Need advice about lunch problem

Posted on: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 1:19pm
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

You'll have to excuse me if this comes out in one big run on paragraph. Bear with me. I'll try to be clear.

I'd like advice about what I should do. My two choices that I'm thinking are keep my DS home from school or get DS and bring him home for lunch.

Now, the reason why I ask is because of what my son related to us at dinner tonight about his lunchtime experience. At his school there are 4th & 5th grade lunch monitors that come and get the lower grade classes and sit with their assigned class at lunch.

Today, while sitting and eating his lunch, apparently one of the lunch monitors tells my son that he has dark circles under his eyes and the rest of his face looks red. He said he told her she should stop saying that because it was making him nervous. He then goes on to tell us that she decided to go to the office to check his allergy paper (I am guessing it is the Allergy Fact sheet with his picture that is posted by the secretary's desk -- but I could be wrong). Anyway, she goes to the office, then comes back after looking at the paper and says he is fine.

I need to take a deep breath.

Or two.

Okay, telling this is making me want to come out of my skin again. But aside from having to completely talk to the Principal and clear up the fact that a 4th or 5th grader shouldn't be proclaiming my son fine, when she thinks he is having a reaction -- in addition to the fact that said lunch monitor should have gone to the adult that was [b]IN[/b] the multi-purpose room where they eat if she thought a reaction was happening --- add on to that the fact that if said lunch monitor goes to the office to check a paper to see if a child on the other side of the school is having a reaction, there sure as he!! should have been an adult running back with them and a medical kit to make sure my son was getting proper care.

Did I mention we have a 504?

I'm digressing in my continued state of being flabberghasted!

Anyway, my main question is what should I do? Aside from trying not to rip my head off and throw it at the Principal -- should I just pick up DS for lunch, or make a bigger statement and keep him home from school?

I also welcome any other comments, suggestions, exclamations, commiserations, etc.

Posted on: Mon, 10/09/2006 - 11:54pm
MimiM's picture
Joined: 10/10/2003 - 09:00

If the 4th or 5th grader is a "monitor" and they happen to suspect a reaction, they should be trained to immediately tell an adult, not try to handle the situation themselves. Dealing with an allergic reaction should not primarily be their responsibility.
I would not keep your son out of school. Mistakes unfortunately do happen and the school needs to learn how to do things better by learning from experiences such as these. I would absolutely talk to the principal about the issue (in a nonconfrontational way of course). Suggest, better instruction for the monitors.
Perhaps suggest taping a reminder sign to each table stating something like, "If you suspect that you or another student is having an allergic reaction, tell an adult immediately!"
And/or a PAL poster?
[This message has been edited by MimiM (edited October 10, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 12:57am
krc's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

I would want a trained adult monitor in my childs lunch room. I think my child is at the greatest risk for having a reaction in the cafeteria and would never want a 4th or 5th grader responsible for my child. I would also be upset w/this. I also would not enjoy it if I were the parent of the 4th or 5th grader....this should not be his/her responsibility.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 1:23am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

I wouldn't take your child out of school - that would really be punishing the child, not the school. I personally would go eat lunch with my child until this matter is resolved.
And it definitly needs to be resolved - what the heck are they thinking? Does your 504 specific adult supervision in the lunch rooms? If not, then I think it's time to revisit it.
I'd also be sure and recognize that the lunch monitor was doing her best to protect your child. This is WAY too much responsibility for a 4th or 5th grader, and she should get credit for trying to do the right thing.
How did your son take the whole thing? Hope you get things straightened out soon!

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 2:13am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

Well, we decided to keep DS home today. Luckily enough, he won't think of it as a punishment because he thinks he is staying home due to the fact that my Grandmother and Uncle are coming over for lunch. It isn't often that we get to see them, so it is like a special treat -- so he is excited that he'll get to see his Great Grandma and Great Uncle.
We did send an email to the Principal last night, and expect to speak to her today. We are sure the fact that our son is out of school will get us communication with her. (no child = -$$$$)
We also agree that putting the responsibility on the head of a child for supervising, especially when FA's are involved, is quite inappropriate. In the 504 we specifically have that an adult must be present in the multi-purpose room (where my DS eats lunch).
I also agree that the lunch monitor gets credit for thinking about DS's allergy, looking at him to figure out if he was having a reaction and trying to find information to clarify what she thought. That said though, the Principal should have made it clear that if the monitors, or anyone, suspected anything at all, they should get the adult present.
Funny thing about DS, the thing about the whole incident that bothered him the most was that the monitor was telling him he had dark circles under his eyes and his face was red. It made him feel nervous - and he asked her to stop telling him that. Even when relating the story, the rest of it didn't bug him. He could have been talking about anything.
We did also find out another piece of info too during this whole thing -- and we included it in our email. A couple weeks ago he told us that a lunch monitor (different than the one above) told him to move out of his seat. He told her no, that he was supposed to sit where he was everyday. She asked who said -- and he told her his Mom. Well, he was proud of himself, we were proud of him, and we thought the matter was settled. Little tidbit though, came out last night about the seat incident, as we are trying to figure out what monitor and who did what, with respect to yesterday's incident. Apparently, the lunch monitor who told him to move, after he refused, sat next to him and tried to shove him out of his seat. Again, he is proud because he didn't budge when this big kid is shoving him. I, however, was not pleased.
Of course, last night I wasn't sure if we should have added this into our email -- but with careful wording and the right tie in, we put that in too.
It really is clear to us that this Principal needs to get a handle on these monitors, from multiple angles. And, really, it makes me question how 'present' the adult in the M.P. room really is, if they aren't seeing what is going on around them. (Just for the record -- the adults usually present in the room -- the principal and the custodian).

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 2:40am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Interesting situation. I can think of a few 4th or 5th graders that I would trust MORE than some adults to notice and react to a problem - but as an above poster said they may need some more training or not be the "right" kids for the job. Especially the one shoving your DS out of the seat!
Can he have some meds in the lunchroom if the office is that far away?
I agree that you need to seek out what adult is really there too.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 2:44am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

HOw old is your son? Was he eating a safe lunch in a safe setting? Was there even a chance that he was reacting? Does not sound like it.
I'd hate to be the 4 or 5th grader put in the responsibility of watching the FA kids eat. I would never let my child be given this responsibility.
It sounds like some sort of "Training" went on at school for these kids and the one in question took things too far. Looking for and finding a reaction when there was none.
Our kids had fifth grade partners while they were in K. They read together and had activities together but were never never responsible for each other's health.
This seems wrong and I hope your email starts off some sort of dialog.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 2:44am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

He does have a medical kit located in the lunch room (in addition to the ones in the office and classroom). We are perplexed as to why she went to the office. Frankly though, had they had an adult in the office at lunchtime, they could have questioned why she was there, and should have come running back to the lunch room with her and one of DS's medical kits. The office being staffed by students, of course, is a whole other issue that I have a problem with.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 2:58am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Wow. I am so sorry for your family. I don't really have anything to add other than to tell you that I think your instincts are right on-- as the other posters have done.
(This is the same reason I don't allow the teenaged girl up the street to babysit. As her parent, [i]I would NEVER allow my 16yo to take on such responsibility.[/i] Never mind a 5th grader. Oy.)
Good luck getting this resolved.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 3:20am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

So there are students in the office too? Has this school had radical staff cutbacks?
While I do not have a problem with trained 4th/5th graders of responsible charactor monitoring a table (and I took this to mean that every table not just the allergic ones) was monitored by 4th 5th graders), they need to have an adult in the lunchroom that they can go to / to monitor them and certainly an adult in the office. Who gets the phone? Who handles visitors? Did I misread something?
[This message has been edited by Chicago (edited October 10, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 3:25am
Chicago's picture
Joined: 04/21/2001 - 09:00

Actually the lack of any adult in the office, in light of all of the recent school violence, is quite alarming from a non FA perspective.


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