Mum shamed by school for child's lunchbox snack with 'condescending' note

"Whoops!" Mum, Jessica Gianoni, was shamed for sending cake to school with her daughter.
"Whoops!" Mum, Jessica Gianoni, was shamed for sending cake to school with her daughter. Photo: Jessica Gianoni

It's happened again.

Earlier this month a South Australian mother-of-eight was shamed by her child's preschool for packing a piece of homemade chocolate slice in her little one's lunch box. The note the mother received went viral, prompting discussions on what is and isn't appropriate when it comes to policing parents and the choices they make for their kids.

Fast forward two weeks and it's happened yet again - this time to mum, Jessica Gianoni, who was reprimanded for packing a "sometimes" food in her four-year-old's lunch box.

Ms Gianoni told The Advertiser that when her daughter Isabel arrived home last week from Lonsdale Heights School, Adelaide, she said, "You're in trouble Mum." Isabel then showed her bewildered mum the note she'd been given by staff.

"WHOOPS!!" it read. 

"Sorry, cake is a sometimes food. Today your child was packed a 'sometimes' food in their lunch box that doesn't align with our Healthy Eating Policy."

The note goes on to inform Ms Gianoni that her daughter was given a "healthy alternative". And it didn't stop there. The mum was also informed that  should she require suggestions for healthy food alternatives in future, she should "feel to speak to the Kindy Staff."

Labelling the note "condescending" Ms Gianoni said, "​As a parent, I should be able to choose what my child should have." The mum also described that her daughter's lunch contained plenty of healthy food - a banana, a sandwich and rice crackers. "It wasn't like the cake was the only thing she had to eat."

Ms Gianoni took further aim at the way school staff had handled the matter, and the "condescending" tone of the letter.

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"Instead of putting the note in her lunch box, she (the teacher) could have spoken to me when I picked Isabel up," she said.

The note has reignited debate begun just weeks ago when author and advocate, Melinda Tankard Reist shared the below letter to Facebook, which her friend received from her child's preschool.

"My friend (mother of 8 healthy children, what follows relating to no. 7) received this today from her 3 year old's kindy," she wrote. "I told her to put in two slices tomorrow and tell them to get lost."

In an interview with 2UE, Ms Reist shared her concern that intense policing of children's diets sends alarming messages about food and shame. Criticising the "intrusive" style of the note, Ms Reist acknowledged that while healthy eating policies are important, lunch box shaming has the potential to send eating habits underground.

"I don't want to look like I don't support healthy eating," she said, "but I'm just wondering if this form of letting parents know is any good for the kids or the parents."

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