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Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:38 PM

Connecticut schools ban lunchroom visits from parents, too many were eating lunch with kids

Connecticut schools ban lunchroom visits from parents
"So many parents had begun attending lunch that principals felt they were affecting the day-to-day running of the elementary schools," said Board of Ed Chairman Tara Ochman.

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DARIEN, Conn. — One mother shed tears when she read the superintendent's announcement. Another said it felt like a body blow.

After struggling with growing numbers of parents in school cafeterias, the Darien school system said parents and guardians would no longer be welcome to visit with their children during lunch at the town's elementary schools.

The decision has stirred strong emotions in Darien, a wealthy shoreline community that prides itself on its high-performing public schools. While some parents said it was time to stop a disruptive practice, others have protested at town meetings and in online forums that the change has deprived them of cherished time to check in on their children and model good social behavior.

"It feels like a punch in the gut," parent Jessica Xu, whose oldest child is in first grade, said in an interview. "I chose the town for the schools. I'm so frustrated the schools don't want me there."

Elementary schools generally set their own rules for parent visits, and policies vary widely. Some allow it on children's birthdays or other special occasions. In some areas districts say it's not an issue because parents do not or cannot visit because of work or other obligations.

In a Darien, a town of Colonial-style homes behind stone fences where the median household income exceeds $200,000, so many parents had begun attending lunch that principals felt they were affecting the day-to-day running of the elementary schools, according to Tara Ochman, chairman of the Darien Board of Education. On a typical day, Xu said, six or seven parents were in the cafeteria of her child's school.

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But others who spoke up at the meeting said the midday visits allowed them to see how their children were faring and to help them resolve friction with other children. For the youngest children, they could offer helping opening milk cartons and finding items in the lunchrooms.

Terry Steadman, a parent, told the board she was shocked and driven to tears by the news.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/connecticut-schools-ban-lunchroom-visits-parents-n941216

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Reply Connecticut schools ban lunchroom visits from parents, too many were eating lunch with kids (Original post)
Demovictory9 Nov 28 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Nov 28 #1
underpants Nov 28 #2
LBM20 Nov 28 #8
xmas74 Nov 28 #29
LBM20 Nov 29 #38
pnwmom Nov 29 #44
brush Nov 28 #3
NurseJackie Nov 28 #21
brush Nov 28 #24
MontanaMama Nov 28 #4
LisaM Nov 28 #5
exboyfil Nov 28 #6
LBM20 Nov 28 #7
pnwmom Nov 29 #45
GulfCoast66 Nov 28 #9
SammyWinstonJack Nov 28 #10
BigmanPigman Nov 28 #11
NewJeffCT Nov 28 #12
LisaM Nov 28 #13
NewJeffCT Nov 28 #14
LisaM Nov 28 #15
Blue_true Nov 28 #16
LisaM Nov 28 #17
NewJeffCT Nov 28 #28
uponit7771 Nov 28 #23
blueinredohio Nov 28 #18
lindysalsagal Nov 28 #19
kskiska Nov 28 #20
NickB79 Nov 28 #22
aikoaiko Nov 28 #25
Demovictory9 Nov 28 #32
Codeine Nov 28 #26
pnwmom Nov 28 #35
Codeine Nov 29 #47
RhodeIslandOne Nov 28 #27
Cousin Dupree Nov 28 #30
teenagebambam Nov 28 #31
pnwmom Nov 28 #34
Demovictory9 Nov 29 #37
pnwmom Nov 29 #40
pnwmom Nov 28 #33
RDANGELO Nov 28 #36
pnwmom Nov 29 #39
RDANGELO Nov 29 #41
pnwmom Nov 29 #42
RDANGELO Nov 29 #43
betsuni Nov 29 #46

Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:41 PM

1. Helicopter parents?

Last edited Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:11 PM - Edit history (1)

I don't think I ever saw a parent in a school lunchroom in my entire 12 years as a public school kid. Most kids then would die of embarrassment if their parents showed up to have lunch with them. Lunch period was for throwing food if you could get away with it and complaining about the mystery meat that got plopped on your tray.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:42 PM

2. I ate lunch with my daughter once in the 3rd grade

but I was there to give a presentation on my job

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:52 PM

8. That's right. Parents need to let their kids deal with the world. Enough of the silly helicoptering!

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:31 PM

29. When my daughter was younger her school encouraged us to dine with them

at least once a year. We were required to give advance notice of at least two hours. The idea was that we could eat the same meal, see the cleanliness of the cafeteria, how recess was run, etc.


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Response to xmas74 (Reply #29)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 03:12 AM

38. Once a year is one thing. DAILY is another. NOT GOOD. Kids need to face life without parents.

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Response to LBM20 (Reply #38)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 05:19 AM

44. Read the article. It talks about 6 or 7 parents in a lunchroom

on a given day, which means most people are doing it rarely.

It also mentions some Indian and Pakistani parents at another school who wanted to bring in warm food for their kids to eat. Since our food must look odd to them -- and many Indians are vegetarian -- it's hard for me to blame them for that.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:44 PM

3. Hmmmm, guess they had nothing better to do with their time?

Last edited Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:05 PM - Edit history (1)

Ladies who lunch version 2.0.

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Response to brush (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 09:49 PM

21. A book club? Garden club? Wine tasting? Volunteering?

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #21)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:03 PM

24. Yeah right? Wonder if their kids were as excited about the lunches as they were?

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:46 PM

4. It's a thing here in my community.

I went to school and had lunch with my kiddo quite often in elementary school. It’s not cool to eat lunch with kids in middle school so I banned myself.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:47 PM

5. Hoo boy. If my mother had tried to join me at a school lunch.....

I'd probably have ducked under the table.

But, speaking more seriously, this seems like an extremely disruptive practice. I worked in childcare for four years (infants to five-year olds). There was one dad who just loved to drop in and hang out with the kids. It really upset the routine. He insisted on coming for story time, which was after lunch and before naptime. Aside from the ridiculousness of having a 30-year old perched on the couch while I read things like "Goodnight Moon", he didn't seem to sense that we were trying to wind the kids down naturally to their nap, and would talk and wiggle, and generally get his daughter riled up instead of letting her drift into her naptime. Then she'd cry when he left, so it upset everybody.

I get that these kids are a little older, but speaking from my own experience, having parents interrupt or interfere with scheduled activities doesn't work.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:51 PM

6. I ate lunch with my kids on Good Friday since I had it off

It was once a year, and a few other parents did as well. It ended when they went to the Junior High. I was not welcome then.

I would say once every couple of months is not out of line. I think it ma be a state law that we can visit the classroom at anytime once cleared through the office. It is important to have access for accountability.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:51 PM

7. Good! Enough of this helicopter parenting. It is needless. Kids need to learn to deal with life!

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Response to LBM20 (Reply #7)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 05:21 AM

45. In kindergarten? In first grade? In my elementary school,

the large majority of kids walked home for lunch every day, and somehow we learned to deal with life.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:52 PM

9. Goodness! How are supposed to grow up?

The last thing kids need is their parents resolving their issues. They got to learn sometime.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 07:57 PM

10. WOW! Lunch, really?

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:00 PM

11. Thank god!

As an elementary school teacher you would not believe 99.9% of the stories I can tell you about overprotective parents and how they try to threaten the school admin if they do not get EVERYTHING that they DEMAND ASAP. It really is unbelievable.

The reasoning for the schools giving in to their ridiculous demands is $$$$$. Parents threaten to change schools and this takes money out of that school's budget....each kid is given a certain amount of money from the state on a daily basis sometimes. Believe me, we teachers applaud when parents like that DO go to another school. This type of person often has a history of this sort of attitude towards all schools (we have the paperwork).

The good parents do not behave this way and know it is not good for the kid and they are smart enough to realize it and act like a responsible parent who sets boundaries.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:01 PM

12. The median home value in Darien is almost $1.4 million

According to Zillow

They're known for excellent public schools, but it looks like some parents have too much time on their hands and this became a trendy thing for parents in town to do. I live in an upscale town in Connecticut and never heard of parents eating lunch with their kids unless it was a special occasion, and even with those special occasions, it's typically after lunch or after school not in the middle of the day.

Because it's so close to NYC, it's also been a popular town for celebrities and business execs to live as well.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:09 PM

13. The reaction of the parents is pretty telling, too....

really, crying, because your behavior has been identified as disruptive and (without singling anyone out, sounds like) the school politely crafted a policy to deal with it?

OTOH, I scoff, but this could also be a psychological side effect of incidents like Sandy Hook, and I suppose that parents of kids that age (and in Connecticut) might have some stresses I can't begin to imagine.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:12 PM

14. I asked on my town's Facebook page

and the only time it's really happened was at a Valentine's Day lunch for the parents.

Sandy Hook was 6 years ago, so kids in elementary school were still babies or toddlers at the time.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:19 PM

15. Right, so they're approximately the same age...

as the kids who were killed, and if I were a parent, I might worry about that in a visceral way. Not that I support parents going and eating lunch in school cafeterias, I think it's strange, but it might be a way of reassuring themselves that their kids are still alive, which OF COURSE should not be a thing. I'm just trying to dig a little deeper.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:28 PM

16. I can see your concept of Sandy Hook fear.

But, as we are seeing, mass shootings are happening anywhere lots of people conjugate at the same time.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #16)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 08:30 PM

17. Of course, I didn't mean to imply it was unique.

I also don't support the parents eating lunch with kids, but as I thought about it, I suppose it's always in the back of their minds, seeing that this is an elementary school in Connecticut. However, I don't think that's the parents proximate reason for going. LIke everything, there's lots of layers.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:16 PM

28. as I posted above

I had mentioned the article on Facebook on my town's page (also in Connecticut) and some responses said it was done for a special valentine's day lunch, but not really otherwise.

However, several others responded that it was very common in other places where they had moved from - Indiana, North Carolina, Arizona were the states I had remembered.

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Response to NewJeffCT (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:02 PM

23. +1, first thing I thought to myself is do these people have regular jobs

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 09:00 PM

18. Here they have one day a parent/grandparent/special person day.

It's only one day during the year and afterward you can go out for recess with them for a few minutes then you're told times up you gotta go.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 09:37 PM

19. CUT THE DAMN UMBILLICAL CORD, ALREADY.

GET> A> LIFE>

Schools have enough to deal with: They can't entertain parents, too.

If you're going to allow parents in schools routinely, you'll have to pony up lots more money for facilities and staff and programs.....

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 09:46 PM

20. My home town is right next to Darien.

I'm not there anymore, but Darien is very upscale, without the charm of Westport. The men commute to NYC and are gone all day. When I worked there I used to see the wives at the grocery store shopping in their tennis outfits. Maybe they've got nothing else to do but hover of their kids until it's time for them all to go to dinner at their country club.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:01 PM

22. I'm confused by some of your responses

My wife and I typically eat lunch with our 8 yr old daughter once every 2 months or so, usually when a school event like a fundraising marathon or play is going on in the afternoon and we both have the day off from work. So, not by any means a common thing, but not unheard of either.

We bring her a Happy Meal as a treat (not a common meal for her), and she and all her friends think it's the greatest thing ever to eat with adults and show off their school to us. It's also nice to see what kind of meals the school serves (way better than when I was a kid, which is a relief). After 20 min, we're on our way.

It's adorable seeing how many friends she has, how she's turned into such a social butterfly but also stays so kind and compassionate to her friends.

And no, we are not helicopter parents. She's been given more independence than most kids we know, and she's stronger for it by far.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:07 PM

25. It sounds like a good thing that started to happen too much.


I wonder if a moderation rule, like once a month, would have been a good compromise.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #25)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:50 PM

32. The same day of the month for ALL the parents. Otherwise, nothing would change

The principal doesn't want 6 or so present per day. He wants days with zero parents.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:10 PM

26. I don't get that brand of parenting at all.

Leave your damned kids alone at school. They need to be away from you.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #26)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 11:30 PM

35. Maybe they remember, as I do, walking home for lunch every day

during elementary school. This is how it was for most kids for generations.

I don't think children have changed much in the meantime -- just the world they're living in.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #35)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 08:15 AM

47. I see a significant difference

between kids walking home for a sandwich and mommy and daddy showing up and bringing home to school. There’s an issue of agency at work.

And I would also posit that very few parents with small children remember a time when they walked home for lunch. That hasn’t been common for a long time. DU trends pretty old, so our collective memory is skewed in this instance.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:15 PM

27. It should be an occasional event.

Either a special day set aside once a month OR a parent gets to visit at lunch once a month.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:45 PM

30. My God! This is a disaster for these poor parents. What can DU do to help them?? Some of them

may need psychiatric intervention after being told “no”.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 10:48 PM

31. I'm not THAT old, but

I used to walk three blocks home for lunch, then back for afternoon classes. Not every day, but often. Sometimes taking friends with me. From Kindergarten through senior year.

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Response to teenagebambam (Reply #31)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 11:28 PM

34. Me, too -- but every day. And it stopped when we moved to another town

for middle school.

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Response to teenagebambam (Reply #31)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 12:07 AM

37. kids aren't allowed to leave school during school day

in HS, we could go to nearby taco bell. Now, I don't know if even HS kids can leave during the day

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #37)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 03:27 AM

40. That's not the point. The point is that in many towns and cities,

most people in elementary school saw a parent or grandparent every day when they went home for lunch.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 11:27 PM

33. I ate lunch at home every day in elementary. I lived 2 blocks away

and most of us "walkers" walked home for lunch, and then back to school. (This was in a working class neighborhood -- nothing like Darian, CT.)

Families back then usually had a mother or grandparent at home -- but children haven't changed that much. So I can understand why younger elementary kids, especially, might like connecting with a parent at lunch time.


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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2018, 11:37 PM

36. These are the kids who grow up to be adults with no critical thinking skills

because thier parents solved all of thier problems. The future Kellyanne Conways

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Response to RDANGELO (Reply #36)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 03:25 AM

39. When I was in elementary school, the large majority

of kids walked home for lunch every day.

Seeing a parent or grandparent at lunch didn't hurt our critical thinking skills. That's a silly idea.

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #39)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 04:52 AM

41. What I am talking about is people who never really grow up because they are coddled.

That's what Kellyane Conway appears to be to me.

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Response to RDANGELO (Reply #41)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 04:58 AM

42. Why is having a mother or father visit them at lunch sometimes

being any more coddled than going home every day for lunch, like my friends and I all did?

If you read the article, they're talking about a handful of parents being present on a given day at one school; and at another, some immigrant parents wanting to bring their own warm food for their children to eat. (Indian and Pakistani.) Is that so terrible?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #42)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 05:13 AM

43. Ok, maybe you have a point.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2018, 05:21 AM

46. This is a Worlds Collide situation.

Home is parent world, school is kid/teacher world. They should not collide.

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