WIBU to make a complaint to the school?

(98 Posts)
ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 16:31:10

DS has been berated by pupils and a staff member for the 'fatty foods' in his lunchbox. Apparently the staff member did ask him just to have a word with me to make sure it was better tomorrow as she will be checking.

Now, I know the school has a healthy eating policy, it was mentioned to me when he started - however I have had several meetings with the school to discuss DS's complex medical needs AND his high fat diet which is necessary due to DS being medically malnourished. The Head personally assured me that his diet wouldn't be an issue for the school. Ever.

My child needs 3000 calories per day to maintain his abysmal weight. We squeeze in calories whenever we can - and he needs crisps & chocolates as part of his regime (yogurts just don't quite have the fat content we need!).

Thing is, the school know this - so shouldn't be monitoring his lunchbox at all. DS is quite bothered by the other children's attitudes towards his lunchbox, and their opinions of his diet - he doesn't want to be unhealthy. He is also concerned that he will be shouted at by the staff member tomorrow - or by other members of staff in the future.

I want to complain, however I just want the school to get it right. They made a cock up of something else last week (medical) and I know that another appearance at the school is going to make me 'that mother'. WIBU to complain about this, or just let it lie and hope that they remember why my boy is gorging on chocolate?

ApocalypseThen Wed 15-May-13 18:14:38

Definitely schedule an appointment to discuss this. But don't complain, whine, make threats or get angry. This happened once, and things can happen once. Save the cannons for if it happens again.

OhLori Wed 15-May-13 18:29:12

Agree with Apocolypse. Its probably an unusual medical condition (well, I've never heard of it) and probably the school have been remiss in educating their staff, which is what needs to happen. I doubt it was deliberate - they are probably just unaware that staff are commenting on this. I would just explain to headteacher and other relevant staff what is going on and how things need to change ...

P.S. I would have a complete discussion with the school on this issue and how to deal with it, especially if there are comments from other children which are upsetting your son too.

lljkk Wed 15-May-13 18:30:48

He doesn't really have sweets in his lunchbox, does he? They aren't even high in fat (or did you just mean chocolate?)

How strict are they for other sugary foods? Would chocolate really stand out that much?

It occurs to me to tape a copy of his dietary needs statement to inside of his lunchbox, and he can just show that to any MSAs who have queries.

lljkk Wed 15-May-13 18:33:58

Ah, Xpost, it wasn't MSA? That makes me feel better because our regular MSAs usually are pretty clued up about who has special diet needs.

Mini-statement in the lunchbox, for sure.

Sorry to read about your son's Life-limiting condition. sad

DorisIsWaiting Wed 15-May-13 18:55:10

Not giving him the meds is unforgivable!!!!

That's half the batt;le without the meds he will not absorb whatever he is eating (for the benefit of others on the thread rather than you reindeer!)

With dd2 we have a sign off book we tell them what meds she needs for her lunch ( with columns) and they sign to say it has been given... but she is only year 1 so I do not expect her to be able to self manage yet.

We are very fortunate in that when dh fogot to put the right no. of meds in (sleep deprived!) they are sufficiently on the ball to phone me up and let me know so I can deliver them to the school

This is now major rethink territory.

piprabbit Wed 15-May-13 19:16:03

So in the last week the school has had issues dealing with:
1) his intravenous access devices
2) his dietary requirments
3) his medication

Not good. They need to pull their socks up.

dayshiftdoris Wed 15-May-13 19:44:35

Reindeer

I would start what Doris has re: meds as that is really good idea...

My son's school maintain a communication book with me every day and the issues are behavioural and not as important as this so you wouldnt be asking for something unusual.

Is it worth another meeting arranging with the medics given the recent issue as a re-fresh - use the transition to next school year as an 'excuse' perhaps?

Hope you get it resolved

LaGuardia Wed 15-May-13 20:40:03

Lard sandwiches could work.

Heebiejeebie Wed 15-May-13 20:57:59

LaGuardia - really? Really, that's what you needed to say in response to this thread?

ReindeerBollocks Wed 15-May-13 20:58:28

Just want to clarify a couple of things. His diet is necessary. Chocolate is necessary. We do have high fat milkshakes (nutricia) of which he has about four to six a day. He also has about 500 cals in a bolus and 750 in his overnight feed. I know there are lots of high fat alternatives but he also needs the salt due to his condition. It's not rare it's the largest genetic condition in the country. We have been advised to give chocolates and crisps, but that is alongside his food - a wrap drenched in mayo, with double layers of ham, some cheese and a bit of lettuce (the lettuce is wasted as he gets no nutritional value from this whatsoever). In fact he gets no nutritional value from fruit or veg, they are worse than sweets as they offer no empty calories!

Anyway, as Doris and Piprabbit pointed out, DS has admitted earlier that his meds aren't being given. He is at self management stage but he is currently going through a denial phase, and is in the process of pyschological treatment due to struggling with his condition. So he isn't actively reminding them either thanks DS!. This combined with the other two events mean I'm going to have to call a meeting with the school.

They have been great but this is all new territory for them. They have called meeting and put procedures in place but these have failed, it's not a bad thing, as they aren't used to dealing with it, but it will need to be sorted and I hoping that a chat with them will sort it out. Thank you for all the advice (especially the suggestions of lard sandwiches wink ).

fhutts Wed 15-May-13 21:03:23

Reindeerbollocks how annoying to have to explain yourself again and especially if you little one is a little sensitive. Defo speak to school.I am loving the username tho. Why didn't I think of that! envy

MuddlingMackem Wed 15-May-13 21:13:15

LaGuardia

When you said lard did you mean dripping? My dad tried to get DB and me to like dripping as much as him but I'm afraid we both found it absolutely disgusting. grin

zoobaby Wed 15-May-13 21:17:53

Someone mentioned a laminated card for his lunchbox. I'd also suggest that you approach the school about making an A4 page with pic of DS and a short explanation stating the name of his medical condition and its main implications. This is laminated and put in the staff room. On the fridge, beside the kettle, on the back of the door. Wherever they'll see it everyday. I'd also suggest some method of recording when he's received his medication. A book, a new page each week. Whatever is best for all involved. There should also be a named person who performs this duty and a designated time when DS will go see them. Hope you can get it sorted!

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Wed 15-May-13 23:10:24

"So in the last week the school has had issues dealing with:
1) his intravenous access devices
2) his dietary requirments
3) his medication

Not good. They need to pull their socks up."

^ this ^ as piprabbit said.

One is excusable... But all three? I think they need a reminder of their responsibilities, and the consequences of not following their processes

BlackeyedSusan Wed 15-May-13 23:28:32

yanbu. hope you get it sorted. life is tough enough as it is without hving to deal with the incompetant. angry

I am now remembering dripping sandwiches though... (pure fat and salt) <shows age>

Going back to a point made earlier (that it was difficult for staff to know who had different lunch needs) - dd has a medical condition which causes issues (not food related), but in her school of 2500 pupils, even the staff who don't teach her, know about her, and although may not be a me to pick her out in a line up, if they saw her ill, they'd know who she was, what it was, and what to do.

So no reason why in a medium sized junior school, a DC with particular "special allowances" shouldn't be recognised either by name, or right, or by "oh yes, let me just check that"

deleted203 Wed 15-May-13 23:32:04

This is something that drives me mad, anyway! Agree pretty much with Eldritchs post, particularly as far as nursery/primary goes.

Is there any point in making disapproving sniffs to a child whose parents have shoved unhealthy crap in their lunchbox? Why have a go at a kid about what his mother has packed for him? What, exactly, do they think he can do about it?

I'm not suggesting for a moment that this is you, OP (and I understand about your son's dietary needs) - but could staff not understand that there are kids in their school who have mothers who might actually be fairly disinterested in the school's healthy eating policy? Who can't afford/be bothered to provide raw veg batons and hummus? I've taught plenty of kids whose mothers felt that shoving a Lidl sausage roll, a packet of crisps and a Mars bar into their lunchbox was adequate. And I could never understand why staff felt that telling the child off and announcing they would be 'checking tomorrow that it was better' was in any way helpful or kind.

A lot of these kids, if they'd dared mention it at home, would have been told 'Tell the posh cow to fuck off then - you'll get what's in the cupboard'. It only served to make the child feel that other people were looking down on them - it certainly never improved their standard of living.

ShadowStorm Wed 15-May-13 23:45:37

Agree that you need to go and speak to the school - strongly reminding them about your DS's condition, and the need for his special diet, at the least.

The idea about making a laminated card for his lunchbox sounds good as well.

sashh Thu 16-May-13 03:24:49

he got every upset a couple of years ago when they had a healthy mind and body week at school - I just had to keep reminding him that this doesn't apply to him.

Off topic but that's a crap 'healthy mind and body' week, in a week you should be able to cover some of the more common reasons for different diets whether you are an Olympic athlete, diabetic, taking medication that needs certain foods, or means you have to avoid certain foods.

Agree with the laminate card.

I would also like to see the 'healthy eating' policy and asking what 'reasonable adjustments' are made for children with SN that include food/diet, that must be included.

Maybe suggest the liaise with the dietetic department at which ever hospital your son attends. You know those people who spend years training and being licenced to work for the NHS.

ComposHat Thu 16-May-13 04:31:47

YANBU in this specific circumstance

Even if this wasn't the case, why is it the school's business what you chose to feed your child in thepacked lunch you have made and paid for ? (on the proviso it isn't a bottle of buckfast and 20 Rothmans)

MidniteScribbler Thu 16-May-13 04:31:58

I don't think it's necessarily unreasonable for a previous poster to ask if there were healthier options for his diet. I wouldn't automatically assume if someone said to me 'high calorie diet' that they meant chips and chocolate and I thought the same thing early in the thread until the OP explained. Once explained, then it's fair enough, but biting off the head of someone who is genuinely trying to understand is hardly taking a page out of Dale Carnegie.

MrRected Thu 16-May-13 05:17:04

O M G a report card on a childs' lunchbox... do these teachers not have some teaching to do???

The world is going mad. There is no value in scorekeeping and belittling children who don't comply - at the end of the day, they are not responsible for packing their lunches (well at least not until they are >10 years old).

OP - the laminated card idea is a great one. I'd be bollocking the head to kingdom come

sleepywombat Thu 16-May-13 06:12:13

I hate all this lunchbox police & fat demonisation. Children, even those without medical issues, need fat! I know as a child I would have been quite faint after a busy day at school just eating flippin crudités and fruit.

Fortunately there is no monitoring of lunchboxes here in Australia, but of course that does mean we get the opposite (e.g. children just bringing 2 chocolate bars for their lunch).

My dcs have multiple allergies & thus are on high fat (to get in calories) diets too & have been desperately trying to think of what I'll do for lunchboxes. Egg mayonaisey type things would be good, but of course one of mine is allergic to eggs! Avocados, meat stews in thermoses with lots of fat - we like lard!!! I will definitely give them some sort of cake though ...

Good luck OP, definitely talk to the school.

Jengnr Thu 16-May-13 06:29:29

The whole monitoring dinners really gets on my tots. I'm dreading my son going to school because this will a) really fuck me off and b) my natural contrary side will want to put 'banned' items in.

Banned items, at fucking primary school. WTF???

SoupDragon Thu 16-May-13 11:03:10

Not all schools monitor lunchboxes.

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