Teachers eating the students’ breakfasts

My official blog consultant is my sister. She read the post I wrote earlier in the week and told me she cringed. Then she said, “You can’t say things like that. It’s not PC.”

I have removed the post. I’m sorry if some of you were offended by what I said in Tuesday’s post about the overweight coworker eating a school-provided breakfast every day.  At the risk of digging myself deeper into the hole…

Lots of teachers grab the occasional breakfast. At first, I didn’t even think about it. Many people were curious about the new program and the food. Why not try it with your class?

But now I’ve seen that one coworker eat more than 40 school-sponsored breakfasts…. not having paid a cent for them. Yeah, I admit it: I’m judging the person. That could be because I know a little more than the average teacher about school meal funding and how desperately the school district needs money for school food.

So maybe I am a little resentful of the coworker who thinks that’s ok to eat the kid’s breakfast and maybe that’s why I brought up that person’s weight. There is no way I would feel comfortable accepting free food from a school every single day. I do not live in poverty like some of my students. And the teachers at my school, including me, earn a good wage and can afford to supply their own meals.

Food for thought:

  • I have never seen a teacher or administrator pay for the breakfast (I paid for every single school lunch I ate).
  • Teachers and administrators don’t always make sure that all the kids have been served first (Adults cut in line).
  • Last time I checked the intent of the universal breakfast program was to feed less fortunate kids so that they can improve their focus and academic performance in school.
  • I can’t speak to how many breakfasts are tossed untouched so maybe there is an abundance of leftovers and waste.

I’m not perfect, but I stand by what I said. I’m done talking about this. If you are still angry at me, I invite you to find another blog to read. There are plenty blogs out there that are politically correct every day with authors who never make missteps.

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35 Responses to Teachers eating the students’ breakfasts

  1. Shereen June 10, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    I was not at all offended by the last post, just FYI. 🙂

  2. Jen June 10, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    What I find sad is that the overweight co-worker is most likely malnourished, as well as most other victims of the "obesity epidemic". Yes, malnourished.

    I didn't see one nutrient dense food in that picture of the school breakfast. Not even the milk, which is pasteurized and most likely low fat, with who knows what chemical additives to make it seem thicker and creamier. The Standard American Diet is filled with dead food and too many carbs, whole grains or not, despite what the government recommends. I recommend Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes for more information. It is NOT as simple as eat less, excercise more or calories in, calories out.

  3. Stepshep June 10, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    WHAT? The Mrs. steps out of line once and I MISS IT?! To the RSS feed!! 😉

  4. Kate M June 10, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I'll admit to being fat, and I wasn't the least bit offended by what you said. It wasn't PC, but it is what it is. Overweight or not, the program wasn't intended to feed staff and they shouldn't be eating at taxpayer expense.

  5. Mrs. Q June 10, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    Thanks to all of you.
    Jen — I agree completely. I've blogged about this before: http://fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/2010/04/framing-obesity.html

  6. JT June 10, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    If the school didn't want the teachers and/or administrators eating the breakfasts, then they'd tell them no and mean it.

    What bothered me about your post was the disdain you showed towards that overweight co-worker. No empathy, no compassion.

    As a morbidly obese person, I'll tell you flat out right now, your comment was one of the many reasons that I spent most of several years hiding inside an apartment, only going to a grocery store in the dead of night. I've been fat for the last 43 years and I'm 49 now. I have a lot of problems with my diet and it's only been in the last year or so that I've started eating better foods. It's not a huge change but it is a change. But it's not something that anyone will ever see, because most react the way you did and never ever get close enough to learn more about the person inside the fat.

    Your first year's worth of blogging was great. This last 6 months has been more and more preachy.

  7. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    I don't know about your state, but in CA, is is against the "Free and Reduced Lunch" rules for any staff member to take food for free. If you are going to eat the food, you need to pay. The students are also not allowed to take food home, it is not allowed to to be eaten away from the lunch area either. Leftovers are thrown away. It is against the rules for it to be given away to anyone or taken off school campus, parents are also to stay away from the breakfast area I know. Does your state have similar rules? This coworker is probably breaking them. Our food service gal is a real stickler. She could lose her job.

  8. Julie June 10, 2011 at 2:40 am #

    I can see where your comment might have offended people. But I saw it more as an observation than a slam against overweight people. Your observations might lead to changes in policy (the adults in our school district have to pay for their breakfasts and lunches.) Maybe they need a way to count better so they don't have so much waste to begin with?

  9. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Guess what Mrs. Q,
    I LOVED your post BECAUSE it wasn't PC, it was REAL. We all make judgments about people whether intentionally or unintentionally. It is not as if you verbalized your comments aloud and humiliated that coworker in front of others. It was simply an observation followed by a thought. I have a similar situation at my public school with a coworker.
    This person mis-uses breakfast (which they DO pay for) and time. I assure you, many NON-PC thoughts run threw my head when I see this occur.
    And for the record, I am an overweight person and at point was I offended by a single word in your post. This is America and people have the right to think what they want. You at least had the respect to keep it anonymous not say something unkind to the person (many people do not follow those simple guidelines).
    I say keep thinking, writing and sharing. How else do we evolve???

  10. Emmy June 10, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    Honestly, my only concern was for you when you finally decide to lift the cloak of mystery. I'm obese, but just barely after having lost 50+ lbs. If I got my panties in a bunch every time someone gave me a sidelong glance or whispered or something, I'd be a hermit like the commenter above. Get over it, people. Seriously. Like you've never looked at someone with tattoos and made a snap judgement. Or a smoker. Or a skinny blonde girl who barely wears clothing enough to cover herself. Guess what – we all do it. Every single day. So those people who were roasting Mrs. Q over the coals? Who's casting the first stone?

    May I say the commentary made for some riveting reading? 🙂

  11. Kim June 10, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    I really hate to admit that I have to ask this, but what do you mean by 'PC'?

  12. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    PC= Politically Correct :o)

  13. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 2:52 am #

    This is your blog. These are your opinions. And you are free to have each and every one of them.

    Can any one of us stop and take a look at ourselves and honestly say that we've never had a judgmental thought about someone? If you say that you never have, you're lying. Mrs. Q at least has the guts to come out and say it, on a public blog no less. I was honestly impressed by the brutal honesty of your post. There was no preaching involved, it was how you honestly felt about a specific situation, and your emotions were completely valid.

    Adults taking food before kids, whether poor or wealthy, is inappropriate. I work at an after school program and am currently in college to become a teacher myself, and everything that we've been taught is that the kids come first. These people cutting in line? The kids clearly aren't their priority. That is a fact regardless of their weight or status in the school. That would spark an animosity within me and many others that I know.

    I completely understand not having enough time for breakfast. Again, I'm a college student and I tend to roll out of bed and just go straight to class. However, I never in a million years would put my growling stomach before that of a child. If I saw someone doing that, I would be angry with them and it would probably lead me to think thoughts in line with you, Mrs. Q.

    I don't judge you at all for how you felt, and I admire your honesty. Don't let people shoving P.C. down your throat get you down. You're not alone with how you feel.

  14. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    I didn't see what the person's weight had to do with eating the breakfast. Would you have felt the same if they were thin? I doubt it and that is what the issue is. You made a lot of assumptions such as it might be their second breakfast of the day…. You do not know that at all. We all know what ass-u-me means, right?

    Same with the assumptions made as to how well off your fellow staff members are. You don't know everything that is going on in their life. As a single parent with a child who is autistic, I make a pretty decent living but a lot of my money went to the special diet my son needed, therapy, supplies and so on. Sometimes, I didn't have anything to pack for my lunch or the time to make it. I would grab one of the lunch programs meal after the kids were done and I would pay for it. However, no one saw when I paid for it as no one else was around. Again, you just don't know all the circumstances.

  15. Kim June 10, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Did you hear that huge bell that just went off? That was me realizing that
    PC stands for politically correct. Arghhhh!

  16. MaryinHouston June 10, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    Not taking a side, but would just like to add to the discussion what my school does. We are a large district and provide breakfast in the classroom for students. Although we have strict rules about cafeteria food, breakfast is more relaxed. I am a teacher and have been told by my administrator to take the breakfast often to 'set a good example' for the kids. The food isn't perfect, but there is a real piece of fruit offered everyday and all choices are low fat. Students can take the breakfast if they choose, but it is not required. Students can keep the breakfast to eat at another time if they want.

  17. Hannah Budde June 10, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    I've read this blog since the beginning, but I've never commented. This post, however, struck a nerve and I have to state my opinion!

    I teach at a charter school where 100% of students receive free lunch. Since we're a charter, we have an independent cook. Our cook and her one assistant prepare all breakfasts and lunches themselves in-house. It's quite impressive what efficiency and hard work can accomplish!

    While the meals aren't completely heavy, they serve bagels, french toast, and cereal for breakfast. Lunches always include fruit, salad, and veggies as sides.

    Sometimes, I eat lunches, and enjoy them! The meals are delicious. However, I only eat food that is headed toward the trash can. (Gross, maybe, but I'm OK with that). It blows my mind that teachers and adults would take advantage of the free-lunch program by taking extra food. But, is the problem institutional by serving meals that lead to waste? Or, is the problem with the teachers/admin eating the food? Perhaps it is both.

    Here's an idea: most mornings, students are served cereal, milk, silverware, and a side item. Some students choose to eat, and some do not. After breakfast, a student collects all of the uneaten food and returns it to the cafeteria. Then, the food is redistributed the next day. It's a perfect solution, and shows how charters are able to run on half the money per student as a public school. (Although I believe in IL it's 70%, but I'm not positive).

    Mrs. Q, I think your statements have implications that run deeper than surface level, which is why you have struck several nerves. But, that's OK. People need to be challenged.

    1) Is it OK for adults to eat such unhealthy food? Adults never like being told what to do… 2) Is it OK for adults to eat free lunch/breakfast?
    3) Is it OK for adults to eat food that would be wasted?

    Who knows. But thank you for stating your opinion, and keep it up. That's why you have a blog and you're not a journalist!

  18. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Just as Mrs. Q has the right to express her opinions, so do others. The comments are open in order for people to do just that: comment on what Mrs. Q has said in her post(s). Yes, this is Mrs. Q's blog, so it is her prerogative to respond to, moderate, or close the comments if she feels it necessary. That being said, Mrs. Q., I don't think you should delete posts simply because they generate a bit of controversy.

    If everyone simply spent all their time agreeing with each other and being "PC" and "nice" to one another, instead of expressing opinions and expanding the public discourse, we would not have achieved many of the intellectual pursuits that we have as people.

    Also, Mrs.Q : I've been reading your blog from the start, and while I don't always agree with what you have to say, I respect you and your right to express your opinions (because this is, after all, your blog). I think you have done some impressive things in your position as an educator, and I admire your passion for what you are doing. Please do not let controversy, or people who disagree with you, get to you too much 🙂

  19. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    I originally came to this blog because I care deeply about the quality of food that we are serving to our children in our schools. However, I did take issue with your post. Obviously you couldn't care less what my thoughts on it were as you have already stated that I can just take my readership elsewhere. So I guess I am leaving this comment for the eyes of my fellow blog readers.
    I had no problem with Mrs. Q. questioning whether or not it was okay for the teacher in question to be taking the free breakfasts. As funding is a huge issue in the battle for higher quality lunches (and breakfasts) it is worrisome to think that there are people who are taking advantage of the system and possibly taking food out of a hungry child's mouth at the worst, and taking money out of the already underfunded programs at best. Whether or not the person doing this is overweight is neither here nor there. Adding that fact into her argument did nothing to support the point she claims she was trying to make. And as we can all see, including it distracted the readers from the real meat of the post. Adding the additional information that this teacher eats a lot of food from McDonalds really didn’t help turn the conversation back to the politics of school lunch.
    It is one thing to make silent judgments within the confines of your own private thoughts, posting those thoughts in a public forum is another thing entirely. And like it or not, the internet is a public forum. This blog may currently be anonymous, but I highly doubt that will last forever. And once the identity of Mrs. Q. is publicly know there is at least a semi-decent chance that her co-worker will stumble across this blog. Deleting a post from the internet does not mean it is truly erased. The digital footprint exists far longer than most people realize.
    Even if that one person never comes across the post, it is quite obvious that many of the readers here have been offended, and that Mrs. Q. doesn’t’ seem to mind in the least. Yes, she has a right to her opinion, and yes I am not forced to continue to read this blog. However, I wish that she would have shown at least a little compassion and introspection in regards to her reader’s feelings. There is a world of difference between being overly PC and practicing basic manners.
    It is my hope that Mrs. Q. will read this and other responses and consider the impact of her words and the message she hopes to convey the next time she makes a post. It is my fear that she will just once again block additional commenting, delete the post entirely, and/or make empty threats about reporting her readers to their ISP.

  20. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    sorry you removed it. missed it. i don't read blogs for pc. if thats what i wanted i'd read the newspaper like other drones.

  21. Mrs. Q June 10, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    Anonymous at 10:42 — Was that long comment really necessary? I think you need to be a little more concise next time. You were flagged as spam.

  22. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    I had to go back to my RSS feed to find the original, since I'd skipped over it the first time. Too bad I didn't get to see all the comments that surely accompanied it, but I did like the original post. Your right to post it and your right to pull it back. The reason I skipped over it was that I find myself skimming the blog more, reading less intently. I'm really interested in what goes on in the school cafeteria but don't care what you pack for you or your son. I might be interested in what your husband eats for lunch if you can get him to log it.

  23. Wicked Delights June 10, 2011 at 5:57 am #

    I agree with one of the previous posters on would you have made such a big deal about it if the person was thin? Would you have assumed it was their second breakfast if they were thin? As a former 400 pound woman, I remember being afraid to eat where anyone could see me due to assumptions. Even today, now that I've lost well over 200 pounds, I still can't eat in public, and if I have people at my house, I don't eat then either, because I am too afraid of what people are going to say. Which is sad, because I find myself even refusing to eat around my friends. People you think would never say something do. Do you think this woman would ever expect to hear you say something in person about her like you did here?

  24. Beantown Prepster June 10, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    I haven't commented before but I thought I'd throw my two cents in. While I take your point about eating the breakfast that is supposed to be provided to the kids as being wrong (especially if not paying for it), I don't follow what your co-worker being overweight has to do with that. Or how exactly it follows that by her taking a breakfast each morning it means that she's already had one breakfast… simply because she's overweight.

    I think it was an inarticulate and frankly incoherent way to frame your point. I'm sure when you were buying a lunch from the school every day that no one thought it was your second lunch. However, perhaps maybe if you were overweight they would have.

    I don't disagree with your point about teachers taking breakfasts and not paying for them, but i think you were rude and a bit offensive about your assumptions about your co-worker. I also don't even think it was "not PC" to say that… I just think it was a stupid thing to say when it really had nothing to do with the point you were trying to make.

  25. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    woah… flagging anon 10:42 as "spam" after they poured their heart out into a long, thought-provoking post? Wow. Everything said and done, THAT left the worst taste in my mouth.

    • nope January 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

      I agree, she seems like a bitch.

  26. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    One of the reason why people read anonymous blogs is to get people's honest, non-PC, reactions to things. I say re-post the post, and let it stand.

  27. Char June 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Really? You marked a comment at spam because you didn't like what it said?

  28. Mrs. Q June 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    The system flagged it as spam. Blogger has an automatic spam detector.

  29. Mrs. Q June 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    I'm done talking about this. I feel bad about what I said, but I stand by it. They are my feelings. Let's move on for $**#&77 sakes! I'll probably reinstate the post next week. It was supposed to he a post about the kids' breakfasts. With all the tiny injustices my students face every day, the last thing they need are the adults eating the breakfasts.

  30. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I agree with everything in your food for thought list in this post. But being fat has no relation to being a jerk. All bodies are good bodies but all people aren't good people.

  31. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    It might not have been PC, but so what? We have an obesity problem in this country. Tiptoeing around it isn't going to help anyone. IMO, you didn't do anything wrong. You were simply being honest. I'm sorry you felt it necessary to pull that post. — Nancy

  32. Kellie October 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    I don’t find that offensive. I am an overweight teacher and I do sometimes eat school breakfast or lunch. However, even though we do not “hand over” money to the kitchen staff we are charged for everything we eat. We are allowed to charge the items purchased and pay for on payday. We do not recieve the last check of the year until all charges are paid in full. In addition, at our school the adults, be it parents or teachers, pay MORE money for the exact same lunch as the students. So I am wondering if that is not the case?

    I try to not eat the school lunches because they are so poor, but rest assured that when I forget my lunch and and eat it I do pay for it. 🙂

  33. stacy March 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    I didnt see the original post, but I agree with your observations. As a teacher, I have several coworkers who complain about their failed attempts to lose weight, while eating a school lunch. One assured me she eats less than a thousand calories each day…. Pretty sure the school lunch she was eating at the time has close to a thousand calories. Initially it seemed that our school system was a little better than neighboring districts. Schools tended to serve more real meat and less processed items, but budget cuts have made that a thing of the past. One of the highlights of the new menu is pizza served with fried green beans and TruMoo (sp?). No joke, they cover green beans in a really thick batter and fry them.
    On the other hand, whiile I dont really want someone monitoring and adjusting my son’s home lunch ( I do try to pack a healthy lunch with fresh and minimally processed foods) I do think that some oversight of home lunches may be necessary and even helpful. One of the students at my school regularly brings a lunch of two packs of pop tarts and two Little Debbie cakes. He may actually have a sandwich or some main entree, Im usually so overwhelmed at the sight of the poptarts and cakes to notice. I also love when students are left to pack their own lunches and bring Cheetos, Oreos, and a soda

  34. moja September 26, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the great work.

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