What Happens If Your Child Forgets His/her Lunch?

Updated on October 19, 2012
S.G. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
43 answers

I work as a lunch supervisor at my sons' school a few days a week. We usually keep some food, such as cereal, granola bars and fruit cups on hand in case a child forgets to bring a lunch, or if they eat their lunch and they are still hungry. We have a new pricipal this year, and last week she sent out an email to the lunch supervisors stating that we would no longer provide lunch to students who don't have lunch. Instead she will contact the parents etc. Anyway, I am disappointed about this, because it is unfair to the kids. Sure, parents need to take responsibility, but sometimes stuff happens, and it isn't fair to make a kid sit without food while the other kids are eating. Last year we had a family that just had a hard time making ends meet, and the kids never had enough to eat. We always gave them some cereal, rather than let them be hungry all day.

Well, today my seven year old forgets his lunch. I went shopping right after work at the Y. My husband was outside raking the lawn. The school called for an hour and a half before they got a hold of us, all the time my seven year old had not eaten. When I brought his lunch to school he had to miss class while he sat and ate in the office. I guess maybe he will learn his lesson from this, and he will make sure to take his lunch, although it was the first time he ever forgot it. And it's not usually a big deal if I have to bring a forgotten item to school, since I only work part time, and I am close by, but what about parents who are at work all day? Will they have to leave work to bring lunch?

There is no official policy on this matter. It just seemed like the right thing to do, feed a kid if they had no food. No one was purposely taking advantage of it. I don't really understand why the principal has a problem with it. Anyway, what do they do at your childs school if a child forgets lunch?

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So What Happened?

I think I will talk to the other lunch supervisors and some of the parents and schedule a meeting with the principal. I hope she will be willing to change her mind. I would certainly be willing to donate some cereal if she is worried about the cost.

Do all the elementary schools in the US have cafeteria's? We don't in Canada, at least I've never heard of one. Some jr. highs have them and all high schools have them, but not emementary. We do cold milk that families pre-pay, and special lunch days where lunch is ordered in (pizza, subs), but otherwise they all have to bring lunch from home.

We only have 200 kids in the school, and only about 150 stay for lunch. There is usually about one child a day who forgets or askes for extra food, so five a week. Not a lot.

No hot lunches or gov't lunch programs.

Well, the pricipal was out sick last week, and then had some professional development days, so I wasn't able to talk to her face-to-face. I did speak to the parent council president, who assured me that parent council will cover the costs to have emergency lunch food available. I have sent the principal an e-mail explaining my concerns, and the solution of having parent council cover the costs. Hopefully she will reconsider.

Mindy, we are in Canada, and elementary schools do not have cafeteria's in Canada, so no hot lunch program for back up. I am all about teaching responsiblility, however even the most responsibille kids (and adults for that matter) make mistakes, and forget from time to time.

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answers from Washington DC on

I think kids need to be responsible. I think kids are human and forget sometimes. I think that principal is off her rocker!

I'd be contacting the superintendent to get the issue fixed. There is no reason to not be able to give them a school lunch and send the bill for $2 or whatever it is home. I can't imagine watching a kid sit there hungry because they forgot something...that's awful :(.

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm a bit on the fence re this issue.
I also worked in the lunchroom, and I liked that we had some "emergency" options (similar to what you described) on hand for the kids who forgot a lunch, or who had no lunch money/tickets.
On the other hand, when I was a kid, I knew from day one, if I forgot my lunch/lunch ticket, I had no lunch. I think it made me a pretty responsible person. And this started in kindergarten.
My mother had nothing to do with it, I was always pretty much on my own in this regard, she rarely made me a lunch, let alone reminded me to bring my lunch ticket.
Honestly, even though it sounds harsh, I like giving kids the chance to take this responsibility for themselves. Children all over the world are TRULY going hungry every day. The occasional missed lunch of an American child is not really damaging and is probably in fact a lesson they won't soon forget. Maybe that's what the principal is trying to do?

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answers from Portland on

The way it works here is if a kid forgets lunch or has no $$ in their lunch account, they can charge 2 - 3 lunches before they're denied lunch. Also, parents are notified.
Seems wrong to completely deny kids something to eat if they've forgotten to bring something.

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answers from Wichita Falls on

At our school, The kids are allowed to charge a lunch once and after that they have cheese sandwiches for those who forget. They also have a table where kids put unopened lunch items that they don't want for those who are still hungry.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

I could never let a child go hungry! Is this principle a parent? Sheesh!

My kids have Type 1 Diabetes, so if the school made them wait to eat until they got ahold of me, there would be hell to pay. Things get forgotten- it happens! They shouldn't penalize a 7 year old for it.

Your comment about the family having a hard time making ends meet reminds me of an organization called Blessings in a Backpack that sends food home for kids to help them and their families to get them through the weekend. Our local schools also have scholarships for families who can't pay for lunches so that every child has enough to eat.

I wish the principle had the same compassion as you do!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

just another way that we are sanitizeng the humanity right out of our schools.
If you have a cafeteria do they provide a lunch? Ours does but only things like cheese sandwiches.

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answers from Dallas on

I also teach in our district, only in the lower elementary level. When this happens, parents are notified but in the event they are not...my understanding is that the cafeteria will provide something.

In the past, with my classes, if for some reason a lunch us not delivered to the school for the child, I just have the child buy lunch on my account number so they don't go hungry .

It's not that much $$ and I know he/she got lunch. This doesn't happen often but I keep my account prepared. I've seen other teachers do this as well.

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answers from Seattle on

I think it's awesome that you have a little snack on hand for kids that forget their lunch. Not only that everyone is human and sometimes a kid will forget lunch... also many parents work during the day and driving by the school to drop of lunch is just not possible.
A third thing to consider is that some children who "forget" lunch, may simply not be able to bring lunch because their parents can't afford it. Some people are too proud to apply for free/reduced lunch at school or they are unaware that they may qualify. Some people are in debt up to their eyeballs and even though they make good money (and do not qualify for free lunch), sometimes there is not enough left for food.
And some kids have parents who are slackers/do not care whether their child eats during the day.

So yes, while it should be the parent's responsibility, you are not only helping the kids who "should know better" or could benefit from a learning experience, this decision also hurts those who are most vulnerable.

Maybe you can get some of the teachers or other staff involved and find out why this decision was made? If it is a financial concern you could set up a donation fund that pays for these "extras". If it is something different maybe that can be addressed as well.
They shouldn't let a child go hungry as punishment for the parents. That is just sad and how could that possibly help the kid's learning?
Good luck.

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answers from Boise on

Our school allows 2-3 charges, sometimes more, once that's reached they get a basic sack lunch. No one goes hungry. They also do something similar to the 'free' table. Mainly for the elementary kids since the older kids get bar and can go back for more.

I would be getting a group of parents together and asking about the policy. Doesn't sound very fair to me.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm not sure why the school does not already have a policy in place. If you don't already have a direct line to the principal than get involved with your PTA to try to get a policy in place.

Our school will let the kid's account go so far negative (might be $10) and then they are given a cheese sandwich until the account is caught up.

With food allergies rampant I can see the stash of food be a potential liability if you give a child food they didn't bring.

For those families falling on hard times there is the free and reduced lunch program.

So bottom line, the child who forgets their lunch on occasion should be given a hot lunch. If they do it habitually than the principal needs to contact the family once their account is so far negative.

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answers from San Antonio on

In one school I taught at, all the "leftovers" were placed in a "freebie for anyone" pan of ice. Each child on free lunch (95% of the school) was required to choose one fruit, one milk, one veg, one protein. Well some kids didn't like apples, didn't like oranges, or were lactose intolerant or just didn't want their milk. The principal allowed the ice pan for children to place their unwanted/unopened milk or unwanted/unbitten apples and oranges. I had one student who DAILY went to grab an extra chocolate milk. He wanted two milks! Some days when the ice pan was filled, the kid would have 3 or 4 milks. But it was there for all in the cafeteria.

Another school I taught at, children were strictly not allowed to take apples/milks/unopened food out of the cafetria. Such a same. Shoulda seen all the fruit and milk tossed into the trashcan. (Field trips were GREAT days b/c all the leftovers were free for kids to take home to family or pets - lots of apples for horses, lots of carrot stick bags for families.... Days the kids ate breakfast in the classroom were equally good. Not all wanted a bowl of self-serve cereal. I had a stash in my closet that over-flowed with cereal extras.

So - I guess that doesn't answer your question entirely. I think the ice suggestion is an idea for your principal - sure milk isn't a meal, but a milk and an apple is better than nothing. Perhaps you could also suggest that a box of crackers or whatever be on the back-to-school item list. Each teacher could keep a box or a few bags in their room for in case a kid forgets.

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answers from Columbus on

There are a lot of things our school does wrong, but this they get right. When a child forgets lunch, they are given a hot lunch. The parents get billed, but if they cannot or do not pay, it is forgiven (I don't know what would happen if it was a daily occurrence).

I can't imagine making a child go all day without food.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would take your experiences and speak to the principal. I would ask her why the policy change. I would remind her that there are a lot of working parents who are unable to leave the office for the kids' lunch and there are also a lot of poor families who cannot afford a lunch. Ask her why the policy has changed and what happens if a parent doesn't answer at all - you were at least able to get to the school after a while. If I worked my old job, I'd be 45 minutes away from my DD's elementary school. She'd be stuck.

While I understand that the principal may not want to be handing out a lot of meals to kids who she may think need to learn a lesson, these are not high schoolers who can dig up some money for the snack machine. They are elementary aged kids. Further, is it really better to take a kid out of class whenever Mom and Dad can arrive?

In my SD's school (the younger of the older ones) they were offered a very simple sandwich or a lunch on credit. She ate cold white bread and cheese when she forgot her lunch.

ETA: Here is one example of what a school does but notice that while you can keep getting charged, the child isn't going hungry. AND they remind parents that they should consider applying for free/reduced lunches if providing lunch is a problem. http://www.columbia.k12.fl.us/foodservices/No%20Money.pdf

Google for "no lunch money" and you'll see that many schools provide something for the child.

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answers from Washington DC on

At my kids' school you can put money on an account and the kids can punch in their student ID at the cafeteria to buy lunch. If a child forgets a lunch and does not have any money in his/her account they are offered a lunch (I'm not sure if it's the same as everyone else, or just a basic sandwich or whatever) and sent home with a note saying something like "We provided lunch for your child today. Please put money on your child's account so he/she can buy lunch in the future." I personally think this is an excellent system. And it must be working b/c our school keeps doing it. I highly doubt there are any families out there who take advantage. Most people are too proud for that, even if they're having trouble making ends meet. Maybe make a suggestion to start this kind of thing at your school?

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answers from New York on

This is a HUGE issue in our school district. There was over $20,000 owed to the BOE for unpaid lunches. The policy now is to give the child a cheese sandwich and to contact the parents.

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answers from Dover on

I suggest someone (a group of someones) speak to the principal. Discuss this and see what the rationale is and if there is room for compromise.

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answers from St. Louis on

If a child forgets their lunch and they have no lunch plan in place I suppose they beg from their friends like I did when I forgot my lunch.

If they have a lunch plan, in other words at some point in time they had cash on their lunch card, they are given lunch on credit. Having a lunch plan means you give your child permission to pick their food and would have already listed foods they are not allowed to have.

They cannot just give kids stuff because there is no parental permission. If they gave them a lunch and it was something the parents do not allow it opens up a can of worms.

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answers from Columbia on

Well, here in US public schools, the government covers lunches...and if a family can't make ends meet, there is a reduced or free lunch program.

I think it's pathetic that the principal would not allow food to a hungry child when there isn't a program to ensure that they get food. I would take that to the district superintendent.

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answers from Cumberland on

Depriving a young child of nourishment will, in no way, teach them to be more diligent about remembering their lunch-it will teach them that adults are not reliable, loving and nurturing-and not to be respected or trusted or confided in. The principal would have more success moving a mountain a teaspoon at a time than accomplish what she wants to accomplish. When was the last time she did her job with no help or support? Yea-never.

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answers from Austin on

In our public schools we have cafeterias with big lunch rooms.

Here in Austin there is a lunch account. Parents pay into it..It is now computerized so the child punches in their code and then the amount is deducted from the balance.

The schools encourage parents to try to keep a balance for just in case the student forgets their lunch. At the end of the school year, the balance is returned to the parents.

IF a child does not have lunch or money.. The lunch room will provide a peanut butter sandwich, an apple and a carton of milk.. A cheese sandwich can also be offered.

Our PTA in the elementary school tried to keep money for children in case they just needed the meal..

Of course the govt, provides meals for the low income children.

I think as a campus, you parents need to work with this Principal to come up with a less disruptive solution.

Cereal is good. Peanut butter crackers, Cheese and crackers, fresh fruit. Dried fruit.

How many children forget their lunch per week?

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answers from Nashville on

Holy cow!!! That is CRAZY that they don't have a City/County/State/ policy on this! I would call the school board immediately!! First thing I would do is look up the policy for about 10 other states so you have something to go by. For example, in our school (county) the child is NEVER to go hungry. If they do not bring their lunch or do not have any money in their account, there is a set lunch that they can have. That is a cheese sandwich a fruit and a milk. This is a standard meal that they always will receive. They used to give them things like you mentioned but this year b/c of so many children not bringing their lunch, they changed it to a standard meal.
Go to the Board and tell them that this needs to be changed immediately. Or even go to the PTC/PTA board at your school and see if they can afford a small budget each year to care for this area.
This is just pathetic. I wonder if the "no child left behind" falls under this category. I hope you can get something worked out.
You know, you may even try to start a mission/ministry in your area that asks for donated items that keep for long periods that is for the children in the school system of your town. Have big donation times and then each school gets some of the donations. Worst case, have your school ask for donations to feed your own school's children.

Good luck! let us know what happens!

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answers from New York on

How can they make a kid sit at lunch without anything. Things happen in life. Someone forgets something. In our school district, they will get a hot lunch and money is expected to pay back. If there are extenuating circumstances, no repayment expected. It is the right thing to do.

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answers from New York on

I agree. It's typically not the child's fault before HS. Our school usually has some leftover hot lunches from kids who were out sick (we order ahead of time) and I think granola bars etc in the office. So I think a child will get SOMETHING. It seems easy - the parents of any child that often doesn't have a lunch get called and dealt with. Random one time events? Come on. No one's perfect. If I were you I'd have to have a personal stash. I couldn't watch a 7 year old go hungry.

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answers from Tyler on

My first thought went to the kids who may be saying the lunch is "forgotten" but in all truth, the family simply didn't have the food at home to prepare a lunch or the dollars in their pocket to pay daily. In Texas, all public school families receive an application for free lunches. I've never had to fill it out, but just looking at it was a headache. I'm not going to get political here, but I do believe we need to make it easy for our students to be nourished at school. Your principal needs to put themselves into the shoes of the CHILD and just imagine how heart broken that kid will be when they KNOW there is NO WAY a lunch will be delivered when or if the parents are reached. Maybe I've been working too long with lower income schools, but there is great need out there and I believe it is worth our tax dollars to pay for kids to be fed in school, whether it is the occassional "forgotten" lunch or something deeper and with greater need.

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answers from Miami on

I do not think anyone should go hungry. My daughter has forgotten her lunch a few times here and there. Everyone is busy with work or looking for work or trying to get by. And like that other lady where her kid was getting bullied and some kid stole her lunch. When my daughter was in public school she would get a free pass and get food and the second time cheese sandwhich. We ended up though putting 5 dollars on her account but they never made her go hungry. They did put notes to take home after the second incident which is when we found out. In her private school they gave peanut butter sandwhiches. The private montissori its even nicer the kids help out each other when they forget food. Not like in public where they can't share food. Her father has gotten in the habit of packing a lot of food because everyone was kind and shared with her she would share her lunch when her friends forgot it..

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answers from Milwaukee on

My kids have food accounts so if they forgot their lunch they could just buy hot lunch. If there was no money in their acct they would give it to them anyway and I would have a negative balance that I would cover once I got the email. If there was no acct they have bag lunches they can give kids for free with a pb&j sandwich, fruit and milk. They would never let a kid go hungry.

Once my sons teacher drove to my house because my son was crying because he did not like the school lunch choices and was hungry. I had the baby sleeping, so she drove over to pick up a lunch I quickly threw together for him. I live close by - but that was still above and beyond imo.

The classrooms also ask for snack donations so they have extras if kids forget their snacks.

I would definitely encourage your principal to rethink the no extra food thing. That's a crappy change. You could also suggest that parents send in food donations or money donations. I am sure there will be many who want to help out.

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answers from Phoenix on

DD's school (and most, if not all) in the US have lunch rooms.

I think this policy is b.s., especially for younger kids, who rely on their parents to make & remind then to put their lunch box in their backpacks. The principal is trying to punish the parents, but the kids are the ones that are suffering. I question whether or not someone so cold should be working with kids in the first place.

You just made me really happy that DD is in a Title 1 school & offers a free breakfast to all kids, regardless of income, and if your child should forget lunch, or run out of money on their lunch fund, they are still provided a meal. A lot of the kids are on a reduced/free lunch, so no one goes hungry, anyway. This is how it should be, regardless of financial status.

I think this cause is worth fighting for.

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answers from Hartford on

The child should be allowed to get the school lunch. A child should NOT be allowed to go hungry, especially if the parents can't be reached or the parents can't leave work to get lunch to them. I don't even think the principal can enact such a rule... where we are, it's simply not allowed. What your principal is doing would be considered illegal.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I hope I don't live in your district. That is an awful story.

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answers from Wausau on

Maybe the policy change has to do with laws/regulations and is out of the principal's hands, officially. I hope I see an update about what you discover.

Our elementary school in the US has a cafeteria and a hot lunch program. Kids can either buy lunch or bring their own.

The official policy is that kids can't charge meals, so hypothetically if a kid does not bring a lunch and does not have money in their food account, they are supposed to be out of luck. In reality, they will give the kid a sandwich and an apple and milk, and send a notice home. Sometimes a kid will call home to see if mom/dad can bring their lunch.

When my little kids take a cold lunch, I personally put it inside their backpack before they leave the house because it is easier to make sure they take it than to bring it to them later.

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answers from Orlando on

my daughter is in the 5th grade and yes there is a cafeteria. if a child forgets a lunch, they have "bagged" lunches for the kids. a pb jelly sandwich and some fruit & milk normally. that's just wrong to make the kids sit there & not eat!!

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answers from New York on

It's like you said Sherri.....your child will learn a lesson, as will you. If a lunch is forgotten, yes, a parent will have to go out of their way to get their child lunch. Some schools are just cutting back I guess as far as lunches, which I think is stupid. I really don't understand what the big deal is either, but I guess it's not just 1 kid forgetting lunch and it adds up on the school bill. ???????

When my kids were younger, their elementary school just fed them. My youngest had a best friend who was always forgetting her lunch and she would just share her lunch.

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answers from Kansas City on

Our daughter forgot her lunch and they gave her a hot lunch which we had to pay for later. They have an online payment system, and we put extra money on her acct in case it happened again.

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answers from Detroit on

our school has hot lunch daily. so if the kid does not have lunch the child will get a hot lunch and the parents will get a bill.

you can prepay for hot lunch.. (send in a check for 10 lunches or so-- so you are not looking for exact change every day.)

I know they will give the child several lunches without payment.. (billing the parents) but I know at some point if there are parents taht dont send money or lunch the principa;l would have to step in and talk to the parents.

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answers from Kansas City on

My son goes to a private school with a hot lunch program. If they forget their packed lunch, the school provides them a hot lunch and sends a bill home. I realize this may not be possible with public school.

Does you school offer hot lunch? Maybe you could put $5 in your child's account so he can eat on the days that he forgets his packed lunch.

I do think your school's policy is unfair.

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answers from Omaha on

They have to get hot lunch instead of their cold lunch. Beings we are veggies they still have to take the entree even if it isn't vegetarian friendly but they don't make them eat that part. My children have just always hit the salad bar super hard from what they've explained to me. If the child wasn't veggie it would be easier though. We then have to pay for the hot lunch which I think is a dollar and a half. They don't call us at all if the child or we forget to send lunch. That would be nice though. But since my kids started to go to school now 5 years ago it's only happened pry once or twice per child.

And if you don't have this option I do think it is absolutely stupid the new principles idea. They can show that children that don't eat well aren't as attentive and behaved at school. Why would you further that problem when giving children something extra is no skin off your shoulders.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

All public schools have a cafeteria and really I hardly ever see kids bring lunch anymore. I guess if the kids are really picky they bring stuff from home but the ones I do see always throw their food away and eat off friends lunches. We have pretty good food at our schools.

We also have a low income program for families who can't afford lunches. I have never paid for lunch for my grand kids. And before anyone says anything, I worked all my life until I couldn't work anymore. If I was able to work I would be paying for their lunches. I paid my taxes like everyone else so now that I am unable to work yes, I get some assistance to help my family out.

The kids that get free or reduced priced lunches also have the option of getting backpack of food for the weekend to help them with their lunches and other meals. Our school does not partake in this program, they don't think their students really need this program...duh, they get free lunch, that means they have low income.

So our kids would not be going hungry. They would help the parents get them on the reduced or free lunch program so the kids would not be going hungry.

Also if the parents would not comply and cooperate with them helping the kids to get proper nutrition I am sure the school would call social services and file a complaint. Kids cannot go without food. They need a person to stand up for them and tell those parents to make sure their kids get enough food.

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answers from Cleveland on

I had a part time job in a small private school with no cafeteria. It was the year before i started but apparently there was a child that so greatly enjoyed being fussed over and given the stash of food which was microwaved spagettios that they purposely "lost" their lunch in the bushes before getting on the bus. And from what i heard unoffically from the teachers that this sort of thing did happen with other children althought not to that extent, but if they had peanut butter they would throw it out before the teacher saw it so they could get something they liked better like the spaghettios or crackers with peanut butter.

And yes i do not want a chld to go hungry due to the parents entitlement, but it seems I'm a bit jaded by mama's with their nails done and hair done and fancy cell phones, cigerettes and no food for their kids. I dout someone colored your hair for you for free and even if you did it yourself that would have cost as much as a box of cereal. If the family was really going through a hardship, they should should have recieved a free lunch from the gov system that is set up.

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answers from Spokane on

If my son forgets his lunch then he takes hot lunch. I have an acct at the school and I make sure it is always in the positive.
I know kids have forgotten their lunch and didn't have a positive acct (our school will NOT allow parents to be billed any longer) so they were given a sandwich and fruit and could go to the endless salad bar that is always available.

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answers from Seattle on

I've been at a lot of different private and public schools, and all schools have handled the forgotten lunch problem exactly the same way: they all have some back up food. Only the food options differ from school to school.

The principal who made this insensitive decision does not sound as though she even likes children, to punish them with hunger like this. It's really unacceptable, as we are talking about little kids who are totally dependent upon the grown ups in their lives to feed them. Honestly, shame on this particular principal.

Now your son, sorry about the one time forgotten lunch and he clearly survived. In the beginning of the week I have my kids pack some extra snacks in their bags, like crackers and fruit cups, in case there is a mix up with our lunch planning, because like every regular family, things like lunches get over looked once in a while.

BTW, we live in Canada now and the lunch hour in Elementary Schools is not covered by the local school district. Teachers get that time off to rest and rejuvenate. Children within the walking zone have to pay to stay at school here. Otherwise they go home. Bused kids can stay, but they pay for the bus here. I think it's very sweet that kids can go home and be with mom at lunch time if they want. It's encouraged and sometimes it's even a play date and a lunch combo. There is no cafeteria at school, if a kid forgets their lunch, there is some food available. But I'd have to ask my daughter what the choices are.

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answers from Honolulu on

Well I work at my kids' school too, doing Lunch Supervision etc.
IF a child forgets their lunch, they can simply buy a school lunch.
This is a public school. Kids' have lunch accounts, into which the parents put money.

IF a family cannot afford school lunch, the public schools have a Federal program, which then allows a family in financial hardship, to have free, school lunches and breakfast. EVERY year, at the beginning of the year, paperwork/forms are sent home to ALL families, about this program. Anyone can enroll, and they need to provide their personal financial info, in order for the Federal program's guidelines, to be met and the family will or will not qualify.

IF a child's school lunch account is empty (because the parent did not put in enough money)... the school, will still feed a child. A note will be sent home to the parents, to inform them that their account is in negative balance, and to send in payment. The parent can then, just send in the cost of just that one lunch, or the amount to cover their child for the entire month etc. It is up to, the parent on how much to put into their child's lunch account.

We never, let a child go hungry. The staff, will provide something.

NOW, per the cafeteria, it is a State Wide rule. Each cafeteria has to keep stats... on how many lunches are made each day etc. And what the needs are etc. IF a child is given a lunch, with no payment made... then how does the school cafeteria cover it. EACH day, the cafeteria makes a certain number of lunches, BASED on, how many kids are eating school lunch that day and how many kids have brought home lunch. EACH morning in class, the Teacher takes a count of how many students brought a home lunch, and this count is immediately sent to the Cafeteria. Cafeterias have to keep count... EACH day, and keep their stats, too. FOR the Districts counts which is then, stats for the State Dept. of Education, and which ALSO impacts, the Federal guidelines on how much money each school gets etc.
So, it is a lot of things... to consider, when only just one child, forgets his or her homelunch.

And per donated "food." These are sometimes regulated too, per the school's District, and there are rules about what kinds of foods can be fed to the child. It is per nutritional guidelines per the State, and/or if a school has a "no nuts" policy etc.
AND it also depends on the budget of a school.
And the storage of these donated foods. Most schools are tight on extra space and storage for example. AND then, who will inventory all that donated food and keep accounts of it???
Many things to consider.

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answers from Savannah on

I don't know if there's a "policy" or not at my son's school, but his kindergarten class does this thing where everyday, one child brings snack for everyone in the class (25 kids). I thought that was lame before, why can't we each just be responsible for our own kids, but I suppose if someone forgets their food then it's a good thing. I know the teacher collects extras of snacks so if someone forgets to do this (even though he sends home a calendar), the class is still covered.
What I do to insure my child always has lunch even if I'm sick, or something happens, or we somehow forget: I put $10 in his lunch account at school, which I can monitor from home on the computer. He has a pin number so there have been a few mornings (early morning doctor appointment, going out of town, 1 day when I was simply sick all night and didn't want to be bothered packing lunches) where I'll just say "Here's your number on a card, keep it in your pocket, buy lunch today ok?" If he doesn't want the hot lunch option that day, he can also purchase a milk, pbj, and fruit.....or a salad. It's best that the child knows his pin # and can do it himself, but if a child rarely used it and didn't have the number, either his teacher or lunch lady can look it up. The site is mylunchmoney.com

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answers from Portland on

The school gives us a call to see if we want to run one down and then they provide a hot lunch if we can't make it over to the school. It is expected that we pay it back of course. If they can't get in touch with us, they automatically provide the kids a lunch at their designated lunch time.

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