Target: Tom Barnett, Superintendent of Weaverville Elementary School
Goal: Allow elementary school children to share food and encourage important food-allergy dialogue
Recently, a 13-year-old boy was issued detention for compassionately sharing his lunch with a fellow classmate. Kyle Bradford, a student at Weaverville Elementary School in California, was not interested in eating his lunch so, instead of throwing the meal away, he gave it to a fellow classmate. Due to the school’s strict no-food-sharing policy, Bradford was reprimanded for his action. Bradford’s mother stands by her son’s decision to share his food, rightly believing that the policy is too strict and exceptions should be made on a case-by-case basis.
Bradford’s classmate was allegedly hungry after not receiving a substantial lunch. In an act of compassion, and in the spirit of not wasting food, Bradford gave his classmate his burrito. The Weaverville Elementary School administration issued Bradford a detention for violating its no-food-sharing policy. The policy was set in place due to student food allergies, for safety and liability reasons. While this reasoning makes sense to a degree, issuing an automatic detention rather than addressing the issue and outcome is uncalled for.
The student who received Bradford’s burrito was not given an adequate amount of food and is old enough to understand what he may be allergic to. The Weaverville Elementary School administration should emphasize the importance of compassion. Issuing detention for sharing is unjust. Instead, emphasis should be placed on ensuring the student can safely eat the food before sharing. Encouraging dialogue is important, as is sharing. Urge the school’s superintendent not to reprimand students for sharing, but instead teach them how to properly communicate and react compassionately to another student’s needs.
Dear Superintendent Barnett,
A student at Weaverville Elementary School, Kyle Bradford, recently served detention for sharing his school lunch with a classmate. Bradford’s classmate was allegedly still hungry after only consuming a cheese sandwich, so Bradford gave him a burrito that he did not want to eat. Due to Weaverville’s no-food-sharing policy, Bradford was reprimanded. I am writing to encourage a policy change within the school’s doctrine.
Instead of issuing a compassionate child detention for sharing food, I urge you to encourage dialogue and knowledge about food allergies. I understand that Weaverville is exercising caution to avoid liability lawsuits. Instead of reprimanding children, teach them to first confirm another child’s allergies before sharing food. Bradford was in the right when sharing his food that he was not going to eat. He showed compassion for a child with too-little food, as well as the desire to not waste food. Not to mention, encouraging dialogue will help children communicate important information outside of the school, where there is less supervision.
Punishment is not the answer in this situation — it encourages defiance rather than productive communication. Please approach this incident, if it happens again, with wisdom and constructive teaching.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ernesto Andrade via Wikipedia