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School Lunch Annoyance.....
Old 04-04-2018, 06:12 AM
 
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My DD's high school has an annoying new policy: "No outside food (except lunches packed from home) may be brought into school". Specifically, this means that the kids can't bring in McDonald's, Subway, etc. This is so annoying to me. MANY kids are off-campus in the morning (for career training), and return to the high school for afternoon classes. This new policy means that they can't grab lunch on the way and eat it in the cafeteria (they could sit and eat it in their car, but it's COLD here the majority of the school year lol).

The school asserts that bringing in such outside food is taking money away from our cafeteria "business". My DD's answer to that is, "Make better food, and maybe we'll buy it!"

It's incredibly odd to me that they can do this. DD tells me that the Principal, Assistant Principal and many teachers get takeout and even delivery from local restaurants (including McDonalds and Subway) on a daily basis. Why the discrepancy?

As I've stated, this doesn't really affect my DD. She packs lunch from home daily. I just think that our administration has better things to focus on than where kids purchase their lunches. (and how wide their shoulder straps are, but that's a whole different post! !)



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not going to fly
Old 04-04-2018, 06:19 AM
 
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I know of a school that has a mall across the street. You can imagine what happens. There is no policy set in about public school lunches.

I think that what they're doing in your daughter's school may be unconstitutional and it's going to fail. People are still going to keep buying from fast food and they're going to sneak them inside. It's not hard at all. What are they going to do next? Handcuff people for bringing in outside food?
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:36 AM
 
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I don't like that either. Let kids eat what they want! At the very least, they could have had an OPEN lunch policy every Fridays in which kids could get outside food.

Well, if kids want to risk it, sometimes (probably not daily) they can keep a supply of brown lunch bags in their car and switch out their food into those so it's not as conspicuous. As long as they don't "show off" what they're eating too much, how often is school personnel going to be checking EVERY kid's lunch and debating about whether that hamburger was made at home or from an eatery?
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:37 AM
 
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My question is, whoís going to enforce it? As pp said, itís going to fail. Itís a ridiculous policy with no hope of being sustained.
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:52 AM
 
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I am guessing this has nothing to do with fast food and the cafeteria. I wish we had this ban at my school. What happens at my school is the following.

1. Parents or older friends drop off fast food for the students. This poses a safety risk as it allows many unecessary people access to the front office. The school can't refuse under our current policies, however, because then there would be a sob story (and news story) about how Johnny forgot his lunch and has no money for the cafeteria and the school is refusing to allow him to eat.

2.Students arrive in class tardy or almost tardy with their bag of fast food. Then the teacher who refuses to let them eat sets themself up as the mean teacher who won't let Johnny eat lunch. We don't allow kids to hang out in their cars--again, it becomes a safety issue, there is no supervision, and drug or alcohol consumption is a concern. Eating in classrooms results in messes, very distracted students (no big deal if they are grabbing a granola bar, but it becomes an issue when it is a hamburger, fries and ketchup, and huge soda that leaves wet spots.) Our students don't arrive on campus and then eat their fast food in the cafeteria. They try to stay off campus as long as possible, rolling in just before the bell.

So I am guessing that the issue is not that it is fast food per se, but the only way to solve the issue is by banning fast food.

ETA: In my state, there actually is a law that if the school participates in tbe federal school lunch program, there cannot be outside competition and food cannot be sold or given before lunch has been served. It might be a federal law, not state law. So that means that the student council can't sell donuts to be distributed before lunch. And I can't have a pizza party in a morning class, but I could in an afternoon class. And the drink machines for students cannot be turned on until after lunch has ended. The reason it wouldn't be an issue for teachers to have fast food is because teachers do not participate in the lunch program. Even if we buy school lunch, we are charged more than the students are because their lunch is subsidized, even if they don't qualify for frer or reduced price.



Last edited by tyrex; 04-04-2018 at 09:08 AM..
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Weird
Old 04-04-2018, 08:29 AM
 
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That is so strange. It is also very hypocritical that the teachers and admin. can bring lunch in, but the students can't. Maybe they should eat cafeteria food for a week.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:03 AM
 
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It’s never been allowed here! I just don’t understand why we as teachers keep questioning the rules. We want students to follow classroom rules, yet we are the first ones to question rules set up by the administrators.
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Wellness
Old 04-04-2018, 09:35 AM
 
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Most of these kinds of rules are connected to some kind of student wellness initiative, whether it's school-wide, district-wide or state-wide. It is true that many schools lose money on their school lunch program and yet, for some students, that's the best meal they'll get all day. There's an awful lot of evidence out there showing that poor nutrition has an adverse effect on brain development and learning, so I think it's reasonable for schools to concern themselves with it. School lunches probably AREN'T tremendously appealing to students who live on fast food, but is that really healthy? Personally, I'm shocked that any parent anywhere is angry about rules that reduce their child's fast food consumption, not that school lunches necessarily live up to my personal standard of good nutrition, either.

The reason that teachers have more leeway is that they are adults and school nutrition policies are not created for their benefit. They are responsible for their own health decisions although I have worked at a school that required employees to complete some wellness programs in order to get the best rate on their health insurance. Some of those programs involved nutrition.
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:41 AM
 
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Torie58 very well put!
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:41 PM
 
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Tsy2013, I agree with you. In my district, teachers aren't allowed to eat what we want. We're not allowed any nut products. While students much younger are pondering real questions, your daughter is fussing about lunch.


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Mikhail, unconstitutional?
Old 04-04-2018, 01:18 PM
 
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I think not, for a number of reasons. First of all, students are minors and their constitutional rights are not the same as those of adults for obvious reasons. Public schools have what is known as "in loco parentis" which means that schools can and should act as parents when the student is at school. Rules about what students can eat in the school cafeteria are no more unconstitutional than rules about food, beverages, cell phones in the classroom, rules about appropriate language for school, rules about safe behavior in the hallways, rules about attendance and truancy and so forth.

Secondly, schools often send home student handbooks detailing what is expected and usually parents need to sign something acknowledging that they understand the school expectations. Now, it is possible that if this change was made mid-year, it's not in the school handbook, so that might be a gray area.

Finally, most schools that are this "heavy-handed" about school lunch and snack rules are responding in some way to some type of legislation in the first place. There's been a fair amount of political infighting about school nutrition since the the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act was passed in 2010 so there is legislation at every level and some of it seems to be designed more around getting that Act thrown out rather than around providing healthy school lunches.

Honestly, in this day and age of open enrollment, school choice and home schooling, I think it would be hard to make any challenge to these policies stick. If you don't like the cafeteria rules at your child's school, send them somewhere else or teach them at home.
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Not fair
Old 04-04-2018, 01:54 PM
 
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Quote:
While students much younger are pondering real questions, your daughter is fussing about lunch.
I don’t think it is fair to say the OP’s daughter is fussing. The daughter is afraid of getting in trouble. I don’t consider that fussing.
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Old 04-04-2018, 01:57 PM
 
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I grew up and until this year always taught in schools with a non-competition law with the school lunch. You could pack a lunch from home, but you could not bring in sodas or fast food. You could get away with the fast food by repackaging it and claiming it was a homemade lunch.

This law was enforced. Items were thrown away if they were brought in.
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Old 04-04-2018, 02:10 PM
 
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Tsy2013, I agree with you. In my district, teachers aren't allowed to eat what we want. We're not allowed any nut products. While students much younger are pondering real questions, your daughter is fussing about lunch.
You're funny. If you read my post, I specifically said that this doesn't affect my DD at all. And in fact, my DD is heavily involved in an activism group at school, heading up letter-writing campaigns and having representatives visit her school, trying to enforce change in safety policies. Please don't tell me what my daughter is fussing about. I live it. She couldn't be less bothered by this lunch policy. It annoys *me*.
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Old 04-04-2018, 02:15 PM
 
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OP here.....too many questions to copy and paste, but I'll try to touch on a few:

~ This policy has NOTHING to do with safety or health, or kids being late for class. It has EVERYTHING to do with competition for the cafeteria food. I know this to be 100% true.

~ It's not in the handbook anywhere.

~ It's being enforced daily. It's a small school, and the VP literally has nothing better to do than spend part of her day in the cafeteria, making sure that no one has take-out food. (then she goes back to her office and has Chipotle -- NO LIE)
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Well, how awkward
Old 04-04-2018, 02:24 PM
 
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is this policy of no "outside food" going to be if your school, like mine, has children from quite a few owners of local restaurants? So, the food from the restaurant that the family owns..home packed or take out...who will decide? And yes the kids often work at the family restaurant every afternoon or at least hang out there.
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Old 04-04-2018, 02:26 PM
 
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s this policy of no "outside food" going to be if your school, like mine, has children from quite a few owners of local restaurants? So, the food from the restaurant that the family owns..home packed or take out...who will decide? And yes the kids often work at the family restaurant every afternoon or at least hang out there.
Funny you should mention that! My best friend owns a local restaurant, and used to bring lunch from the restaurant to her DD at least twice a week. Her children have all graduated, but she is also very annoyed by this new policy. ESPECIALLY since none of the adults have to follow it.
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school lunches and outside food
Old 04-04-2018, 03:02 PM
 
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First of all, there seems to be some "snarky" comments on here directed at the OP. As in:

If you don't like the cafeteria rules at your child's school, send them somewhere else or teach them at home.

While students much younger are pondering real questions, your daughter is fussing about lunch.

I just donít understand why we as teachers keep questioning the rules. We want students to follow classroom rules, yet we are the first ones to question rules set up by the administrators.

It seems that what is being suggested is that one:

*shouldn't criticize public schools because you can go somewhere else.

*shouldn't make comments about policies in their school because, hey, gun violence is the only thing that they should ponder.

* shouldn't question rules set up by administrators.

There is no need to be so rude.
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At our school
Old 04-04-2018, 03:10 PM
 
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Ruby, At our elementary school we had the same policy suddenly appear one year. We questioned it (gasp!) and were told by our beloved cafeteria manager that if the school couldn't show the need for the number of cafeteria workers she had, they would lose one. She was clear, direct, and honest with us, and so we got behind her and supported her cause. However, I will say that teachers and the administration still ordered out all the time and a very few parents still brought in food from a fast food as a birthday treat for their kid. But it just didn't happen often enough that we would fuss at the parent.

I think if I were a high school student, I would not have been happy at that policy in which teachers ate take-out food while I was stuck with gray peas, reconstituted mashed potatoes, and mystery meat.
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timeforbed, for the record...
Old 04-04-2018, 03:13 PM
 
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....my comment about sending your child elsewhere was not directed at the OP in any personal way at all. It was, if you'll notice, in response to Mikhail's comment about this rule being unconstitutional. My point was that, since there are so many options for where and how to educate your children these days, it would be difficult to contend that their rights were being infringed by that particular school's policies. Private schools have always been able to make whatever rules they deemed necessary precisely because nobody was required to send their children there. These days, the wide variety of choices available to parents would likely make it difficult to show that their child has no choice but to follow these rules that they don't agree with.
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Money talks more
Old 04-04-2018, 03:58 PM
 
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Everyone has a choice but those with $ can certainly buy food outside which is definitely within their right. The question now is whether they're allowed to bring it inside a public space. Of course it's everyone's right to do so! It's their constitutional right to eat healthy or not.

Seriously Tori58, do you actually have the time to monitor what each of your student eats? I don't in high school. And who are you to stop a parent from bringing in food to their own kid? Would you be willing to shell out some money to feed their own in lieu of "in loco parentis" because you want them to eat healthy?

And let's not talk about food allergies here because that's besides the point. The matter is the use of public space in order to promote learning. Getting a student banned because of eating food that is not provided/sold by a public school cafeteria is what the OP pointed out. That's the issue here and that is not constitutional.

The only reason why a public school entity advocates or promotes their own school lunch program is because of money under the guise of healthy nutrition. Unfortunately the food offered by this entity can be just as toxic. By their putting a ban on outside food eliminates competition (aka monopoly).

Again, as another poster previously mentioned, who can monitor? Who can enforce? Students can hide what they eat. In fact I wouldn't be surprised that if the student does get into trouble for bringing outside food, they'll end up eating them in that person's office in the end OR that person's going to end up giving the student their own unhealthy lunch! There's bigger fish to fry and food wars is not a priority. It's a lost cause.

Last edited by Mikhail; 04-05-2018 at 01:41 PM..
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:21 PM
 
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I agree with you, that doesn't sound fair. Especially when the teachers all order from outside.

Lots of good debating. Just wanted to add one thing. I DO think it's wrong for parents to bombard the office by bringing in lunch to kids at lunchtime. That to me is ridiculous! If they want a subway sandwich, then buy it the night before or on the way to school and put it in lunchbox. The office staff (at least in my school) has way more to do that be waitresses during lunch time.
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I am surprised at the mention
Old 04-04-2018, 04:30 PM
 
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that teachers and administrators would be expected to follow the same food regulations as the students. I don't think that teachers are expected to follow any or all of the other rules in the student handbook, so why the rules about the cafeteria?
Our teachers are allowed to make coffee in the morning and have a special breakfast together once a month. Students don't get to do this. We are adults. They are still minors. Rules should reflect this.
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:44 PM
 
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Quote:
I am surprised at the mention that teachers and administrators would be expected to follow the same food regulations as the students. I don't think that teachers are expected to follow any or all of the other rules in the student handbook, so why the rules about the cafeteria?
Our teachers are allowed to make coffee in the morning and have a special breakfast together once a month. Students don't get to do this. We are adults. They are still minors. Rules should reflect this.
Only in this particular instance, because they're claiming that we can't compete with the cafeteria for lunch business. Well, in my experience, teachers also purchase cafeteria lunches, and they pay more than the students. So, if teachers bring in lunches from outside, they are also taking business away from the cafeteria. Right?
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Don't see anything wrong with it...
Old 04-04-2018, 04:52 PM
 
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Sorry, but I'd let it go.

First, no one will ever be happy and no one will ever get his or her way. Sorry, that's just a fact of life. You may not like that rule, but guess what? We are all different and others do. I know you want it changed, but if it is, other people will feel angry on the reverse. Why should you get your way when they don't? Sorry, but life is a game of give and take. Not all of us will get our way 100% of the time. That's life. That's an important lesson to learn.

Second, I think there is also a broader issue at hand and that's rules, respect for authority, obedience, acceptance, easygoingness, selflessness etc. It's not always about what WE want, it's sometimes about others wants/needs. Administrators made a rule. Deal with it. In life, you, your daughter, and all other students at this high school will be faced with rules from bosses, parents, teachers, etc. that they don't like or don't think is "fair". Guess what? We often have to live with them or face the consequences.

Third, I think all parents can help "control"/"influence" to some extend their child's reaction to certain things. If kids come home and complain to parents about rules and parents get upset too and vocalize that, the kids are more likely going to continue to hate that rule, become negative about it, whine about, not like it even more, etc. If parents stay positive, support it, don't complain about it, etc., while any kids will still not like it, I think the reaction will be different than if you join in with the displeasure. Again, this is a part of life. You can't control what the administrators did, but you can control your reaction to it. You can sulk, complain, hate it, etc. or you can forget about it, follow the rules, and have a positive attitude. You get so much more out of life by choosing that positive attitude and focusing on the positives, versus dwelling on what you don't like about it.

Fourth, what if you made a rule/policy for your classroom that parents scoffed at? Trust me, it will happen if it hasn't already because you can't please everyone. I'm sure you wouldn't like it or feel frustrated or stressed if parents were upset with a policy or rule you have set up. Picture it from that perspective. Treat others how you want to be treated. Surely, you also wouldn't parents to not say anything to you, but to complain to their children about it, would you? That could taint the child's view of you!

Quote:
This is so annoying to me. MANY kids are off-campus in the morning (for career training), and return to the high school for afternoon classes. This new policy means that they can't grab lunch on the way and eat it in the cafeteria (they could sit and eat it in their car, but it's COLD here the majority of the school year lol).
Again, focus on the positives. They can still stop if they have time. It's not banned all together. Even if it's cold, then they can dress warmer or keep the car on. Yes, if it they keep the car on, maybe it eats up gas faster, but if they have enough to go out everyday, they certainly can afford gas for the car too. You can't have EVERYTHING, not EVERYTHING will be perfect or ideal. If they have time to eat the fast food in the cafeteria, they obviously have time to eat it inside the fast food place, too, staying warm and still getting their lunch.

Quote:
DD tells me that the Principal, Assistant Principal and many teachers get takeout and even delivery from local restaurants (including McDonalds and Subway) on a daily basis. Why the discrepancy?
So students and adults should follow the same rules? Okay. At many of the schools I've worked at, students could jeans to school. Teachers could only on Friday's. That's a discrepancy. Maybe everyone, students included should have to follow the teacher's dress code since we don't want this discrepancy. Also, teachers have a longer school day/work day than students. I guess that means students should go longer too, so the schedule can be the same. Teachers probably have more homework than students, too, since for every 1 assignment a student takes, the teacher has X amount students times that amount to grade. I guess we need to make sure kids have more homework, so it's equal with the teachers. Teachers are also contracted to work more days than students. I guess we need to lengthen their school year too. Teachers lounges often have sweet treats in them for teachers. I guess students should get these, too or they should be banned all together. Otherwise, there is a discrepancy. Sorry, but there is a discrepancy between students and adults everywhere. Again, that's life, that's how it works, and it should be that way. If your daughter or any other student is that bent out of shape about it, eventually they will have something to look forward to for when the become a teacher, a working adult, etc.
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:56 PM
 
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I had never heard of "open lunch" where students can leave campus until I started working in this state. Apparently it's widely used everywhere except for where I went to HS, as I seem to be the only one who thinks it's weird . We weren't allowed to leave the school during lunch in HS.

I'm really shocked that so many schools do allow this. IMO, it seems like you're just asking for problems! I'm not so concerned about the food aspect; I'd be a lot more worried about what kids are going off and doing on their own unsupervised during the day, especially assuming most of their houses are empty because most parents work. Is the school held liable if something happens during this time?

As for teachers having "different rules," I'm with funkster on this one. Teachers are adults and as such should have different "rights" than students. I would be livid if my school started treating teachers like we're children! I'm trying to curb this for health reasons, but my teammates and I sometimes go pick up lunch from somewhere, and if students see us carrying in our lunch they typically whine. My standard response is, "When you're an adult, you can go out for lunch too."
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:01 PM
 
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Food for thought (get it?).... Non-students are charged twice as much for the exact same identical lunch in the Federally subsidized public school lunch room. Thatís an expensive pint of milk! No wonder staff outsources their lunch.
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:38 PM
 
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In our high schools, students are allowed to leave the school at lunch time. Often they go out to eat and sometimes they order in. It was a bother for the office staff, so now if they order pizza, they have to stand outside as the pizza companies aren't allowed to drop off in the office. This seemed like a good compromise...kids can still have the pizza if they are willing to wait outside for delivery so the office staff is not left tracking kids down to pay. This is standard practice for high school where I live, I can't imagine how poorly it would go if they said "no more" to eating out.
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What Tyrex said.
Old 04-04-2018, 09:03 PM
 
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Tyrex and I must work in the same district because our rules are exactly the same.
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Old 04-05-2018, 02:29 AM
 
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When my second graders question, "How come teachers get to...." I tell them because I went to college. Lol
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:34 AM
 
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I am shocked at so many people thinking that teachers should follow the same rules as the students. Since when do the adults in the building (or society for that matter) have to follow the same rules as kids? We are adults. We earned certain rights when we turned 18, went to college and got a full-time job time as a teacher.

Our school has similar policy, but they are allowed to bring in take out and fast food. However, parents and other adults are not allowed to drop off food for their kids during the day. It was becoming such an issues that the secretaries and office aides were spending all morning either running lunches down to students or sending passes for the students to come to the office. It was a huge distraction and waste of resources. If they want to bring it in with them whenever they get to school, fine, but it can't be dropped off during the day. People grumbled about it for a few months and now it's not a big deal.
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:53 AM
 
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We have a food truck that comes to serve teachers every couple of weeks. Kids can't buy it. They always ask me what I got. I am sure one day soon, a parent is going to ask if kids can buy from it. Nope - they certainly don't have the time.

I don't understand why so many kids are off campus anymore, either. I fortunately live in an area where there are no services within reach. HS kids don't leave for lunch. We only leave if someone has a planning period before lunch and we phone in a group order. Still takes half an hour to pick it up and get back to school.
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Old 04-05-2018, 07:04 AM
 
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Students and teachers do not need to follow the same rules. As a teacher I am a legal adult. I am college educated and responsible for myself. I have no problem with that discrepancy. Teachers (and other adults) can do what they want for lunch as long as they are back and ready to do their jobs.

I would think the school has experienced problems with the outside food being brought in. It sounds like only some students have the opportunity to be off campus and go to other restaurants. So there is a fairness issue there. But I think it's really hard to impose a new policy this late in the school year. Nobody likes a change like that. They should have waited until next year to impose this.
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IT may not be up to school admin.
Old 04-06-2018, 03:05 PM
 
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It may not be up to school admin. In our district, we have an outside firm that is in charge of lunches. They do everything: set prices, make rules, etc. I know that my P recently told me that she almost got in trouble because she was trying to give food to kids who hadn't paid lunch balances and were supposed to only get a cheese sandwich. When it comes to rules regarding lunch...it is all out of our school admin's hands.
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Why our HS students are off campus so much
Old 04-07-2018, 12:32 AM
 
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Senior year in our district is very different from when I went to school. We have a strong relationship with the community college and some kids go there to take academic classes. Others are taking classes at the tech institute. Many are doing internships in various businesses that have bought into the whole idea of prepping students for the "real" world. We even get high school kids who think they might want to go into education come into the elementary classrooms to help for half a day or a few hours depending upon their schedule. The kids don't fool around with it because they have to drop out of the program and stay on campus if they mess up. So far, it's been a wonderful experiment.
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