Wednesday, January 15, 2014

School Lunch Policy Goes Awry

Source: USDAgov

I consider myself fortunate to have stumbled upon a School Guidance Counseling program that places a heavy emphasis on social justice, doing what's in the best interest of the child, while maintaining confidentiality. A semester of ethics illustrated how difficult that charge is when so many constituencies are involved: the student, peers, parents, administrators, teachers and outside agencies. It may seem an impossible task, but when the physical and mental well-being of a child take precedent, the best course of action does reveal itself.

School Principal Gets Fired When School Lunch Policy Goes Awry

What sensibilities should we expect of our educators? I use "educator" broadly because in an education setting, educators include everyone from the school bus monitor to the janitor. Shouldn't we expect ten times more from our teachers and administrators? I read an article in the Huffington Post recently about a principal who'd lost her job after a nine-year tenure because she'd opposed a school lunch policy that humiliated children whose lunch accounts no longer had a balance, or were close to zero.

Is It Ever Okay to Humiliate a Child?

What kindness or empathy does a school show to children whose hands are "stamped" red in front of their peers? A great lesson in The Scarlett Letter! Children living in poverty, or other challenging situations such as homelessness, endure enough pain in their lives without having to be publicly shamed. This case really is not complicated and the answer seems obvious. Deal directly with the parents and not the children. The question I ask is simple: How is this policy in the best interest of the child (never mind maintain confidentiality)?

I'd encourage the educators who defended their decision to enforce this policy to revisit their own school's website, where it states under one of its Points of Pride "A caring school environment where every student is known and valued."

Just some food for thought.

Source: Flickr/Tim Lauer

Are you all familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and how each stage relates to human development? Yes, I know. It's pretty basic stuff, Human Development 101, but here you go.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Source: Wikimedia/FactoryJoe