Oh Sheet

FullSizeRender

I wish my biggest issue with this cake could be the capital L in “CLuster.”

This year, I’ve been reassured multiple times by my son’s teachers, the principal, and the superintendent that I did not need to worry about continued use of junk food in school because the school would adhere to its own policy. (In a nutshell, this is the policy: the school can’t give kids junk food.)

Despite these reassurances, some teachers have continued to give kids pizza, doughnuts, Twix bars, Arnold Palmers, and potato chips.

Since so many teachers have remained unwilling to follow the policy, the principal added to Bubs’s 504 plan: if teachers are going to use food in class, they will notify student’s parents 24 hours in advance so parents can provide a gluten free alternative and adjust the student’s insulin dose. That means if a teacher is going to give the kids doughnuts (or whatever), she will let me know so I can…

a) buy a box GF doughnuts (or whatever) and deliver one to school

b) tell Bubs how much insulin to take before he eats it

or

c) tell Bubs there are going to be doughnuts (or whatever) in X class and ask him if he wants a GF doughnut or if he’d rather just have the money, which is $7. (The price for a box of GF doughnuts.)

When this accommodation was added to Bubs’s 504, all teachers were notified by the principal. One teacher, who is an excellent and beloved teacher and is also the Twix bars one, wrote to me to say she would let me know the day before any food would be given to the kids. She did not say unless it will be Twix bars or sheet cake.

Now we are in this twisted situation: Bubs’s 504 requires teachers to acknowledge they use food in class. Which means they acknowledge they are ignoring the school’s food policy. So instead of notifying us in advance about food, they instead pretend they just—whooops—gave the kids food again, but it was unplanned, so, you know, they couldn’t have been expected to notify us as per the 504.

FullSizeRenderI don’t like this, but I understand it. If you’ve been a teacher for decades and have always rewarded hard work with candy bars, it would be hard to just suddenly stop. (Especially if you think the school’s rule is dumb.) But a customized sheet cake—you don’t just stumble upon those in the back of a drawer.

FullSizeRenderWhen the teacher ordered the cake, she could have let a mother know. Instead I found out via Facebook, when a parent asked for volunteers to help cut and serve the cake. When I wrote to the teacher to say, “I saw on Facebook that there would be a sheet cake for the kids; would it be OK if I brought gluten free brownies?” She responded, “When X said she’d help me find volunteers, I knew you were friends, so I knew she would tell you about the cake…” that seemed kind of shifty. And shitty!

This whole thing is shitty. Regardless of whether or not it is OK to give kids junk food in school, and regardless of whether or not teachers are willing to follow their school’s own rules, I’m pretty sure intentionally ignoring a kid’s 504 is taking it to a the next level.

Anyway, people liked the brownies.

TGISummer.

FAQ

Why can’t your child just not have the food without spoiling the fun for everyone else?

That is one option, but it makes school a sad and isolating experience. Also, other people’s children’s ability to access free Twix bars during school hours is not compelling to me.

He’s going to be left out for his whole life, shouldn’t he learn to deal with that now?

Good point, but he’s getting plenty of experience being left out every time we go anywhere ever.

Do you really think teachers should be expected to follow school rules?

I’m not sure. Yes?

Is it really reasonable for a parent to anticipate that a 504 plan would be followed, when a teacher really, really wants to not acknowledge that she’s going to serve a sheet cake the size of a card table?

Remains to be seen.

What if she is really nice and is about to retire?

Pass.

What if it’s just, like, mini packets of chips she keeps in her supply closet to share on a whim?

I’d still want to know in advance.

What if it’s all gluten free?

Still need to know because insulin.

I am an education lawyer and think we can turn your situation into cash money. How shall we divvy it up?

You can keep it all. I just want to stop thinking about this.

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34 responses to “Oh Sheet

  1. Anonymous

    get me started! I’m already anticipating the supply of GF donuts I’m going to have to supply next year. I once saw Frequently Asked Questions as this: FA-Q.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh em gee! Seriously. A’s 5th grade teacher was like this, but thankfully her go-to treat was popcorn on a regular basis. When I found out I told her “okay, but only thismuch, because otherwise she needs insulin”. And we have in her 504 the same “she is allowed to have snacks, but parents must be notified in advance” Guess how many times I’ve been notified in advance? Exactly zero. Fortunately this year in 6th grade the only instance of food (junk or otherwise) being served in the classrooms was when science class did cell model project the whole class got to dig in and eat some of the edible projects after the project was over and graded. The nurse didn’t even know about that one and I only found out later because lows. When I asked A about the odd bolus at 1:27pm she said “We ate cell projects. I wasn’t sure how much it was so I just bolused some random amount.” Gee, thanks? I guess at least she bolused… since that is what I drill into her head constantly? And, I guess it’s okay that she didn’t go to the nurse to bolus like she’s supposed to because no one else is following the rules either and two negatives make a positive, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for understanding.

      Whenever I ask, “When the 504 is not followed, what happens?” I am told, “It’s a 504. They have to follow it.”

      “But what if they don’t?”

      “They have to. It is a federal law.”

      But they don’t. It’s just…honor system. No one cares, worries, minds as far as I can tell. What’s the point?

      Like

  3. Swiftyk

    Katy, you are far too understanding and too nice about this. Giving the kids snacks in violation of the department’s wellness policy. NO. Using junk/any food as reward? NOPE. Expecting another parent to notify you of cake because you are friends? HELL NO. Blatantly ignoring the 504 over and over and over again? FUCK NO. This needs to go scorched earth. If we gave a pass to every discriminatory, stupid thing they did in school just because they have always done it that way, we would still be educating only boys, and whacking them on the knuckles with a ruler. We need a moms march on Barrington. Just tell me where to be and when. Seriously.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for saying that, and for your support.

      Like

      • Swiftyk

        This is a much bigger issue than just Bubs. LOTS of kids have issues with food.That’s why we have a policy. Plus, they should not be so loosy goosy with the rules, period. If a teacher took it into her head that cats are cute, and why not bring cats into school any day I feel like it, never mind allergies and asthma and whatnot, then my kid would not be able to breathe. Repeatedly ignoring policy, even federal regulation, IS NOT OK.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Pam

    I’m sorry. You’re not alone. Nutrition policy rules are made to be broken, it seems.
    I do love your alternate cake decorating options 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sigh. This is just so shitty.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kay T.

    Even with beloved butter creme frosting, this is still super shitty. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • But Kay, sheet cake buttercream is THE WORST & this one looked like the Crisco-based kind. I do like the vegan chocolate sheet cake from Whole Foods. But I would not serve it at a school.

      Like

  7. OMGWTFBBQ. And UGH.
    I’m thankful that our school and teachers have been really good about food so far. That’s one redeeming quality, though cafeteria still sucks. (I am not bitter. Not bitter at all. Hrmph.)

    Like

  8. WTF TIMES A MILLION. I really just want all outside foods and treats to stop and not just because of T1 but because of gluten issues and food allergies. On the upside, the excessive parties and food in school seems to cease once you hit middle school.

    Also, you could raise so much hell because 504. (The ADA says so.)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s not like teachers are inexperienced at planning ahead. That’s one of the main requirements of the job. This is a big ol’, “I’m OK with excluding Bubs and possibly hurting his health so long as I’m not inconvenienced.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Larry Here

    We just completed an almost school-food-free First Grade here in Missoula, MT. Almost. But the teacher notified me every time, AND as far as I can remember there was nothing shittier than a popsicle, which I think is pretty un-shitty. I am thankful. That said, I love everyone’s comments here, I agree totally that the fucking 504 should be followed, period. AND I think food in the classroom is never a good idea, regardless of the whole diabetes/allergies/other unknown medical conditions thing. Just nutrition-wise, unless they are “serving” veggies and whole grains, rewarding/celebrating with food in class should be a thing of the past. So far so good, Missoula Public Schools. And sorry your scene is not totally copacetic back there…

    Addendum: Missoula County Public Schools head nurse has a T1 kid. That said, I have had some…interesting… conversations with her. Apparently YDMV is not necessarily a thing with her….

    Liked by 2 people

  11. OK I am sorry. I was part of that sheet (shit) cake brigade. I should have spoken up. It was unacceptable. Said teacher actually told me as an aside that night that she worked around the “no treats” rule by serving the cake “after hours” so it wouldn’t count. I am SO sorry. As someone who experienced diabetes (admittedly only for 5 months) it is a harrowing, upsetting and isolating disorder. No one should be adding stress on top of existing stress, whether or not it was meant well. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • You don’t need to apologize! Heck, I was part of it too. Who’d have the nerve to raise the issue after the nicest teacher in the world spent hundreds of her dollars on a giant cake?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Some places enact rules and procedures in order to maintain structure and order; other places make rules and procedures so they can brag “Look, we have a system in place to maintain structure and order!” I’m beginning to fear your school is of the latter.

    Then again, some teachers’ unions can be quite powerful, and though your principal means well, maybe he just doesn’t have an effective means of enforcement.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Katie Idler

    Blech ! Shitty indeed. Joey usually takes a treat and then brings it home to eat. But even then I felt bad that he was the only one not enjoying the moment. I can’t even imagine adding the celiac issues. Keep advocating and being awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I should add how much I love the edited cake pictures. Brilliant.

    Like

  15. I feel your pain. Well, not really. But I know what it’s like when people lie, and that’s what this is. Instead of saying “Hell, no, we won’t adhere to the rules”, they said “Yes, we’ll adhere to the rules” (which means they knew the rules existed) and they didn’t do what they said they would do.

    It’s a matter of trust. If you can’t trust them to adhere to something this simple, can you trust them to teach and grade correctly? Handle discipline correctly? I wonder. I’m also a “don’t trust anyone in a position of power” person, so feel free to take this with a grain of salt.

    Like

  16. skchrisman

    Arnold Palmer?! Are you effing kidding me?
    This post makes me so upset for you and other Barringtonites. I hope you learn more over the summer about how you can approach the school when it starts up again. If you don’t advocate for your child, who else will? Easy for me to say as I sit in a district that adhere’s to policy and 504 plans, but you’ve been dealing with this long enough. I think ZDubs advice is solid. Consult the ADA for guidance. There also have to be governmental guidelines on what to do when your school doesn’t comply.

    Like

  17. I feel like I need to qualify my statement because I don’t know what kind of language your readers expect (if kids are reading this, you should stop.)

    As someone who
    1. was left out of plenty of food choices in school
    2. brought food choices to school
    3. stopped my teacher degree because it’s not about the students

    FUCK THEM BECAUSE IF IT WAS PEANUTS THEY WOULDN’T IGNORE IT.

    Like

  18. Interesting comment above about the peanuts. I’ve been thinking about mentioning peanut allergies to up the ante when I’m training half ass summer camp (same people who do the before and after school care and give my son a gluten free cookie but let him ice it w icing flecked w globs of glutinous whatever from the other kids icing their gluten cupcakes, and WHY are they icing shit, it’s just ONE HOUR you had to watch him today, there was NOTHING else to do?). And another thing! It’s like this is explaining difference between T1D and T2D all over. No, gluten free is not a fad, gluten actually destroys the villi of his intestines with multifarious downstream effects….I am not just uppity. uppity wrong word. Raging pissed for constantly going up against this and for always hearing in the back of my head, little preschool sweetie saying to me, ” I hate holidays.” Sorry, whew! That got away from me. What I meant to say was 504 is overrated. Paper and real life do not match up. It is a person by person battle. Good luck with next year. I hope you end up with a sympathetic teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

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