One dad got a huge shock recently when his eight-year-old son came home from school bearing a stamp of a smiley face with some lettering on his arm. The proud Alabama father's first instinct was to think that the smiling face was likely a reward for good behavior or a sweet surprise from a friend. That, however, was far from the truth.
After taking a closer look and discovering the nasty surprise, Jon Bivens brought his son's experience to The Huntsville Times to share his alarming tale with other parents.
It turns out, the stamp was a way for the school to single his son out and embarrass him for something that he couldn't even do anything about. Read on to learn more about this shocking incident.
Jon Bivens' initial assumption was that the cute stamp was a reward or prize, earned by good behavior or excellent grades. It wasn't until he read the text below the smiley that he realized his son has been branded with four words: "I Need Lunch Money."
At first, he didn't think too much of it.
Gardendale Elementary, where Bivens' son is in the third grade, uses refillable charge cards in its cafeteria. When a student needs food items, they simply swipe the card to pay. This saves parents from sending cash that might be easily lost, and they also have the convenience of being able to refill them remotely and get balance notifications.
Bivens had happily used the system since its inception, but was very put off by the delivery of this notice.
His son rarely uses his card, as he brings a packed lunch nearly every day. His card is there simply for the rare day he needs lunch or wants to buy a special treat. Because of this, his card, and the money on it, is usually not touched. With the end of the school year rapidly approaching, his parents didn't even consider topping it up.
While Bivens was happy to receive notifications directly, he was shocked that the school chose to visibly mark his child to give him a reminder.
Normally, emails and letters are the preferred way to notify parents that their child's balance is running low.
Bivens had never seen this stamp before, and he's unhappy with the "brand."
To add insult to injury, no emails, letters, or even calls regarding the lunch money situation were ever received. Instead, the school chose to simply stamp his son's arm.
He's now labeled the visible stamping "a form of bullying."
As a parent, he thinks what the school has done is incredibly inappropriate.
He's especially confused by the school's timing. With just days left in his son's third-grade year, school was practically over. It would have made no sense to top up his card so late in the year. Even so, he wants to see the school readjust and reevaluate how they communicate with parents about this subject.
What do you think about how this dad handled the incident?
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