Every once in a while, I read something that makes me say, “WTF?” out loud in the middle of the Metro Parent office. And that is exactly what happened when I read about the elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona that stamps kids’ wrists with the words “Lunch Money” when their funds are low in their lunch account.
A photo of said stamp recently went viral on Twitter after a friend of mom Tara Chavez posted it online. Chavez’s son, who attends Desert Cove Elementary School, came home with the stamp on his wrist, ScaryMommy.com reports, and mom says the the boy was not given a choice about the stamp being placed on his body.
The lunch lady just grabbed his wrist and stamped it – much to Chavez’s surprise. “Normally I get a slip in his folder when he needs more money,” she told Buzzfeed.
A slip in the student’s folder seems more logical than the Scarlet Letter of lunch that this lunch lady decided to brand the child with. The school did serve the boy lunch, and when mom checked her son’s account, she noticed he still had 75 cents left. Clearly the funds were low, but isn’t it sort of drastic to stamp “Lunch Money” on a child’s wrist?
Buzzfeed commenter Joy Wilkins said this sort of thing is pretty common and happened to her in grade school. “Not really worth an article. It’s used as a reminder for the kids to tell their parents (whereas a slip may not get noticed), it happens to quite a few kids every day, and it’s not something that kids will get mocked for. Yes, kids should get a choice (some kids are more sensitive when it comes to physical contact), but from what it sounds like, the school DOES have a policy to ask. This particular staff member didn’t. Might have been a slip-up, might have been on purpose. Still not worth an article, though.”
Other commenters disagree. “Stamping the kid is insane. Some of you people justify the craziest things. Parents should pay more attention to making sure their kids lunch money is handled. But their kid shouldn’t be stamped because their parents are forgetful. Email, phone calls, letters are all more reasonable options,” Mallory Jones said on the same article.
I have to agree with Jones on this one. I think it’s insane and there must be better options.
And just think about it for a second. This kid was forced to walk around with those words stamped on his wrist for the rest of the school day. Wouldn’t that have embarrassed you as a child? I know I would have been humiliated by this incident at that age.
What do you think of this incident? Am I overreacting or do you agree with me? Tell us in comments.