Packing a school lunch for your child can be challenging. Parents have to consider food allergies, sensory issues, and picky eaters when considering what they should and should not pack in their child’s lunch. Parents also have to make sure they are packing something that isn’t going to spoil or be unsafe for their child to eat after sitting in a lunch box or bag for a few hours. According to Pop Sugar, some parents in Ontario, Canada, are also forced to worry about whether or not teachers will confiscate their children’s lunches for being “unhealthy” as well.
Pop Sugar reports that even though parents are taking the time to pack lunches as well as snacks for their children to take to school, some of these children in Ontario, Canada, are being left without any food to eat while at school. According to The Star, parents in Durham, Ontario, are starting to come forward to share stories about teachers who are confiscating packed lunches from children after deeming that the lunches are “unhealthy.”
These Ontario parents go on to report that the foods being discouraged by the teachers who are confiscating packed lunches varies depending on the classroom, but the various stories claim the lists tend to include Goldfish crackers, Bear Paw cookies, granola bars, Jello, string cheese, juice boxes, gummy fruit snacks, raisins, pudding cups, animal crackers, chocolate milk, and Sun Chips.
The Durham District School Board Superintendent, Luigia Ayotte, where these parents are complaining about the teacher’s confiscating packed lunches, made a statement saying that there is no official list of foods being banned from the school.
“We understand there may have been some issues with regard to certain foods students bring for snacks and lunches, but food preferences and choice remain with students and parents unless they pose an adverse allergic danger to other students.”
Despite the statement the superintendent to the school board made, at least 30 local parents with children who go to the schools in the district have been sharing very troubling stories that do not match what the superintendent said in her statement at all. The parents who have been sharing these stories do claim to understand that certain foods need to be banned from the school because they pose an allergy threat to certain students, however, they do not feel that this is the reason teachers are singling out their children and confiscating their lunches.
According to Elaina Daoust, she sent a small piece of banana bread to school with her picky eater only for her child to be told he couldn’t have the banana bread for his morning snack because it contained chocolate chips. The teacher of kindergartener sent him home with a chart containing healthy snack ideas for his mother.
“He came home with a chart (listing healthy snack ideas) and told me he and the teacher talked about it and healthy choices. She also sent a note to me. I was really, really, really mad for several reasons.”
The mother claimed to have purposefully picked banana bread as the morning snack to pack for her child because homemade goods were discouraged by the school and the banana bread was labeled as “nut free,” so she assumed there would be no issues with allergies.
Avani Chaudhary claims to have experienced a similar issue after she packed Goldfish crackers and chocolate chip granola bars for her son and daughter to take to school. The mother said her second grader was told these were not welcomed snacks at the school, while the kindergartner did not get any backlash for the snacks the mother had packed.
“It’s basically the teacher’s opinion. Is a muffin healthier than a granola bar? Maybe, maybe not. It depends what is in them. Is the teacher qualified to make these decisions? It should be up to the parents.”
For another little girl, her packed lunch was confiscated because it contained pizza and it wasn’t pizza day and because it contained chocolate chip granola bars that were deemed unhealthy because of the chocolate chips. This little girl was even sent home for having an unhealthy packed lunch. Her mother wanted to know why the teachers think that it was unhealthier for her to eat pizza or granola bars than for her to eat absolutely nothing.
What do you think about teachers confiscating packed lunches because they are deeming them unhealthy? Do teachers have this right? Do you think parents should be able to pack whatever they want their child to eat as long as it doesn’t risk a severe allergic reaction to one of the other children? Share your thoughts on this story in the comments below.
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