Leeza Pearson, the mother of a four year old daughter in Colorado, was recently told by her daughter's school that if she didn't pack what the school wanted in her daughter's lunch they would not let her daughter eat it. They not only said it in words but in actions.
Last week Leeza was packing her daughter's lunch for school when she discovered she didn't have any fruit or vegetables to put in it as a healthy snack, as the school requests. Without much alternative at the time she stuck a small pack of Oreos in her daughter's lunch.
Pearson said she was shocked when her daughter came home later with the Oreos intact and a rather sternly worded note from school officials.
"Dear Parents, it is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch," the note read. "This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone's participation."
Pearson was more than surprised at the response from the school.
"I think it is definitely over the top, especially because they told her she can't eat what is in her lunch," Pearson said in an interview with ABC News. "They should have at least allowed to eat her food and contacted me to explain the policy and tell me not to pack them again."
The school, the Children's Academy in Aurora, declined to comment when contacted by news agencies. A spokesperson for the Aurora Public Schools system which provides funding for some students to attend the private pre-school, said that sending a note home with the child is not standard practice.
"From our end we want to inform parents but never want it to be anything punitive," said spokeswoman Patty Moon. She said the school was simply trying to promote healthy eating.
Pearson says that's a bit inconsistent since before this year's Easter holiday the kids were asked to bring Easter candy to share with the class and her daughter is often given jelly beans as a snack during aftercare.
Patty Moon said that Pearson's daughter was offered an alternative snack. But Pearson and her daughter say that is not true and that the child came home hungry, cookies and all.
A school making suggestions is one thing. Preventing a child from eating something given to her by her mother is something that would have me headed to the school. And they wouldn't have liked what I had to tell them.