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Author Topic: Article in paper about lunch visits  (Read 2100 times)

janM

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Article in paper about lunch visits
« on: Nov 24, 2007, 09:06:12 AM »
Green Local Schools Parent lobbies school board for right to have lunch with his children
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Comments November 23, 2007
By RACHEL JACKSON

Staff Writer

GREEN DISTRICT -- The board will consider whether parents should be allowed to eat lunch with their students in the school cafeteria.

Christopher Green, who has two middle school children, asked the board to reconsider its parent visitation policy.

He tries to have lunch with his children while they are at school, as a way of being involved and getting to know classmates, he said. But when he contacted middle school staff in September, he was told the only way he could have lunch with his children was to meet in the guidance office.

Such a location would seem to be a punishment to the student, Green said. He doesn't have a problem with sitting at a separate table from other students but he wants to be able to be in the cafeteria and to eat cafeteria lunch with his children.

School administrators told him he presents a security and safety risk, Green said. They also said it was against school policy.

Based on the reaction of school administrators, Green called around to other districts, all of which said they would "welcome" visiting parents, he said.

Green brought three requests to Tuesday's board meeting. First, he asked to be allowed to eat in the same room as other students, even if a separate table is set up. He acknowledged custody disputes can be a concern in some cases, but said in most cases it's not a problem.

Second, he asked for school communication issues to be addressed. Administrators told him they would discuss the issue with staff but the issue was never brought up, Green told the board.

Third, he asked the school handbook be updated and brought in line with policy. The handbook does not address lunchroom policies, so the policies should either be put in the handbook or thrown out, Green said.

He also asked that meeting times for the Parent-Teacher Organization be consistent and match the handbook to allow for greater parent attendance.

"I care about our kids and I want to be part of their lives," Green said.

Board member Julie Finney said the requests were reasonable.

"I think parents should be welcome and we need to find a way to make that happen," Finney said.

Parental involvement in students' lives is very important and should be encouraged, she said.

Superintendent Larry Brown agreed some changes need to be made, specifically in regard to communication. He hopes the district can turn this into a "positive thing" and can look at the bigger picture.

President Kevin Trent said the board will look into the issue and "certainly there's a compromise that can be reached."

Reporter Rachel Jackson can be reached at (330) 287-1632 or rjackson@the-daily-record.com.



mistoffolees

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RE: Article in paper about lunch visits
« Reply #1 on: Nov 25, 2007, 07:22:28 AM »
As always, there are two sides to every issue.

Schools have an obligation to protect the safety of all students. In one of our local schools, an uncle of one student went to drop off some papers (so he had a legitimate reason to be there) and then molested a different 6 year old in the bathroom.

It's impossible for a school to monitor parents after they've given them access to the school, so I can understand the reaction to severely limit access at all times.

Seems to me that if they're allowing him to meet the kid at the guidance counselor's office, that's a reasonable accomodation.

When kids' safety is involved, shool officials SHOULD err on the side of caution. While the person involved here is undoubtedly a good person who would not endanger any child, the school officials have no way of knowing who might constitute a threat.

SCMom

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though it may only be at certain times of the year. However, when my son was in Elementary school in VA I was able to eat lunch with him any time I wanted as long as it was cleared by the office first.

I am assuming by the undertone of the article the dad has a difficult time being involved in his kids' education due to custody issues? If that is the case there may be other circumstances that are involved. I do know that the school my children attends prefers that visitation exchanges not take place at the school, but it is a private school so they have a bit more latitude in that area.

Davy

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RE: Article in paper about lunch visits
« Reply #3 on: Nov 26, 2007, 01:19:26 AM »

... I've noticed from my hometown (IL) newspaper that the school system ENCOURAGES frequent (they literally boast) lunch programs with fathers.  

... TX schools encourage parent participation but I'm not about aware of organized lunch periods because it is an automatic given.

I can almost guarantee that both schools systems are secured where nobody (even students) is just meanandering the hallways ... one does not have to be a Rhodes scholar to administer such a program.

IMHO the school system in question has a We - vs - Them mentality.

Parents have a greater responsibilty to protect their children from the school systems rather than the other way around.        

MixedBag

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« Reply #4 on: Nov 26, 2007, 07:54:37 AM »
and it was wonderful to get to know my son's classmates.  And since I did this many years, once when he was absent for the day, the kids begged me to still sit and eat lunch with them even though he wasn't there.  And yes, this was in 6th grade when it almost wasn't cool anymore.

I think it's a great idea.....of course.



jilly

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RE: Article in paper about lunch visits
« Reply #5 on: Nov 26, 2007, 12:40:38 PM »
I can't imagine a school not allowing a parent to eat lunch with their child(ren).  I have a 10 year old SD and a 5 year old DD (just started kindergarden).

Both of the schools they attend encourage parent involvement, including eating lunch with them.  At DD's school the only requirement is if you bring food from somewhere like Chic-fil-A or McDonald's that you put them in plain bags and put them in different wrappers.  Also, ANY visitor is required to go to the office first and sign in.  You also have to get a name tag and write where you're going.  Not a perfect system but there is a procedure in place.

janM

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RE: Article in paper about lunch visits
« Reply #6 on: Nov 26, 2007, 06:06:06 PM »
I don't know what my grandson's school's policy is in this matter, but they did have a camera installed outside the main entrance after an incident in the school district (another school). They see you on the monitor, and if they don't recongnise you they ask who you are, and are buzzed in. You have to walk past the office to get to the classrooms.

I think they would allow GS's mom (nc) to eat with him, if they knew ahead of time, but they have orders that she is not to take him without my son's permission.

 

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