An Alabama father was confused, then enraged when his son came home from school with a stamp.
At first, it seemed like one of those good-job stamps. Or, Jon thought that it could have been a fun ink stamp from a fellow student?
Sadly, none of those guesses were right.
When Jon Bivens looked closer at the stamp on his third-grader’s arm he saw the text beneath the smiley stated, “I need lunch money”.
This was due to school’s specific cafeteria system. Since the school that Bivens’ son attends in Gardendale, Alabama, has refillable charge cards, parents have to refill the cards as needed.
However, Jon’s son usually brought his lunch to school and only occasionally used the card to buy a snack here and there.
So, when the card ran out of funds, Jon forgot to refill it. When his son tried to use it to pick up a little extra lunch, it was declined.
Instead of sending him with a note to notify his parents, however, the school to placed the stamp on his arm. Apparently, this was how the school tells parents to load up the lunch cards with money.
Biven’s refers to the stamp as a “brand” and sees it as a public humiliation for both his son and the family. Just think of the bullying, bad feelings, and shame a kid must endure when marked for all to see with a note on their body stating they can’t afford lunch.
In this case, it was a simple mix up with a father forgetting to throw some cash on a cafeteria card, but what about the families who can’t afford school lunch? Should their children be “branded” so that the whole world knows a kid can’t buy food?
Is this what we want going on in our schools? Or…is this whole story just overblown?
How would you react if this is was your son or daughter?