Monday, September 22, 2014


By Katherine Harwood KRCR News  (Chico/Redding)

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POSTED: 6:45 PM Sep 17 2014 UPDATED: 11:53 PM Sep 17 2014 WEAVERVILLE, Calif.   ::  An eighth grade student from Weaverville Elementary School got a detention slip for sharing his school prepared lunch Tuesday.

Kyle Bradford, 13, shared his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria.

Bradford didn’t see any problem with sharing his food.

"It seemed like he couldn't get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn't really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage if I didn't eat it," said Bradford.

But the Trinity Alps Unified School District has regulations that prohibit students from sharing their meals.

The policies set by the district say that students can have allergies that another student may not be aware of.

Tom Barnett, the Superintendent of the Trinity Alps Unified School District says that hygiene issues also come into play when banning students from sharing meals.

"We have a policy that prohibits students from exchanging meals. Of course if students are concerned about other students not having enough to eat we would definitely want to consider that, but because of safety and liability we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals," said Barnett.

Bradford’s mother Sandy Bradford thinks that her son did the right thing by sharing his lunch. She also believes that it isn’t up to the school to discipline her son for good manners.

“By all means the school can teach them math and the arithmetic and physical education, but when it comes to morals and manners and compassion, I believe it needs to start at home with the parent,” Sandy said.

Bradford says that he would definitely share his lunch again if a friend wanted a portion of his meal.

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I suspect that this administivial overreaction is caused more by federal regulations about school meals and who gets 'em than the hygiene and allergy excuses offered. The fact that some petty martinet/bureaucrat with his/her triplicate detention order is enforcing U.S. Department of Agriculture regs on 8th graders in Weaverville like Javert pursuing Jean Valjean (…while using a preposition to end a sentence!) makes me wanna go all tea party libertarian …and I'm a big supporter of the Federal School Meals Program!

We need to feed children who are hungry.

Here's a story: The principal at an inner city elementary – 100% Title I/Wall-to-wall Free and Reduced Lunch - sees a small child - a first grader – furtively going from table to table in the lunch shelter. He's a big guy, he lowers himself to her eye level and quietly asks her what she's doing. She breaks into tears; she's six and she's busted. She is collecting the small plastic bags of baby carrots that are going uneaten for her younger siblings at home "because they don't have any”.

He cries when he tells this story to a group of educators at UCLA; I tear up as I write it.. But he also helped his little student gather carrots and made sure she had plenty to take home - even though it's against the law.

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