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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?

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?

TheHumancatapult Wed 15-May-13 17:23:00

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

FryOneFatManic Wed 15-May-13 17:23:11

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.

TheHumancatapult Wed 15-May-13 17:29:01

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.>

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