them - it certainly never improved their standard of living.

ShadowStorm Wed 15-May-13 23:45:37

Agree that you need to go and speak to the school - strongly reminding them about your DS's condition, and the need for his special diet, at the least.

The idea about making a laminated card for his lunchbox sounds good as well.

sashh Thu 16-May-13 03:24:49

he got every upset a couple of years ago when they had a healthy mind and body week at school - I just had to keep reminding him that this doesn't apply to him.

Off topic but that's a crap 'healthy mind and body' week, in a week you should be able to cover some of the more common reasons for different diets whether you are an Olympic athlete, diabetic, taking medication that needs certain foods, or means you have to avoid certain foods.

Agree with the laminate card.

I would also like to see the 'healthy eating' policy and asking what 'reasonable adjustments' are made for children with SN that include food/diet, that must be included.

Maybe suggest the liaise with the dietetic department at which ever hospital your son attends. You know those people who spend years training and being licenced to work for the NHS.

ComposHat Thu 16-May-13 04:31:47

YANBU in this specific circumstance

Even if this wasn't the case, why is it the school's business what you chose to feed your child in thepacked lunch you have made and paid for ? (on the proviso it isn't a bottle of buckfast and 20 Rothmans)

MidniteScribbler Thu 16-May-13 04:31:58

I don't think it's necessarily unreasonable for a previous poster to ask if there were healthier options for his diet. I wouldn't automatically assume if someone said to me 'high calorie diet' that they meant chips and chocolate and I thought the same thing early in the thread until the OP explained. Once explained, then it's fair enough, but biting off the head of someone who is genuinely trying to understand is hardly taking a page out of Dale Carnegie.

MrRected Thu 16-May-13 05:17:04

O M G a report card on a childs' lunchbox... do these teachers not have some teaching to do???

The world is going mad. There is no value in scorekeeping and belittling children who don't comply - at the end of the day, they are not responsible for packing their lunches (well at least not until they are >10 years old).

OP - the laminated card idea is a great one. I'd be bollocking the head to kingdom come

sleepywombat Thu 16-May-13 06:12:13

I hate all this lunchbox police & fat demonisation. Children, even those without medical issues, need fat! I know as a child I would have been quite faint after a busy day at school just eating flippin crudités and fruit.

Fortunately there is no monitoring of lunchboxes here in Australia, but of course that does mean we get the opposite (e.g. children just bringing 2 chocolate bars for their lunch).

My dcs have multiple allergies & thus are on high fat (to get in calories) diets too & have been desperately trying to think of what I'll do for lunchboxes. Egg mayonaisey type things would be good, but of course one of mine is allergic to eggs! Avocados, meat stews in thermoses with lots of fat - we like lard!!! I will definitely give them some sort of cake though ...

Good luck OP, definitely talk to the school.

Jengnr Thu 16-May-13 06:29:29

The whole monitoring dinners really gets on my tots. I'm dreading my son going to school because this will a) really fuck me off and b) my natural contrary side will want to put 'banned' items in.

Banned items, at fucking primary school. WTF???

SoupDragon Thu 16-May-13 11:03:10

Not all schools monitor lunchboxes.

MrRected Fri 17-May-13 05:08:40

I asked my DD & DS if their lunchboxes have ever been inspected (we are in Australia). I was shocked to hear that they are inspected.

On Mondays the children have to take in Package Free (I knew about this) to reduce landfill (just moves it around IMO). What I didn't know was that those with healthy options in their lunchboxes are given a sticker to reward them shock.

Good job I am on the school council. This will be rectfied forthwith.

Alligatorpie Fri 17-May-13 05:20:44

MrR my dd gets stickers for bringng a healthy snack. I think it's a good idea. How hard is it to put a piece of fruit or some veggies in a lunchbox? What is your concern about it?

MrRected Fri 17-May-13 05:42:36

Alligator - my concern is that it's unfair to reward a child for what's in their lunchbox, on the basis that they aren't responsible for what's in their lunchbox. Not to mention the fact that the school advertise this as a means of reducing waste - not a way of checking what's in lunchboxes.

Whilst I make healthy choices for my kids and feel quite passionate about ensuring my kids have a diet high in fruit/veg/unprocessed foods. I totally respect the right of other parents to feed their kids whatever they please and feel sorry for all the little kids who get penalised for their parents' actions.

Alligatorpie Fri 17-May-13 05:56:10

Fair point. My dd's teacher sent home a list of healthy snack ideas for the parents. Dd is totally on board, and would panick if she thought she didn't have a healthy snack. Now, she packs her own lunch, and always includes fruits and veggies ( and then goes to the cafeteria to buy popcorn or crackers) She is seven.

mummytime Fri 17-May-13 06:00:32

For MrRected and anyo e else who doesn't know why some schools monitor lunch boxes, and try to use "pester power" to improve them. Lunch boxes for a school trip can contain: 2 Mars bars and a can of Irun Brew. This does impact on the teachers.

However OP I really hope your DCs school is getting its act together. They are not "safeguarding" your son adequately, and maybe they need some education at their next Inset.

MrRected Fri 17-May-13 06:04:29

That would almost be ok Mummytime if they were open about it. Our school are being disingenous about it - dressing it up as a recycling initiative, then penalising the kids for having a biscuit in their lunchbox.

Some kids' parents will send whatever they please, despite any amount of pestering by their children. This leaves the child open to feeling badly - imagine mine or Alligtor's DD's, they'd be mortified if we kept on sending crap to school - despite their pleas. I stand by my opinion that what a child eats is their parents choice and not the school's choice.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Fri 17-May-13 06:18:49

Can't bieve how many people are doubting that your ds diet needs to be like this, to be honest I think that's the problem. This member of staff was in the meeting yet still did this. She's of the same mentality of the thread where the woman tried to force feed a hamwich to a veggie 4 year old, she thinks she knows better.

LoveBeingUpAt4InTheMorning Fri 17-May-13 06:18:56

Can't bieve how many people are doubting that your ds diet needs to be like this, to be honest I think that's the problem. This member of staff was in the meeting yet still did this. She's of the same mentality of the thread where the woman tried to force feed a hamwich to a veggie 4 year old, she thinks she knows better.

FadedSapphire Fri 17-May-13 06:54:23

YANBU and I think the laminated card a good idea [though should not be necessary]. They MUST get his med right; absolutely unacceptable if they don't and policy in place.
I was a carer for someone who needed a high fat/nutrician diet as found it difficult to eat and keep weight on. He also had learning disabilities and did not understand importance of food/drinks he was given. Lung problems/ choking etc. Dietician helped us supercharge his food and said sod cholestral levels etc. We had the prescribed drinks etc.
Did Angel delight with double cream/ prescribed drink in it. Scoured shops for puddings with a high calorie punch that would not make him choke. Panacotta good, some mousses and cheese cakes [though had to be careful of crumbly bit]. It was a mission and heartbreaking to watch him struggle with weight/coughing etc.
Good luck op, and the school need to try and make your life easier not harder by improving their communication within school.

FadedSapphire Fri 17-May-13 06:56:53

Super rich macaroni cheese....oh that sauce was full of hidden vitamins and fat!

CouthyMow Fri 17-May-13 06:58:51


MidniteScribbler Fri 17-May-13 07:02:45

MrRected, I'm a teacher in Australia, and I've always refused to be the lunchbox police. It's not in my job description. I'm paid to educate, it's a parents job to feed them. That being said, we are well aware of what children are eating and if a child that was only being sent with crisps and chocolate then we would have a quiet word with the parents to see if it could be improved upon as it's not an effective diet that will help with their learning. Most parents are sending reasonably healthy lunchboxes with a few treats thrown in (which I agree with, I have my salad at lunch and often a mini chocolate bar afterwards, and see nothing wrong with it). I would never speak directly to a child about their food as it's not the child's job to pack their lunchbox. In all of my years, I've only ever had to speak to one parent, and it turned out the child was packing their own lunchbox themselves without the parents ever bothering to check it. Once the parents starting monitoring it, and with a bit of subtle dual education between school and home, the child was taught to make more appropriate food choices.

JenaiMorris Fri 17-May-13 07:45:07

Lardy Cake for sleepywombat smile

Tis lovely [west country face]

hotcrosbum Fri 17-May-13 07:52:48

Thank god my ds school is relaxed about lunch boxes. They never check and don't have any banned foods.

They put feelers out a while back about introducing a healthy eating policy, but it was soon shot down by parents who said "great, but ban pudding, pizza and cheese from school dinners first, then we'll talk"

ReindeerBollocks Fri 17-May-13 21:22:41

Just thought I'd update this.

I've spoken to the school, and they were lovely. They said that DS has had his daily meds, and I spoke directly to the woman who gives them, to say she has never missed a dose. She said that DS has often forgotten once he has had them and has often been back after lunch for a second dose hmm. This does sound a bit DS like, so I do believe her.

I was able to speak to the HT, who said that they don't have a lunchbox inspection policy but it sounds like the staff member was alerted due to DS's friends noticing the contents of his lunchbox. HT assured me she would have a word with the staff generally, but will also talk with his class to state that lunchboxes are different depending on individual needs, so don't report anything, without making DS the sole cause.

Finally the HT apologised for the intravenous device debacle - DS has had a set of substitute teachers who, whilst aware of his issues, aren't fully up to date as to the procedure should something like this happen. She has brought these members of staff up to speed and DS was monitored in certain situations where this could happen (PE, busy cloakroom type scenarios).

So all in all, I'm glad I went with a fairly blameless just concerned chat, and the school really seem to be trying to get to grips with DS and everything that he entails. They do have written procedures, and all minutes of meetings I have been party too, and their policies for dealing with him. I think he and they have been extremely unlucky with the way things have gone in the last week.

As he was collected today there was another issue but they had alerted me as soon as it happened and had their first aider on the scene - so I am trying to let them deal with things as and when they happen. Plus, I have to unclench. The hospital have spoken briefly about handover of care from me to DS in a couple of years <freaking the fuck out about that>, so as long as I know they have written procedures in place that are being activated and used then I will try and trust them. It's a shame all of the above happened in a few days - when it was genuinely unlucky that any of it happened.

ReindeerBollocks Fri 17-May-13 21:25:49

Just to add, we once made a cake with scandishake mix (calorific powder mix).

One cake contained about 3000 calories. Was chocolate fudge cake, and I whilst tempted I just had to think about how many calories each slice contained.

eggsandwich Fri 17-May-13 22:02:05

What about writing a short note explaining the situation and that the head is aware of the need for the lunchbox to be the way it is. I would tell your ds not to say anything if questioned about his lunch, just hand over the note and say any problems to contact you on the following number, I would do a few copies of the note, but eventually they should get the message.

FadedSapphire Fri 17-May-13 22:11:45

Yes scandishake is powerful stuff!!!

FadedSapphire Fri 17-May-13 22:28:50

We had to pack as much nutrician and calories in as small a quantity as possible. As prescription stuff limited did use build up stuff in recipes too.
Another angel delight one [teeth rotting]. Sachet of build up, sachet of angel delight, milk and double cream mix/ or single cream instead of milk. Took a lot of whisking. Not exactly gourmet I know!
I'm sure you and your dietician aware of all the tricks to boost food. I found my mind consumed with how to get calories into savoury as well as sweet stuff and drinks. Stressful and I wish you the best of luck and health for your son.

FadedSapphire Fri 17-May-13 22:30:21

Does he like [and can he tolerate] fried bread? [Not for pack lunch mind!].

SlumberingDormouse Sat 18-May-13 00:37:40

I agree that it's not a school's place to police lunch boxes. It's not a good idea to make children self-conscious about food at such an early age. Is it any wonder that eating disorders have risen so exponentially in recent years? This is a sensitive subject for me as I currently have no fewer than three (!) close female friends sectioned due to anorexia, but I do wonder what can be done to create a more relaxed atmosphere around food and body image more generally.

OhLori Sat 18-May-13 00:39:59

Good result, OP!

JenaiMorris Sat 18-May-13 03:42:13

Goodness, lardy cake wouldn't even touch the sides in comparison!

Glad it's turned out ok with the school smile

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