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Shaming Parents Is Becoming Huge in Schools

"Lunch Shaming" and Other Types of Criticism Parents Get From Schools

Seriously, parents, can you not do anything right?! Seems like a condescending question to pose, but schools and teachers are creating scenarios lately that make you wonder if that's what they really think.

Take this situation, for example: Leeza Pearson packed her 5-year-old a lunch containing a sandwich, a string cheese, and a package of four Oreo cookies — seems pretty harmless, right? Wrong. Feel whatever way you'd like about the cookies being a third of the child's lunch, because this story isn't about the nutritional value of (delicious) Oreos, it's about how the child's preschool teacher handled them being in this little girl's lunch bag. The cookies were taken from the child, and a note from the teacher, which seemed like it was representing the entire preschool, was left in the lunch box.

Dear Parents, it is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a heavy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone's participation.

The dean of the preschool plans to speak to the teacher in question because it is not school policy to tell parents what to pack their kids for lunch, though they do their best to promote healthy eating (if healthy eating means packing your child potatoes and bread — apparently it's all the carbs or none).

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Another incident of shaming comes from a kindergarten classroom in which a 5-year-old was told to put a t-shirt over her almost-floor-length spaghetti-strap dress, and — wait for it — jeans underneath. Her father, Jef Rouner, commented that being a father of a girl, he wasn't surprised to see a dress code issue come into his home — he just didn't think it would happen when his daughter was 5.

Rouner looked into the dress code at his daughter's school and wasn't surprised to see that there weren't any guidelines for boys. He remarked, "Essentially, a school dress code exists to prevent girls from displaying too much of their bodies because reasons. I didn't pick up my daughter's dress at My First Stripperwear. It's not repurposed fetish gear from a store for very short people. It's a dress from a mall chain store in her size. It covers everything but her shoulders and a small section of her upper chest and back."

He said it wasn't even the t-shirt over the top that bothered him, but "it's the pants they made her wear underneath. It's a full-length dress that she has to hold up to keep from getting wet in uncut grass . . . because the top part of her dress apparently exposed the immoral sinfulness of her bare shoulders she also had to pull on jeans . . . as part of her punishment."

It's little things like this lunch box note and dress code punishment that resonate so largely with parents everywhere. Shaming of this sort makes parents who are likely doing their best feel inadequate, at a time when there is already an overwhelming amount of pressure from the rest of the world regarding how to parent "correctly." Many parents respond to this type of thing perfectly, attempting to put schools in their place, but these incidents definitely pose a larger question about our society — do we still believe in the saying that "it takes a village to raise a child," or should everyone be minding their own business?

Image Source: Warner Bros.
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