FAMILY & PARENTING

Parents Are Outraged After School District Bans Them From Coming In To Eat Lunch With Their Kids

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a Brooklyn, NY-based editor and writer, with a focus on lifestyle and entertainment content. She has bylines on MSN, HelloGiggles, Business Insider, Romper, Redbook Magazine, and more. In her free time, she enjoys watching (and talking!) about television and fostering dogs through a local rescue.

The Darien, Connecticut, school system recently announced that parents and guardians are no longer welcome to visit with their kids during lunch hour at the town’s elementary schools, and local moms are not thrilled — to put it mildly.

According to Fox13, the Darien Public Schools district sent a notice to parents in late November saying that parent visits during lunch are now off limits. Previously, parents and guardians were allowed to come in to eat with their kids whenever they wanted to, and many in the wealthy area had regularly done so.

The Associated Press reports that “growing numbers of parents in school cafeterias” had grown to be disruptive for both the staff and students.

According to Tara Ochman, chairwoman of the Darien Board of Education, Darien school principals felt that the large number of parents visiting daily was “affecting the day-to-day running of the elementary schools.”

“We believe that schools exist for children, and we work to develop the skills necessary for students to grow into engaged members of society,” the chairwoman said in a written statement. “We work every day on this mission so that our students embrace their next steps confidently and respectfully.”

Some parents are upset about the change, even taking to town meetings to protest the new policy.

“It feels like a punch in the gut,” Jessica Xu, a parent whose oldest is in first grade, told the Associated Press. “I chose the town for the schools. I’m so frustrated the schools don’t want me there.”

“To just ban parents from the lunchroom, which is effectively what you’re doing with this email, I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of a collaborative environment,” local mom Terry Steadman said, admitting she was “shocked and driven to tears” by the policy change.

On the flip side, other parents thought the change was a good idea, agreeing that it’s better for the kids to interact with one another without parent interference.

“It was good because kids have to be able to learn how to work with each other and socialize with each other, and putting a parent in changes the dynamic dramatically,” Darien mother Beth Lane said at a board meeting.

What do you think of this policy and the outcry over it?

Footage provided by WTIC Hartford

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