New Outrage! Kids in Cafeteria Must Ask Adults to Get Them Utensils

Readers, readers — I can’t stand how stupid our culture is some times! Like…right now! At this school! This story came in as a comment to the previous post. — L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: We just recently had a similar situation at my kids’ elementary school.  Last week, a first grader fell and hit his head in the cafeteria. The extent of the injury in not clear, but all reports are that the injury may have included some blood, but no serious injury requiring serious medical intervention.  The kid basically fell off his stool backwards and bumped his head.

So this week, a whole new array of rules in the cafeteria have been established, including that kids who need a fork, spoon, straw, etc. are now not permitted to get up and get one, but instead they are to raise their hand and ask the lunchroom monitors to get it for them. Kids are also no longer permitted to use the restroom during lunchtime.

I am sorry that a child bumped his head, but I do not see the sense in preventing kids from taking care of their own needs helps this.  There is not always an institutional solution to every little problem.  The kid fell not because someone got up and got a straw.  The kid fell because he is a little kid who sat a little goofy on his stool and lost his balance.

This is a perfect example of over-correcting for an unfortunate accident and in the meantime, creating worse problems for kids.  I think 4th graders should not expect an adult to take care of all their needs.  Talk about encouraging helplessness and entitlement!  Now the school would prefer my kid miss classtime to use the toilet instead of lunchtime? — A Reader

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88 Responses to New Outrage! Kids in Cafeteria Must Ask Adults to Get Them Utensils

  1. Anthony October 22, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    If something like this happens at Logan’s school, I will direct him to tell me about it and–upon my approval–actively defy that order knowing that I will raise (un)holy hell with anyone who tries to stop him.

    I teach my boy to be respectful and follow directions but there is also definitely a time for civil disobedience.

  2. Matt October 22, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    *4th* graders? Egads. Let us not forget the adage that when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When we set up our schools to be rules-based, every problem is going to be addressed by another set of noxious rules.

    I wonder in which grade these days they teach the kids the lesson that “stuff” just happens sometimes? Oh, right. They don’t.

  3. Jenny Islander October 22, 2011 at 2:59 am #

    I remember that I usually used the toilet at lunchtime because asking %Teacher for a hall pass during class meant interrupting the lesson, which got me a mean glare from whatever teacher it happened to be.

    This was before teaching to the test. Bubblemania was just setting in. I think my class was the first one that ever had to take the Iowa Standard or the Minnesota Multiphasic at my school. Imagine trying to get a pass to go pee now! I wonder how many shy kids are going to wet their pants at that school before somebody realizes what a stupid rule it is.

  4. Caitlin October 22, 2011 at 3:22 am #

    @Jenny – My kindergardener has already wet her pants because she has to ask to use the restroom that is IN the classroom. The only people to use it are the 20 kindergardeners in her class. She tells me she had her hand up “for a really, really long time” until she just couldn’t hold it anymore. Then, of course, they paid attention to her.

    She has also complained of her legs hurting when she has to sit cross-legged for long periods during story time. When I mentioned this to her teacher, she told me that the children are not allowed to uncross their legs because they might trip someone. It infuriates me that my child is made to feel uncomfortable and embarrased by following the rules.

    I have told her that if she has to go to the bathroom or if her legs are hurting, she has my permission to break the rules. But she is a shy kid who wants very much to please her teacher. I fear she’ll just suffer in silence.

  5. EricS October 22, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    Another example of paranoid adults running an institution that looks after kids. “We don’t want the lawsuit, so we are going to do everything in our power to prevent ANY type of possible incidents so that we don’t get sued by the parents. Yes it’s ridiculous. Yes it really has nothing to do with the safety of the kids. It’s all about OUR reputation and the school’s. Apologies for the inconvenience, and the simple fact that we are encouraging your children to be completely DEPENDENT on us, and do not encourage them to LEARN. But we are a paranoid bunch of teachers, who are only looking out for OUR OWN best interest.” – The School Principal

  6. Dolly October 22, 2011 at 3:24 am #

    Man I don’t get this lunch stuff. Back when I was in Elementary in the 80s we had this stupid traffic light on the wall. They would turn the lights to make us shut up or whatever and honestly I think it was just random. Green meant talk freely, yellow meant quiet down and red meant NO talking. Violators were punished. The stupid monitor at one point had us doing this thing where we had to put two fingers in the air. He would make us hold them there forever. How does one eat with one hand and one hand in the air? It was getting to where I could not eat. I told my mom and she was totally on my side, but was not able to make them change the policies. I sometimes think schools like to make arbitrary rules just to teach the kids that they are not as important as adults and instill forced respect and fear and to just obey blindly crap.

    My parents always told me to question authority if it needed questioning and to stand up to tyranny and that rules just for the sake of rules are stupid. I will teach my kids the same.

    My friend told me her daughter’s school no longer allows kids to throw stuff away so they are only allowed to bring reusable containers for lunch. What the heck!? I asked why and she said they used the environmental excuse but she kinda doubted that. I say it is up to the parent if they want to be environmental and secondly the reusable stuff is expensive sometimes and thirdly it means the parents will have to wash that stuff daily and that takes up energy, etc. So I just got irritated with it. No one bosses me as the parent around on arbitrary stuff like that.

  7. Dolly October 22, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Also some might call me a “Mean mom” but I have always had an attitude that if you get hurt doing something stupid that you had no business doing in the first place you get zero sympathy from me. My son has fallen off the bench on their little kid picnic table where they eat their meals in our kitchen several times. He was turning around backward or just being goofy. I don’t coddle him when it happens. I tell him “You should have been facing the right way and being still”. Ta da. Teach kids that actions have consequences. Same with other similar things. That kid was probably being goofy and fell. Well he probably won’t make the same mistake twice.

  8. Stormy October 22, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    THis isn’t really about this post, but it very much made me think of Free-Range Kids.

    Someone else may have already mentioned it, since it took a while for me to find the time to watch the video, but there is an excellent TED talk on the difference between the feeling of security, the social model of security, and the actual real world security.

    He brings up a lot of the cognitive tricks that happen in your mind to make you have unrealistic ideas of risk/security based on what you were raised to think, and what you hear.

    My favorite line: “I tell people, if it’s in the news, don’t worry about it. Because by definition, news is something that almost never happens. (Laughter) When something is so common, it’s no longer news — car crashes, domestic violence — those are the risks you worry about.”

    http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/10/09/bruce-schneier-on-the-security-mirage/

  9. Stephanie October 22, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    My school can be pretty restrictive on the rules at times, but not this strict. Fortunately, my son’s teacher is really nice about bathroom breaks, as my son is one of those who is really shy about asking for them. She’s given him permission to just get up and go to the bathroom, which is down the hall from the classroom. She knows he’s a trustworthy kid and that asking for things is really hard for him, so she just lets him go. He’s in first grade, so I’m really happy to see things going so well.

  10. kaleete October 22, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    @Dolly: Aren’t natural consequences great? ;) I am a HUGE fan of them!

  11. sonya October 22, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    @dolly, my kids’ preschool had that rule about no disposable stuff at lunch. The reason is that the school doesn’t want to have to get rid of all that trash. Really I don’t think it’s a problem for the parent – the kid can just bring all the trash home. I mostly used reusables, they cost a lot less than disposables over time, and you just put them in the dishwasher. Actually I get annoyed now when the public school will only allow disposable stuff if a pack lunch is needed e.g. for a field trip. Can’t even send in our usual water bottle; being forced to spend money on water really annoys me.

  12. johnpdeever (@johnpdeever) October 22, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    @stormy EXCELLENT point … thing is, schools have to react to events, not merely for lawsuits, but for levies. Here in rural Ohio we lost the last two levies and are fighting for a renewal this November (no new $$) and it may lose since people think teachers have life easy and schools are wasteful. We cut all highschool busing (means a lot in a rural district) and some art, music, and many administrators. I’ve seen fat districts and ours isn’t one. Even so, every parent has been in school, so every parent thinks he/she knows all about “what’s wrong with the schools.” Any wonder schools generally tend to overreact to student safety issues and parent complaints?

  13. Cindy October 22, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    I’m a former elementary teacher, and I had lunch duty 1 period a day (bc apparently elective teachers don’t have enough to do!). The kids were not only allowed not to get up for any reason including going back to the lunch line for silverware and restroom breaks, but they were also not allowed to TALK TO EACHOTHER! The assistant principal said they can’t talk because there would be too much bullying (what?!). We always let them talk a long as they weren’t loud enough for the principal or assistant principal to hear from their offices.

    Schools are forcing kids to sit all day quietly with no social interaction, no independence, and no chance to be kids. It’s a shame.

  14. socalledauthor October 22, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    @dolly: we have the traffic light, too, in the lunch room. Except, ours was most definitely based on noise level. I do recall that when it got painfully noisy in the lunchroom, it would go yellow, warning us to quiet down– if we didn’t, it went red and we’d have to have “silent” lunch, though you could still whisper and the lunch monitors weren’t nasty about it. I never really minded because I HATED how noisy the lunch room got.

    The problem seems to be that the schools are far too often ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater over FEAR of litigation or even a small band of nasty mothers (or fathers, but usually the former… those self-proclaimed “mama bears” that think the best way to care for their child is to make the world conform to their wishes.These folks could ACTUALLY make a real difference if they channeled their energy productively. Anyway…) In the college of ed, when I was getting trained as a teacher, we were regularly reminded that the biggest issue facing schools is lawsuits. So one kid gets hurt, and schools are afraid not just of that kid suing, but of another parent suing because the school “knew” it was a risk but did “nothing” to prevent it. As if all risks can or should be prevented.

  15. Erika Peterson October 22, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    Every once in a while, I think about sending my kids to school. Then I read crap like this. I would not be able to hold my tongue or be civil about this kind of thing.

  16. Christina October 22, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Ugh, this is why I send my kids to a Montessori school (and am wildly grateful I have this option, because not everyone does). Unless an event requires a trip to the emergency room, I hear about it when my kids get home.

  17. Cheryl W October 22, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    Sonya and Dolly, do the kids who eat school lunches have nothing to throw away? I got really annoyed when the school my daughter used to go to tried to get the kids who brought lunches to do that stuff. (And mostly we did, but I would rather pay for sandwich bags than new Tupperware when lids got lost.)

    I asked about what the kids who bought lunch could reuse or recycle. Answer: Nothing. EVERYTHING was thrown away,. the paper tray, the plastic forks, the milk carton, the plastic bags the fruit and uncooked vegis came in. And I think, the plastic over the top of each tray. And the totally yucky food.

    Yeah….lets talk environmental. When I was a kid, the only things we threw out besides yucky food was milk cartons and paper napkins. Everything was cooked on sight, and usually tasted half way decent. Some how, now 35 years later and we are more environmentally conscious, we have more waste than we did in the 70’s when they ran the ad with the Native American guy with the tear running down his face and recycling was just starting.

  18. pentamom October 22, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Anyone sense a pattern here?

    School doesn’t want to teach kids to behave appropriately when getting needed utensils in the cafeteria, or to teach them that small injuries that come from genuine mishaps are not the end of the world, so they stop letting kids walk across the cafeteria to get a fork.

    School does not want to teach kids to use the steps appropriately and deal with infractions, so they put up safety tape.

    Bus company does not want to take the responsibility of actually doing their job — to transport kids and their stuff — so it starts banning perfectly ordinary stuff that buses have transported with kids for well over half a century.

    Schools (possibly, per Dolly’s suggestion) do not want to take the responsibility of garbage disposal that comes with the territory in having kids eat at school, so they don’t let kids throw things away.

    I’m not bashing on schools in particular, those are just the examples close at hand. I think it’s a broader problem with society. All kinds of institutions are just bailing on things that *should be* part of their very reasons for existing or offering the services they choose to offer, because it might actually create work or responsibility for somebody.

  19. Decemberbaby October 22, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    @ Dolly – I’m with you. When one of my kids (3.5 and 15 months, BTW) does something they know they shouldn’t and get hurt, my usual line is “… and what did you just learn about doing that?” No sympathy here. I love natural consequences.

    @Pentamom – you’re absolutely right… and it’s much more labour intensive to teach people how to do the right thing than just to ban it altogether. Sad.

  20. Silver Fang October 22, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    That has got to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. I honestly thought schools couldn’t sink any lower than they have, but this shocks even me. The schools are raising and churning out a new generation of indolent idiots in the 21st century, who will know how to use a computer and a smartphone, but won’t know how to tie their shoes or walk across the room to get a fork.

  21. mo363 October 22, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I worked as a lunchroom monitor for 11 years. The students had to raise their hand and ask for utensils to keep them from wandering the lunchroom and visiting with everyone in sight instead of eating their lunch. Then we’d get parental complaints about “not enough time to eat”. They would also have to ask permission to use restroom so we’d know where they were if there was a fire or fire drill or if front office or parents came looking for them. Restroom was down the hall. As for the noise, the principal just closed the cafeteria doors. It was so loud, even some kids complained. Occasionally one would “fall” out of chair because they were goofing around. I quit the monitoring job when the parents started complaining because we weren’t “baby-ing” their babies. And these were 3rd-5th graders!

  22. Janet October 22, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I’m with you, Dolly. If my kids (8, 6, 4 and 2×2) do something stupid (espeically stuff I’ve already warned them about a minute beforehand) and injure themselves (by which I mean bump on the head, scrape on the arm etc), they just get “the look”. They know it means, “Well, if you’re going to do stupid stuff that I’ve just warned you not to do, then that’s what happens.”

    Doesn’t mean I withhold treatment or sympathy for a genuinely painful injury. The 4yo recently decided it was a good idea to clean her teeth while standing INSIDE the upturned step stool, facing away from the basin instead of towards it (sometimes I wonder what goes through the minds of 4yos, if anything), and she slipped, landed with her bum inside the stool, and had a massive graze and bruise all the way from left to right hip along her back. She got “the look” before she got the cuddle and the icepack.

    Schools are going completely OTT. My 4yo recently started a 2-hr a week kinderstart program where the kids who will be starting school in February (Australia) spend some time in the classroom, and share the playground at recess with the K-2 kids. Since my 8yo did the program 4 years ago, they’ve introduced a rule that the school kids are not allowed to mix with the kinderstart kids. So I’m kind of not seeing the point of kinderstart, if getting used to being at school involves being herded into a separate corner because the powers that be think that it is too “smothering” to have 7yo girls fighting over who gets to play with you! They’re just postponing that by a few months!

  23. socalledauthor October 22, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Personally, Silver Fang, I think it’s the parents who are raising indolent idiots. Then they force the schools to go along with the notion that children are incapable of anything (until 18, I guess?) I’ve never met a teacher yet that wanted to keep students from learning how to learn and care for themselves. I HAVE however, met many parents who insist that their children are incapable of normal, age-appropriate tasks (like picking up after themselves or completing their homework without a parent “guiding” them through each question– not too mention all the things we come across here on FRK) The schools then are often forced to give parents what they “want”… then blamed for the product.

    I actually had a parent want to know why I counted a high school student’s missing work against him. And not absent work, things he just plain didn’t turn it. I was being unfair to him, somehow. As a teacher, how is this kid’s entitled attitude MY fault?

  24. mo363 October 22, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    My teenage boys learned early on that they are responsible for not turning in schoolwork, etc. It is not the teachers responsibility. The only way they are going to learn to be responsible adults, is if my husband and I teach them to be. They are not entitled to anything! And if they make bad decisions, they will suffer the consequences. My job as a parent is to raise responsible, independent, productive and law-abiding citizens. Too many folks want to be friends with their kids and not the parent.

  25. View Point October 22, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    What school is this? What is the principal’s name? If the person is courageous enough to actually call for these kinds of silly changes, we should broadcast the names to the world. (Chuckle)

    In fact, I hope there’s a blog somewhere collecting school administrators names from actions like these for posterity.

  26. jen October 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m sorry but I think by grade four, which is about nine years old where I live, a child should be able to get up and get a utensil for themselves.

    What message are we sending to kids when we say standing up and getting a utensil is too difficult for you? I find it so hypocritical that parents want to blame every unpleasant experience that happens to their child on someone else so that their child’s fragile ego doesn’t get shattered and then in the same breath, tell their children that they are incapable of simple tasks such as walking or going to the bathroom by themselves. Such cognitive disonance is mind boggling and the self esteem they are fostering is completely superficial.

    In my elementary days if I had fallen the first thing my mom would have said was, “you were being careless. I’ve told you to sit properly.” If I didn’t have enough time to eat lunch because I went wandering around instead of going to get my untensil quickly, this had nothing to do with the school. See it was my responsibility to make sure I ate. If I didn’t eat my lunch because I was staring at the wall and was hungry all afternoon, that had nothing to do with the school. That was my choice. I got in trouble at home for wasting food.

    I totally understand that they’ve cut down the time alloted for lunch in schools today. Perhaps this is part of the problem. The kids are so bottled up that the prospect of being allowed to talk or move is overwhelming. Go back to the hour long lunches we had, then kids will have the time to get their utensils and eat.

    Finally, it takes literally TWO MINUTES of being with a toddler to realize that children learn through testing cause and effect. When they play they are constantly testing – building towers and knocking them down, bouncing a ball a certain way, running down a hill fast or making a sand castle – these actions are play but they are also the process through which kids learn to predict what will happen, develop judgement and learn to make successful choices. I fear that many children are growing up without the ability to form their own opinions, think critically and assess risks because they’ve never been deemed capable enough by those around them to handle these fundamental tasks; fundamental tasks that are integral to being alive. I mean even a snail gets to decide which leaf he’s going to slither towards.

    What’s the point of having stellar marks when you don’t even know how to sit on a chair properly because you were never given the chance to decided how to sit for yourself?

  27. Anthony Hernandez October 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Look at the upside. Those of us who are raising free-range kids can rest easy knowing that our kids will have a bumper crop of worker drones to cater to their every need.

  28. Azaera October 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    And people actually ask me why we’re homeschooling our kids…

  29. gap.runner October 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Rules like that would have been laughed out of my son’s German kindergarten (preschool). The kids at that school (ages 3 – 6) had to set the table for lunch. If a child didn’t have utensils, he was expected to go to the silverware drawer and get some. Yes, the teachers believed that a 3-year-old was capable of getting a spoon if he needed one. The most help the kids got was the teacher showing them where things were. When lunch was over, the kids had to scrape the food from their plates into the trash and then put their plates, cups, and utensils into the dishwasher. By the way, they drank from real (made from glass) glasses and had a lit candle on the table. If a child needed to use the bathroom during lunch, he told the teacher, went to the bathroom on his own, then came back to finish lunch. This was the procedure for the kids who bought lunch.

    The kids who brought their own lunches had to bring their food and drinks in reusable containers/bottles. Even the kids who brought a snack were not allowed to use disposables. If they did bring something in a disposable container, like a plastic bag, they had to bring the container home with them. The kindergarten teachers recommended a glass bottle that comes in a special cover for drinks. My son used aluminum bottles, as did about half the class. The others used the glass bottle.

    By the way, the kids were encouraged to talk to each other and socialize during lunch. When the weather was nice, the kids would often eat lunch or their snacks outside. They were still expected to clean up after themselves before playing.

    I thank my lucky stars that Germany is still very free range.

  30. gap.runner October 22, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I had something happen to my son that was a result of the “one kid got hurt, so we must avoid risk” scenario. A couple of Saturdays ago I was sitting at my desk at work (I work Tuesday through Saturday), when my son called to tell me that the gate guards wouldn’t let him or his friends go on base to play. He and his German friends like to play on base because the playgrounds there are better than the local ones. The boys can play basketball, American football, soccer, and baseball. Some of the American kids who live on base will often join the group and play. My son’s friends can practice their English and the American kids can practice their German. My son has a base ID card and has always brought his friends on post to play without any problems. The gate guards know him and have always let him in.

    But when my son called, he said that I needed to come and sign him in. I talked to the guard, who said that there was a new rule in place about kids coming on base to play. A parent or guardian has to sign them in and they must be supervised. The guard also advised me to call the military police, who told me the same thing. I went over and signed the boys in. The guard, who was German, looked the other way when I turned around to walk back to my office. He was actually very sympathetic when I said that I want the kids to take advantage of the sunny weather and get outdoors for fresh air and exercise. The guard knew that the boys were old enough to play without Mom watching them like a hawk. They ranged in age from 12 to 14.

    Why did this rule change come about? Evidently a kid brought some friends on base without his parents knowing about it and one of the kids ended up getting hurt (I don’t know the extent of the injury). Now every time my son wants to bring his friends on base to play, my husband or I have to call either the front gate or the military police office in advance to tell them that my son is coming with friends and has permission to be there. Instead of teaching kids to be responsible by telling their parents where they’re going to be (my son at age 12 is very good about that), they now require parental consent for kids to come on base by themselves.

  31. Scott Lazarowitz October 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    They will soon be having similar rules and procedures at McDonalds and all other restaurants, and not just for kids but for everyone. Anyone who gets up (until one is finished eating, and even in that case you must get the authorities’ permission) will be arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

    It’s off to the hoosegow for anyone who dares to be autonomous and independent!

  32. Nicole Krieger October 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    I’m going to say something controversial.

    We keep hearing about these crazy anecdotes, but how much of this is a real problem, and how much of it is like the 150 kids who get kidnapped…. shocking and sad, but hardly a pandemic?

    Are we also guilty of hyping up extreme stories and spreading fear?

  33. kherbert October 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    In my classroom if I’m giving instructions no one leaves because I’m not repeating myself a dozen times. Once we have started centers, independent work the students can go to the bathroom by putting their name on the whiteboard. When they get back they erase it. I had to make the rule that 1 boy and 1 girl could be out at a time because the kids were playing around with their friends. It was taking them 10 – 20 minutes to go to the bathroom.

    For water they can have a water bottle or during center time they can go into the hall of our “pod” to get water.

    I do restrict one child’s washing of her hands – because she is washing them raw. But she has other issues

    At lunch we have a couple of signals
    holding up your hand with the pointer and middle finger crossed – I need to go to the bathroom.

    holding up 3 fingers water

    Those get a nod from the teacher on duty and kids leave.
    Holding up a yogurt or condiment. Means I can’t open it. The teacher on duty and the other monitor have scissors and cut them open for the kids (mostly K – 2 kids).

    other request just hold up your hand. They don’t get ignored. Sometimes they get told no.

    My kids invented their own – they make a hand washing motion and point to their lunch kit. It means i had peanuts and need to wash my hands. (I’m peanut allergic and a student is peanut allergic so they need to wash their hands to keep our classroom peanut free)

  34. Nicole October 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm #

    AH, I think you are right about the worker drones. Resourcefulness is a dying art, and the kids who cultivate it will grow up to rule the world.

    The expectations for children have changed so dramatically it’s almost unbelievable. We don’t allow them to do anything for themselves anymore, and it shows! We’ve replaced authentic confidence with cocky entitlement. And yet we expect other things that are beyond them (like sitting still for six hours without recess) – ugh!

  35. Andy October 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

    Those lunch rules descriptions (hands signals, colored light signs, no talking rule, do not open your own yoghurt, …) sounds to me more like military exercise than a lunch.

  36. Dolly October 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    I agree with Andy. I feel like we are making kids follow rules too much if that makes sense. It is school, not the military.

    I do commend you having the kids wash their hands after they eat peanuts though. That is very important.

  37. Donna October 22, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    Actually, I believe that the signal is to hold up the yogurt if you CAN’T open it, not that you are not allowed to open it. My kindergarten daughter can’t always open items brought for lunch. This week she needed help opening a banana. I’d rather she have a signal to get someone’s attention than to go without eating because she can’t get in it.

    I don’t have a problem with hand signals – it gets the teacher’s attention over the chaos that is a school lunchroom of kid’s enjoying their lunchtime without having kids running around willy nilly adding to the natural chaos. I don’t have a problem with colored light signs – it is indoors where other kids are generally in class nearby so a limit on volume makes sense. The kids are in control of whether they get to talk or not.

    Schools today are generally much larger than they were when we were children (a separate issue). With cuts in education funding, there is not as many monitors for more children (a separate issue). Lunch, especially in elementary and middle schools, can’t be a free-for-all. Some rules to cut down on the chaos, to assure that the kids who want to eat have an opportunity to do so and to keep track of the kids need to be in place. Kherbert’s sound perfectly reasonable to me.

    No talking rules are ridiculous. Refusing to allow kids to use the restroom is ridiculous. Refusing to allow children to get utensils themselves is ridiculous – although the kids should be encouraged to get them when they go through the line to cut down on the number of children up and running around. All of this being a result of one kid falling off a chair is a gross overreaction. That said, I think sometimes some on this blog want to go too far into the no rules, anarchy range.

  38. Andy October 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    @Donna I misread yoghurt’s thing, sorry.

    We had no such rules and there was no chaos. If the group of kids was too noisy, the teacher on duty told them to calm down. If the group of kids finished eating and stayed there, the teacher told them to go somewhere else. We would then go to the hall to chat there.

    If a small kid needed something, it asked the teacher on duty. There was no elaborate system for these things, it just sort of worked through communication between kids and teachers.

  39. Donna October 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    Andy, and again your school was probably considerably smaller than today’s schools. My daughter’s school is the smallest in the school district (by a substantial amount due to building limitations because it’s a historic building). It still has 300 students, all of which need to be fed in about 2 hours. Some of these issues don’t manifest in my child’s school because of it’s small size but the elementary schools with 500+ kids have issues. What worked in my lunchroom in 1975 doesn’t work in 2011 with twice as many kids. I don’t think the move to larger schools is a positive, but until that changes, insisting that schools function as if it is still 1975 doesn’t make sense.

  40. Jason A. October 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Maybe they should eat lunch with helmets on? Can’t be too careful these days.

    JA

  41. Dolly October 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    See maybe it was because I was a kid but I never saw the light thing changing based on volume. It always sounded about the same volume to me. I think they just would change it to teach obeying more than an actual volume problem. Maybe I am wrong. Just think though that my middle school and high school never had a traffic light and they were able to contain the volume just fine. Heck middle schoolers and high schoolers can be more unruly than little kids sometimes.

    We did have some stupid rules in middle school about only 4 kids to a table and if you sat at a table next to your friends they would not allow you to turn your chair or even your head to talk to your friends at the other table. So I was always left out since I was the 5th wheel and while I was not cool enough to make the table they would have still let me be a part of the conversation and I would have been happy with that. But NO some stupid reason I was not allowed to even turn my head to listen to them. That kind of idiotic rules is what bugs me. Adults can handle turning their heads to listen to a conversation at another table, but apparently we don’t want kids to be like adults. We want them to be like robots.

    If there is a GOOD reason for a rule, then sure, I am all for it. No doubt. But the ones in charge should honestly share the reasoning behind the rule so others will know what it is and therefore be more likely to follow it. And rules just for the sake of rules are bullshit. I still think they try to teach indoctrination much like the military to just blindly follow rules to kids by arbitrary things and that is what bothers me.

  42. gap.runner October 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    @ Jason A, Don’t forget the knee pads, elbow pads, and back protectors. We can’t leave one bit of our children unprotected.

  43. Andy October 22, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    @Donna I have not been born yet at 1975 :) I started elementary school at 1987, it had approximately 800 students.

  44. Matt in GA October 22, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Oh, this post makes me nostalgic for my own free-range childhood! I remember lunchtime when I was in the first grade (1977): the lunch lady’s name was Mrs. Mason, and she stood behind a podium with a microphone through which she would bark, “Stop your talking!” when we got too loud. I always felt bad for her, as her microphone was entirely ineffectual vs. hundreds of elementary school kids spread out across the cafeteria. She was outnumbered.

    A year or two later they tried an innovative approach–they installed a juke box. (And, yeah, this was in a Catholic school!) I suppose the idea was that our voices wouldn’t be as loud if we were listening to music, especially music that we selected ourselves. As it turned out, we kids just talked OVER the music, making it an even more raucous environment. The juke box was gone the next year. Still, it was cool for the brief time we had it, and to this day every time I hear “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer I think of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and chocolate milk.

  45. Backroads October 23, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    I am disgusted by those of you who encourage protective gear. Don’t you know that protective gear put on too tightly can also hurt? And what if the protective gear makes Kid too hot? Just wrap them in bubblewrap and stick them in the corner. Safest way to go.

  46. Donna October 23, 2011 at 4:27 am #

    Andy, does it really matter if you ask to use the bathroom in words or hold up fingers as long as you actually get to use the bathroom? Just because it’s not the way you did it in school, doesn’t make it wrong. I see a lot of “it wasn’t done this way when I was a child, therefore it’s wrong” with no real basis as for why it is wrong on this blog.

    For sure some of the lunch rules people have listed are bizarre and obnoxious. But I can’t get upset over a light instead of yelling lunch monitors or fingers instead of verbally asking. Whatever gets the job done is fine. I also can’t fault a school for not wanting kids roaming the halls during lunch; other kids are still in class. I know there is nowhere in the halls at my kid’s school that they can go to chat where they won’t bother classes in session. Some other schools may ne designed differently to allow this.

  47. David October 23, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Just staple them to their seats and feed them through a tube.
    If your very, very careful nothing good, or bad, will ever happen to you.

  48. Uly October 23, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    For that matter, I think the reason so many schools now seem to do the “hand signal” thing (and I don’t know how many schools did that THEN, certainly!) is because it’s less disruptive to the class (during classtime, not lunchtime!) and it’s faster for the student.

    If the kid has to ask verbally, they have to wait for the monitor to see them and ask them their question.

    If they have a hand sign, they just have to wait for the monitor to see them.

  49. Uly October 23, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    And it’s important to remember that just because it’s not like how you grew up, that doesn’t mean it’s not like how other people grew up, even people the same age as you are.

    The US is a really big country, the English-speaking world is even bigger, and the whole world entire is outright huge. There’s a lot of variation in local customs.

    Take class parties. Every time an article or personal post comes up about schools limiting them in any way – limiting the types of treats that can come in, or how long they can be, or how many there can be (disallowing birthday parties, say) – half the board lights up with people who grew up with class birthday parties and who think this is all overboard and stupid and robbing children of their childhoods. And every time an article or personal post comes up about schools having lots and lots of parties, and goody bags at each one, the OTHER half the board lights up about how THEY never had parties in school, and kids are SO coddled, and isn’t it terrible to them to treat them like they can’t go one week without a treat?

    Same age range for both groups, it’s just that they went to different schools with different policies.

    We talk about recess in schools, well, the school I went to growing up didn’t have recess. My nieces don’t have what I would like regarding recess, but they already get a heck of a lot more of it than I did!

    We talk about playground design, but just as one area is making its playgrounds suffocatingly safe, another area is trying out brand new innovative playground design that’s creative and interesting. (And also, incidentally, not a total death-trap… but hopefully not so “safe” that kids play on it in unsafe ways, as they are wont to do.)

    I promise you, everything that you consider a terrifying sign of the times, somebody else here, your age or older, had that growing up. And if you consider it a hopeful sign of the times, same thing.

    So, with that said, I just know there were already schools doing hand signals for bathroom breaks (rather than the teacher asking “Any questions?” only to get “Can I go pee?” as the response) back when you were a kid.

  50. Christy Rachelle Ford October 23, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Everyone once in a while I come across another reason why, if I ever have kids, I will never send them to school if I can help it. Yeesh.

  51. Donna October 23, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Not really related but Uly mentioned birthday parties. My daughter turned 6 today. She chose to have a simple, traditional birthday party of a few kids at our house playing on the trampoline and making ice cream sundaes. No planned activities and the goodie bags consisted of what the kids could capture from the pinata they broke (so I guess that was an activity, but one involving young children and a bat and no freaked out parents). The kids had a blast. One mom thanked me for breaking free of the big, fancy kid party so common today and that she can’t afford. While change is good, sometimes the classics really are best.

  52. Heather P. October 23, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    As a teacher, I had a student with Crohn’s disease. I don’t know much about it besides when you need to go to the bathroom, you NEED to go and waiting a few minutes is not really an option.
    I think it was at a meeting with her parents (conferences?) where this first caught my attention, it may have been earlier. I said, “Well, I know I can be out of touch or not paying attention to a raised hand. How about when you need to go, you just flip your textbook over face down and go? That way I’ll know where you are. If it becomes a problem, we’ll reevaluate the system.” It never became a problem.
    If we have upper elementary students not permitted to get themselves a utensil in the cafeteria… I would think the lunch monitors would rebel. How many kids will they be fetching sporks for?

  53. David October 23, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    Like some others I feel many of these ‘outrages’ are extreme and atypical. Schools and other institutions to sometimes do stupid things and impose stupid rules but I suspect this is exceptional.

    I work as a science technician at a secondary school and I remember an incident we had a few years ago. A fourteen year old girl had to be taken to hospital aften sniffing chlorine water in a science practical. the father threatened to sue the school. Did the school ban the use of schorine water in practicals or ban science practicals altogether? No, they collected statements from the technicians, the class teacher and the other pupils, showing that all safety procedures had been followed and that the incident was a result of the girl deliberately disregarding instructions. It was then made clear to the father that he didn’t have a legal leg to stand on and that if he sued the school he would lose. He didn’t sue.

    Just as for every child abducted there are millions who aren’t that never make the news, so for every hysterical overreaction to an accident there are thousands of everyday minor (or not so minor) accidents where schools respond entirely appropriately

  54. Kenny M Felder October 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    I told this story to my son Jack. His suggestion was that, to keep the kids safe in the cafeteria, they could supply them all with wheelchairs. This would ensure that they can move around the cafeteria without any danger of falling down and bumping their heads. And the bonus is, if one of them *does* have an accident…hey, he’s already got a wheelchair!

  55. Beth October 23, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    David, I’m not sure we’re all hysterically overreacting. We’re commenting on an incident that is free-range related.

  56. Andy October 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    @Donna Mostly, I did not like suggestion that my school must have been small and lunch it is impossible without formal rules for water fetching. And that you have a choice in between that and total anarchy.

    I believe that it is a false choice. You may do it this way, but it is not necessary. I do not imply nor think that this one rule makes some difference in the long run.

    On the other hand, I believe that the more you replace normal-life-like rules (behave like you would in restaurant or at family lunch) with formal process applicable only in school, the more people grows up believing that formal process is necessary for everything.

  57. David October 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Beth,I wasn’t accusing people on this blog of hysterical overreaction, but the school in the OP.

    The point I’m making is that we can’t take one example of an absurd restriction and conclude from it that society is going to the dogs. Anymore than a single case of child abduction means parents should impose draconian restrictions on their childrens’ freedom to protect them.

    Discussing these ;outrages’ is all very well, but we must be careful not to assume they are indicative of a general trend in society. Such a conclusion requires more than anecdotal evidence.

  58. Cynthia October 23, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    I’m jumping down the comments here, but pentamom’s comment (8:45) got me thinking. A lot of this general (dare I say common sense?) knowledge about appropriate behavior, that kids seem to lack today, is probably a direct result of a lack of free social interaction with people. Kind of the way it’s hard to learn about customs in a foreign country in class, but easier when you go there and actually see them in action. Schools are shooting themselves in the foot.

  59. Donna October 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Andy, but your school DID have formal rules; it just had DIFFERENT formal rules. Maybe I am wrong and you did go to an elementary school where there were no rules in place, nobody cared where the students were at any given time, kids were moving in and out of the classroom/lunchroom on their own whim and yet it was not chaotic. However, that would be a highly unusual school and the only one on the planet that I’ve ever heard of. In my school, even way back in the good ole free range days of the 70’s, kids had to have permission (and a hall pass) to leave the classroom or lunchroom, loud talking and yelling was not acceptable and randomly roaming around the room discouraged. How you go about achieving these goals did not make their requirement less of a formal rule.

    That was my objection to what you were saying. The idea that somehow asking in one way is a militaristic rule but asking in another is not for no reason other than that was the way it was done when you were a kid. Personally, in a large environment (with fewer aides than they had a year ago, let alone 20+, at least in my state), hand signals and stop lights that can be acknowledged from across the room seem far more efficient than personally addressing each request at voice-closeness. I do think that requiring kids to ask to do things, like get utensils, in the same room is overkill. And refusing to allow them to do it at all is ridiculous.

    I guess I’m not free range enough to think that 5-10 year olds wandering at will around the school halls while teachers are trying to focus other very easily distracted young children on lesson plans is a good idea. It has nothing to do with child safety and everything to do with the childish inclination to make faces at your buddy in another classroom.

    And, honestly, even as an elementary school child, I found school lunch chaotic. My school was not more chaotic than any other but I’m an introvert who is not fond of large groups and loud gatherings (or people). So my definition of chaos may be very different than yours.

  60. Cheryl W October 24, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Kenny, visions of “Wally” come to mind!

  61. Uly October 24, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    *thinks*

    Cheryl, do you mean Wall-E?

  62. JenniferM October 24, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    Here is something fun….
    App lets you track your trick-or-treater
    Smartphone app allows parents to track their children as they trick or treat
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/kcpq-tracking-your-little-trick-or-treaters-20111021,0,6599725.story

    Web Reporter Q13 FOX News Online

    8:59 p.m. EDT, October 21, 2011

    Want to track your kids’ route around the neighborhood while they trick or treat this Halloween?

    A smartphone app called TrickorTracker allows parents to keep a close eye on a child’s whereabouts, just by following them on a smartphone screen.

    The application was designed by Iconosys, a California-based company that develops mobile and stationary telecommunications applications and technologies.

    Related
    Halloween celebration ideas Halloween celebration ideas
    Halloween at Wild Waves Halloween at Wild Waves
    Safety Alert: Halloween Safety Alert: Halloween
    Topics
    Halloween

    TrickorTracker can locate a trick-or-treater with the touch of a single button on the user’s smartphone and requires that it is installed on the parent’s and child’s smartphones.

    If the child is too young to use a smartphone, Iconosys’ website states “the child is probably too young to trick-or-treat without being accompanied by a parent or guardian in any event.”

    In addition to tracking the geographical location of the child, messages can be sent to the child’s phone using a special code that is picked up and responded to via pre-set coordinates.

    The child’s phone will have a special “Where Am I?” button and the parent’s phone will have a corresponding “Where’s My Kid?” button.
    Parents can program their phone to receive messages at regular intervals — or more often if necessary — revealing exactly where their child is on an hourly basis.

  63. Andy October 24, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    @Donna You are exaggerating. Maybe the expression ‘military exercise’ has much stronger meaning for you than for me. Maybe I offended you, if it is a case, sorry. Maybe I offended the school where you worked as I was trying to explain that relaxed lunch rules may work.

    One quick note aside: assumption that I do not like something just because it is different than my childhood is offensive. We are not discussion different lunch organizations anymore, we are suddenly discussing my conservativeness.

    I used my experience because I know how it worked so I do not have to make up things as the discussion go. If you do not mind, I will continue to do so.

    Back to previous discussion: You are still describing full blown anarchy with lunch room where nobody hears his own word and which is stressful for everybody except bullies. I never told it had no rules, but there was less of them and they have been less formalized. Lunch was relaxed. I do stand by that.

    Our school was no anarchy, but yes kids (including 6-10) could roam freely during breaks. You was supposed to be in the class at a time. You was supposed to leave lunch room after you finished eating (there was not enough place for everybody in it). You was not supposed to disturb others during class time.

  64. Uly October 24, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Andy, I don’t believe it is offensive at all. This is something that happens all the time, people compare what we’re talking about to what they’re used to, and move from there. It’s sorta what humans *do*.

  65. Cheryl W October 24, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Uly, yes….spelling was never my strong point! My elementary school did not “believe” in kids doing spelling. In my case, I really needed it as “Hukked on fonixs wurcd well 4 me.” (Spell check is my life saver, except when the words don’t show up….)

  66. FrancesfromCanada October 24, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    @Nicole Krieger: thank you. One of the excellent points Lenore makes is that if we are inundated with images of terrible things happening to our kids, then we believe terrible things WILL happen to our kids.

    I’m finding that as I read this blog, and the comments, I’m actually looking for limits placed on my child, and on me as a parent, based on others’ ideas of “safety”. But so far, that hasn’t happened. And many of the stories, frankly, either don’t ring true or are so limited in information that I figure there has to be another side. I’m considering myself fortunate that where I live, that other side is usually pretty reasonable.

    Are we raising awareness, or fear-mongering about fear-mongering? It’s a fine line.

  67. Uly October 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

    Well, Cheryl, you actually spelled Wally right. It’s just that the movie spelled it differently. God, English orthography is a pain.

  68. Selby October 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    @Jason A: I think we should ban eating in school entirely. Someone could choke.

  69. Seigmann October 24, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    This is ridiculous. In the school where I teach, if a kid falls off his or her chair, we check that they’re not bleeding or seeing double. If they’re not, we assume they’re doing OK and continue where we left off. If they’re hurt, we have them patched up before we continue.

    My opinion is that during their first ten years, kids probably WILL fall down, get bruises and cuts, maybe even break an arm or knock out a tooth. It’s not the end of the world. And it teaches them what not to do again. I’m not saying they should run rampant, but if they’re packed in cotton, they’ll never learn to be independent.

  70. Donna October 25, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Andy, you didn’t offend me in the least. You did, however, say that hand signals and lights were more like a military exercise. I personally don’t find it so. I find it a simple way of keeping track of large amounts of children. Are there other ways that work? Absolutely. Is there anything wrong with that way? No.

    I may be misinterpreting your posts but there was a certain amount of “that was not the way it was done in my school so it is wrong” or at least a substantial amount of “it’s not the only way to do it, as shown by my school, so it’s wrong.” I don’t know what that has to do with your “conservativeness.”

    I also don’t know where I describe a situation where “full blown anarchy with lunch room where nobody hears his own word and which is stressful for everybody except bullies.” I said that I personally found lunch chaotic but I readily admitted that I hate crowds and noise. I don’t assume that it was chaotic for most of the other kids. I never said a word about or implied anything about bullies reigning over lunch. I was not bullied nor did I know bullies so I’m not sure where you are getting bullies from anything I said at all.

    And I have never worked in a school so I’m not sure where you got that idea. I just have a problem with somehow holding up two fingers to go to the bathroom being a negative, formalized rule and “Ms. Young can I go to the restroom” is somehow not a formalized rule.

    The idea of kids leaving the lunch room after eating is great and may have worked in your school but it would not work in many others. My daughter’s school is too small to have kids wandering the halls at breaks, even if talking quietly to themselves. There is no way to do it without going past classrooms that are still in session and I would have found that distracting as a child. I was always more interested in what was happening outside the classroom than in and my daughter is equally as nosy.

  71. bmax October 25, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    I don’t mind my kids school sending home the kids leftovers – it tells me how much (or how little) lunch they ate that day. Then I can either give em heck for not eating enough or adjusting their lunch the next day. I think that’s the main reason school’s do this. I take it in stride

  72. Will October 25, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    By effectively banning utensils, the school will be forced to offer only finger friendly food. There will be more chicken strips (or nuggets), burgers, hot dogs, pizza, French fries, etc. The only vegetables that could be ever served are the raw veggies you see on party trays–carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery. Since recess, PE, and walking to school are also deemed too dangerous, I guess we will have to put up with more obesity

  73. David Albert October 25, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    Can you tell me WHERE this happened? I’d like to cite it, but I have also sometimes found that stories like this are made up, so I need a location (in case someone wants to check.

    Thanks.

  74. Andy October 25, 2011 at 4:13 am #

    @Donna Lets call it peace then? You read ‘must be the same way as in my childhood’ in my posts and I read ‘impossible to do without’ in your posts. We both said everything we had to say to the topic in the meantime. At least I would only repeat myself.

    By the way, I meant conservative as ‘disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.’. I do not live in English speaking country, the word is probably not used that way. English is a foreign language for me.

  75. Virginia October 25, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    My daughter’s elementary school had that same idiotic rule — that kids couldn’t get up from their tables once they sat down — but I don’t think it had anything to do with kids falling. They just didn’t want kids walking around the cafeteria because they might, I don’t know, make noise or talk to kids at another table or be somehow “disruptive.” They also had a rule that if the kids were too noisy at lunchtime, they had to sit at their tables for LONGER and miss part of their recess. And it was impossible not to be noisy in that cafeteria, which could have been designed as an echo chamber. Thanks for reminding me why I don’t miss having elementary-age kids!

  76. NZ mum October 25, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Way to lower the bar of independence! My four year old Autistic son has more independence than these older, seemingly neurotypical kids. He gets his own cutlery, opens his own lunchbox containers, puts away his own mess and can go to the bathroom when he needs to. Good Lord what is happening in your schools?! I hope they don’t bring that crazy here!

  77. Uly October 26, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    Andy, that makes sense. Unfortunately, in English, conservative is often applied to political and/or economic views. (What those views are change according to country, but it doesn’t always mean conservative!)

    Liberal and progressive also have those political meanings. Best to avoid them, and say something like “traditional” or “old-fashioned” instead of conservative.

  78. This girl loves to talk October 27, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    grateful I live in a warm climate and that most schools dont have cafeteria’s in australia (almost none) the kids sit outside to eat and are rarely told to be quiet, or silent, or hold their fingers in the air….

  79. Anne October 28, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    I just learned that in our local schools follow a strict “silent lunch” policy: children not allowed to talk during lunch time at all. Starting from Kindergarten on, those poor children are not allowed to talk at all (plus the canceled recess to cram more into their little heads). Violators will be and are punished. But the best part is the official explanation for these “silent lunches” – the teachers need to be able to hear if someone chokes.

    That’s just like prison and it’s the first time I considered homeschooling my children. I am so enraged just thinking about this unnatural and unhealthy setting – no talking (not even in the lines or when going to the bathroom), no socializing, no running around. It is so sad.

  80. CPS October 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I can hear it now: “Mom, can you get me a fork?” “Tasha, get your own fork; nobody’s going to always be around to get you your fork!” “…Actually, mom…”

  81. Uly October 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    *snickers*

    Hey, are those your actual initials, CPS? That’s gotta be awkward some places…!

    the best part is the official explanation for these “silent lunches” – the teachers need to be able to hear if someone chokes.

    Um, choking is silent. Duh? Do these people know nothing at all?

  82. sonya October 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    So here’s the latest school lunch utensils idiocy from my daughter’s elementary school. An email was sent to parents saying that kids who bring their own lunches had been bringing in utensils which are not allowed – i.e. metal forks, chopsticks (we have a large asian population in our area). Apparently “these can lead to injury., because children can poke each other with forks or play sword-fighting with chopsticks”. (the kids who eat school lunch are only given plastic sporks). I sent an email that these utensils are no more dangerous than pencils (which they have not yet banned in the classroom) and got the usual “it’s all about the safety of the children (and we don’t have enough staff to monitor closely in the lunchroom)”. I sent another email, pointing out the hypothetical risks to our children’s safety from many other non-banned parts of the school day (e.g. the drive to and fro). No reply yet. How do we stand up for ourselves against these pathetic school rules?

  83. Anne October 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    sonya, here they are not allowed to walk with a pencil in their hand, in case they trip and poke out an eye…..

  84. Uly October 29, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    So how do they get a pencil, toss it across the room?

  85. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    “That’s just like prison and it’s the first time I considered homeschooling my children. I am so enraged just thinking about this unnatural and unhealthy setting – no talking (not even in the lines or when going to the bathroom), no socializing, no running around. It is so sad.”

    And if you homeschool, some know-it-all will inform you you’re depriving your child of socialization. (snort)

  86. Uly October 31, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    I have never, ever understood that. Did these people go to this awesome school where the standard response to talking/whispering/goofing off was NOT “You’re not here to socialize, you’re here to learn”?

  87. Margaret December 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Of course children have to raise their hand before getting utensils, etc. Clearly nobody on this site has ever spent any time in a lunchroom or been responsible for the social and physical safety of large groups of children. The most dangerous (and disliked) children at school are the undisciplined, entitled, self-centered ones who have no idea how to follow the simplest of directions. There are many valid reasons for requiring children (who are part of a very large group) to obtain permission before getting up, but also remember this: They can (and should) get those utensils when they go through the lunch line in the first place. If they forget, they raise their hand. Health inspectors are happy, there’s a manageable number of children out of their seats for legitimate purposes, and waiting a minute or so is NO BIG DEAL. If simple, minor rules are too stifling for your children, don’t send them to public school. This thread would be laughable if it weren’t for the thought of the upcoming generation of spoiled, “I want it my way and I want it NOW” children many of you appear to be raising.

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