School Shames Mom Who Put Oreos in 4-Year-Old Daughter’s Lunch

A teacher didn’t let Colorado mom Leeza Pearson’s little girl eat her cookies because of nutritional concerns.

(Photo: James A. Guilliam/Getty Images)

Apr 30, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

A sandwich, a bit of string cheese, and a small package of Oreos. To some folks, that might not be the healthiest of lunches, but it’s what Aurora, Colorado, mom Leeza Pearson had available to put in her four-year-old daughter Natalee’s lunch box last week. After the little girl returned home, the mom was shocked to discover that the preschooler hadn’t been allowed to eat the cookies. Natalee’s teacher had also sent home a note implying that what Pearson had packed wasn’t nutritious enough.

“Dear Parents, It is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it,” read the note, according to local station KUSA. “Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation.”

The note comes at a time when America’s child obesity rates are sky-high: Roughly one in three children is overweight or obese. At the same time, there’s added scrutiny from health experts on what kids are schlepping to school to eat. Despite the widespread belief that the lunches provided in campus cafeterias are less than nutritious, they’re often healthier than the sandwiches, chips, and cookies that parents send along.

But Pearson believes that what’s in her child’s lunch box isn’t the business of educators.

“What the school thinks is healthy for her is not what I think is healthy for her,” Pearson told the television station. “That’s between me and her and our doctor—not the school.”

Some other parents are backing up Pearson on social media and calling out what they perceive to be mom shaming.

“Full disclosure: I did in fact put 2 Golden Oreos in my son’s lunch Mon which he ate BEFORE LUNCH (terrible mom),” tweeted Fox Business host Melissa Francis on Thursday.

The school, Children’s Academy, did not respond to TakePart’s request for comment. However, the director told KUSA that it has launched an investigation, because it’s not the school’s official policy to provide nutritional guidelines to parents or monitor what they’re sending for lunch.