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School Stamps the Wrists of Kids Running Low on Lunch Money

Jenn is perhaps best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Breed ‘Em and Weep (2005-2012). She’s written for many magazines, newspapers and websites, including Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama, and The Boston Globe. Jenn’...

Mom is shocked by the action her kid's school took over a low lunch money balance

An elementary school in Arizona decided it would be a genius time-saving idea to stamp the wrists of kids whose lunch money accounts were running low.

Yes, you read that right. Tara Chavez's son, a second-grader, came home branded with "Lunch Money" inked on his inner wrist like a prison tattoo.

Her son told her his school still let him eat lunch (gee, thanks!), but insisted on stamping his arm instead of sending a note home.

More: School shames 11-year-old for wearing leggings

Chavez was quite understandably shocked by the school's move. "I asked if he was given a choice by the lunch lady and he said, 'No, she just grabbed my wrist and put the stamp on,'" Chavez said. "I was surprised. Normally I get a slip in his folder when he needs more money."

She posted a picture of her son's arm on Twitter — which went viral almost immediately. Chavez said, "He was humiliated, didn't even want me to take a picture of it."

Chavez then emailed the school principal at Desert Cove Elementary to discuss the matter. "[The staff member in the cafeteria] doesn't want the students to be embarrassed either so she is supposed to ask them if they want a stamp or a reminder slip," the principal allegedly responded. That seems like a pretty mild response to the public shaming of grade-schoolers, if you ask us.

Chavez said the principal assured her that she would talk to the staff about the branding of kids running low on lunch money. Still, Chavez is disturbed by the dehumanizing, demoralizing effect it had on her son.

"I think there's a better way to communicate the message than stamping a child with the words 'Lunch Money,'" she said. "There's a billion other ways you could do it that would be better than that."

We'd say probably a trillion ways. Desert Cove Elementary, what the hell were you thinking? Who signed off on that idea? Please tell us they're out of a job, with a wrist stamp reading "Unemployed."

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