When the first time that he saw his kid’s arm with the mark, he did not think much about it. But it all changed when he asked his kid and found out what it was and how it got there. He started to see some red spots when he was figuring out what was going on. Asking himself, why would the school itself embarrass his son in such a cruel manner like that? He snapped a photo to show it to everyone. Whoever did that to his son will go to pay for what his child had to go through.
Considering Many Things
Before finally deciding to move her son to Desert Cove Elementary School, Tara Chavez did her homework in the school as their part in the Phoenix. It’s really very hard for her to decide because she has to consider many things before finally arriving at that decision. One more thing that was not an issue that she took lightly, giving attention to what matters. Her question is, would her young boy cope up with the people in that school? Let’s find out what will happen.
Their Son’s Well-Being
Among other things, the weighing factors that she has to consider are such affordability and class size. Of course, she also has to consider their budget first thing and foremost, which other parents to do. However, the deciding factor was the well-being of her son. He was such a sensitive boy; his classmates and teachers may not understand him. Due to that reason, she wanted to ensure that her son would be treated properly.
Tara is an ideal kind of mother who is very much supportive when it comes to her kid. She exerts an effort to go to school to attend several open days. She is always available whenever she has to participate in some school matters. Upon research about the school background, she felt that Desert Cove Elementary School was going to be a good choice for her son. She was excited, so she started gathering what the documents needed. She finished all the paperwork and enrolled in the young boy.
There Are Issues
But the thing is, she had no idea at all that it was going to be a decision that she would sorely regret in her life when everything was already said and done. Not at all! This mom didn’t even think that it would all lead to a controversy! But after sharing his emotion and speaking out about her predicament, other parents decided to stand their ground as well. Other parents also realize that she has a point, and everything must not be taken for granted.
It Seemed Okay
Upon observation, it seems like everything was going well upon evaluation after one full term at Desert Cove Elementary School. Cayden, her son, had been doing well at school, participating in their class as well as all the school activities. The young boy was really enjoying his studies as well as the company of his classmates. He is also complying with the requirements which his teacher tells him to do. Looking upon all those things, this made her husband convinced that the school was a good fit for him.
Best Place For Their Little One
When she evaluated some things, what’s in her mind and also how she felt it already gives a reason to do so. The ethos of the school resonated with the parents, so they felt confident that it was the best place for their little boy to be with and spent his entire school year there. On top of that, their son really adored his teachers. After all those things, however, they soon found out that their little boy had been facing a big problem out there.
Something Is Wrong
After another day at school, Tara, little Cayden’s mother, went to the school to fetch him. At the very moment that the little boy saw his mother, she noticed that there was something unusual, indeed she wanted to ask the little boy if there’s something wrong with him. But what exactly was it? She just keeps quiet and places her arms around him.
At that moment, what comes into her mind is that she assumed that her son was being bullied by his fellow students or maybe even one of his teachers. There are so many things that are playing into her mind that she wanted to give herself an answer and ask the reason why. Tara now started to get worried that perhaps her son was a victim of bullying. What did she have to do next? Did she have to ask his son about it? Or just leave it that way.
Just to stay balanced, despite that, she regained her composure and tried to improve his mood as much as she could. On that same day, she asked the young boy about his day in school. Just to get some idea, and that will also serve as an investigation and her awareness of what is going on with him. Like any other loving parent, this concerned mom was determined to get to the bottom of things, without the young boy’s knowledge that she wanted to discover something.
The Boy Just Kept Quiet
When she asked her son, Cayden only replied to her with a terse “fine” and just kept his eyes trained outside the car window. Gently, Tara pushed herself to ask the little boy if something happened with him in school. But sadly, he refused to give his mother anything more than another curt answer, and just kept quiet. It was very clear that he did not want to discuss whatever was bothering him at that very moment. He just wants to keep it himself.
Did Not Ask Further
So Tara thought it was best to remain that way and not ask him further. She just decided to let him have some space and think about it. But it would not stop there. Still, she is planning to talk about it more when they got home. While on their way home, it was then that she noticed a blue mark on his arm. And there she noticed something. Still, she asked the boy what happened to that. Some things are playing on her mind.
She Thought It Was A Dirt
She now can’t resist, what she did was she craned her neck and got a look at the thing on his arm. At a glance, she thought that it was only dirt, but you will take a closer look, it is not. However, a closer inspection made it clear that this is something to talk to. It is more than that upon looking at it closely. It was then a severe matter that she had to find out why. She will not stop until she finally discovers what really happened.
He Was Stamped
Tara noticed that there is something so unusual about his son. She knows it, and she can really feel it that she could just tell that the very reason why her son was so down and so disappointed because it had something to do with this mark. She just wanted to find out why and also wanted to understand the full story. Well, they do say that a mother’s instinct is always right!
She Worried For The Worst
Upon listening to the young boy’s story, the mother now had a lead on what had happened. But she decided to let the matter rest until they reached home. After all, she had to keep her eyes on the road until they arrived at their house. She has to keep the focus on driving, set aside first everything if she will lose her focus, something might happen to them. She must be composed and must also control her emotions. She plans to discuss it more detailed upon reaching home.
Angry As A Furious Bull
Even though she is controlling her emotion, and decided to let it go, for now, whereas she had been holding the wheel so tightly that her knuckles went white due to her so much anger. Thinking about everything is the reason why she really wants to explode. She keeps composure because she knew that she could not afford to show her son how angry she was. Well, you now know that the person behind this was going to be in big trouble. You do not want to mess with Tara!
A Family Meeting
They now finally got home. Upon entering their house, the young boy silently tried to head straight to his room. However, you know, as other mothers usually do, Tara made sure that he would not hide in his room without telling them the entire story. She really wants to talk about it once and for all and think about what to do next. She then finally decided to call her husband, brought out a chair, and asked their son to sit down. They held a family meeting.
It Was A Bruise
Mark, the head of the family, lifted his son’s sleeve to take a look at the thing that was on his arm. They initially thought that it was a bruise, but it was only an ink. What was going on, and why did he do that? Did the young boy just write on his arm without any intention? However, the concerned dad knew this could not be true after seeing the words on his skin. Again, there is something so unusual. They have to find out.
All In Capital Letters
There were two words written in the arms of Cayden’s son. The question is, why did the boy write that in bold ink read, it says “LUNCH MONEY” in thick blue letters! Why did he stamp it on his arm? Is there something that makes him do that? Who would do such a thing? Did somebody take his money for lunch? Especially for such a young child like him. As parents, they will let somebody do such a thing, of course, to their son. It was indeed, injustice.
The Lunch Lady
Cayden then told them that the lunch lady was the one who left it on his skin. They concluded that this lady seems like she wanted to publicly shame the poor boy in front of the whole school. While the boy was telling the story of what had happened, his parents got angrier the more they heard what their son had to say. They sympathize with their son, and they wanted to give justice to his experience. They will not allow that thing to happen to him because of other people who are not thinking about what the result may take effect on what she did.
Tara told them, “I asked if the lunch lady gave him a choice, and he said, ‘No, she just grabbed my wrist and put the stamp on,’” Tara tearfully explained when she was being interviewed. It saddened her at just the thought of her son being humiliated. They felt that Tara is really very disappointed and so sorry for his son, who has been a victim by the lunch day. Maybe we will feel the same way as Tara because we also don’t want our kids to be abused.
Even though Cayden was still able to pay for his food, they are really wondering why the lunch money in his account had been running low. What’s really going on, did somebody keep on using his account? After the angry mom checked it online, she felt even more infuriated when she saw that there were still 75 cents in there. Mark then snapped a photo of the stamp and uploaded it on the internet. She will use that as proof with regard to his son’s case.
They Embarrassed The Little Boy
There was a concerned mom who shared with her that “He was screaming and crying the entire time because he was being humiliated, he didn’t even want me to take a picture of it.” Of course, the most concerning issue here was how embarrassed the little boy felt about it. Whereas during that time, the boy was so helpless and didn’t even know what to do. How did such a person would be able to do that to a young, innocent boy like him? He can’t even depend on himself.
There was no doubt that it made him feel bad and did a number on his self-esteem. No one of us wants to be humiliated, especially when it comes to food. The school administration usually sent out a reminder through email to the parents of the child whenever the lunch money account was already running low. They will advise them that they have to fund their child’s account, and it is their responsibility to do so. However, did the school really mess up in this situation?
It Gone Viral
When all the proof has already been posted, It did not take long before that post made its rounds on the internet. We are now living in the digital age, after all. It is very much easy when it comes to publication, no question about it, and also when it comes to communication. Of course, it reaches so many people, with different comments and points of view. The story ended up getting hundreds of shares and comments. It really went out viral, perhaps to shout out the experience.
Due to social media that went out viral, a lot of parents extend their sympathy, saying that they stand behind the family. A lot of comments poured out in that said Tara’s reaction, where now has been totally justified. “Like you, can you send a note? ” one of her friends chimed in. It was really a great feeling knowing that a lot of people justified that what was happened to this young little boy was unjust.
Comments Kept Spreading
One of her friends also responded with, “Can you all couldn’t think for two seconds about the numerous references of branding someone as a stigma?” If you ask us, she really does have a good point. She has also been supported by many of her friends, and it was a tremendous feeling. You really want to tell them that you are so much grateful to be supported by them during these times of disappointment. Friends really are life’s priceless treasure.
He’s Not The Only One
So many people commented with different reactions. There’s such one reaction that says, “What kind of twisted person holds a child’s arm & applies a big, block-lettered stamp in black ink to their little arm?!!” There is also different netizen who added. “Several people who read the post believe that the stamp was simply “unacceptable.” Did the mother make the right decision to post it in social media as a way of releasing her emotion? Does this move add some point to solve the situation?
Too Much Notification
There is another parent who is not connected to the family, and the school responded with a furious message, which says, “If a kid’s parent doesn’t have any money to deposit to the child’s account … do they just keep stamping the child every day?” This comment will make the school think of some ways not to humiliate the student if he doesn’t have any money to buy food. They can give the student the food they wanted to eat and ask the parent to pay for it.
The School Answered
With the noise that they made and the shout out that has been posted, the school got alarmed with the situation. Let us find out and hear what the school had to say about this matter. Good that they care, and they are really concerned with the issue. Finally, Tara got an email not long after the post attracted a lot of attention. What did the school have to say to her about the issue? Maybe they already conducted a meeting to tackle that issue before giving their statement.
They Revoked The Accusations
Stacey Orest is the principal of Desert Cove Elementary School; she said that upon interviewing her, she said that she did not intend to humiliate the kid with “reminder stamps.” She told them what the lunch lady had narrated, and she then explained to Tara that the cafeteria staff said that she is only supposed to ask them if they want a stamp or just reminder slip.” There is no other intention behind it. It is just a simple question like that. She never thought it would become a big issue.
However, the email sent to Tara was not really satisfying, with the explanation at all that was provided by the school through the school principal. In fact, the other parents who tuned in to the story wanted to outlaw the “reminder” stamps completely. They tried to remove that because many say that it was not applicable anymore. Maybe te school must think of some practical ways which are appropriate by this time. There are a lot of ways to do so and to communicate.
The Official Announcement
The school district also put out an official statement with regards to the incident. The Paradise Valley Unified School District spokesperson Becky Kelbaugh said, “It was never the intention of Desert Cove Elementary School administration and staff to embarrass any student by using the stamp.” It was such only an unexpected incident that they are not aware that it would bring such kid like him into embarrassment. And they felt sorry for that. The school administration will try their best to put up another effective system to be implemented.
Not The First Time
She went on with her statement saying, In our school, “students were being given a choice between a letter or a reminder stamp. Going forward, Desert Cove Elementary School will send a letter to the parents, notifying them of low lunch balances.” They have a choice, and it’s up to them when they are going to add for the lunch balances. Meanwhile, parents are always being notified with regards to all the systems that the school has. The time that the parent enrolled their kid, they must already know it.
Phoenix New Times
Aside from this point of view and saying what kind of system the school has, she also informed the Phoenix New Times that the primary school is going to stop using “reminder stamps.” And many parents are happy to hear that they will not do this system anymore. However, the truth is that it was not the first and only time that such a thing happened. Back in the past, there are also situations like that which are not being given justice because they did not fight for it.
He Was Too Furious
There was also another that is very much similar to this, Jon Bivens is the father of a third-grade student who goes to Gardendale Elementary School. The same situation happened with his son not too long before this incident. The young boy came home with something similar on his arm. They are also wondering what that thing that is in there is. They don ‘t have any idea that it is also all about lunch money. Until such time they knew it. This how it goes,
This dad said that he did not think much of it at first, like what the mommy of the young boy did. “I thought it was a good job stamp,” he explained his initial nonchalance. Until such time that he takes a closer look at what was the word being stamped in the arms of his son. He changed his mind after seeing that it was a stamp of these words: “I need lunch money.” Jon felt was really surprised because he was usually being notified instead.
No Explanation For This
What they did was, Jon, together with his wife, then decided to give their little boy packed lunches every day for him not to get hungry without buying lunch from the school cafeteria but let him buy treats from the cafeteria now and then. It goes well with their son, but as time goes by, there was something that truly makes him got really, very angry. Did the cafeteria lady also do the same thing? Let’s find out if this is another story or still almost the same.
The story goes like this. It turns out that his son actually still had money left on his account by the end of the term. When he got stamped, there was still a balance of $1.38 in there. This was not acceptable. Do they are not updating the balances of the students? Or they just really got a mistake. They have checked it first carefully before telling the student that they don’t have the balance anymore. Or they are just merely careless when it comes to updating the accounts.
The Child Was Branded
The furious dad said that they herd these kids like cattle. According to him, what comes next is that his son was also “branded” by the school. Because he is not in favor of stamping a message on a child’s body instead of calling their parents to advise them about the lunch balance, well, for him, it’s really not okay,” It would have made the child get embarrassed because all the students are aware of the reason why you have that stamp. There may be some better way.
The daddy continued to share his feelings during an interview by saying, “It’s also another form of bullying and shaming the kids.” Do you agree that it is too harsh to implement a “branding” system in cafeterias? They would have kept it secret that making it known to all that the student cannot have his or her lunch because of the fund balance. It is so humiliating for them. Perhaps, most of the time, the parents are not aware because they are so much busy with their work.
Desert Cove Elementary School is a relatively affluent school. There is only 32% of the students there who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. So it’s easy to imagine that singling out students whose account balances are low could be a humiliating experience for them. Whereas, many students who became a victim of such a situation suffering from disappointment and also in such a way affect them also. Because of this experience, this matter has been reviewed and bring awareness to the school. The children’s side has been justified.
However, this is not an excuse for what we call “Lunch shaming.” It can possibly lead students to skip meals altogether. Of course, when you are hungry, you cannot think well, and you are not that effective. That, in turn, may hurt their academic performances and makes them more likely to repeat a grade or require mental health counseling. And also, it may affect their health. They may have acquired sickness due to not taking their lunch.
Later on, a statement was released by Desert Cove Elementary School saying that “It was really never the intention of the administration and staff to embarrass any student by using the stamp” They were deeply very sorry for what had happened and what it has caused them. “We the school administration will review this and will think of some better ways to improve this matter.” We are so sorry for the students and parents. Rest assured that your concern will be brought up and find ways to resolve it.
It’s Been Forever
Although it was already a system that they had been using for many years, they said that moving forward, the school would discontinue using the “stamping method” and from there on, they will just communicate with the parents in a better way, maybe by using email or a letter informing the parents and updating them on the lunch balance of their kid. So they may have prevented the same situation again from happening.