The first time he’d seen it, he didn’t think it was a bruise on his son’s arm. However, when he started figuring out what it really was and how it got there, everything changed. Of course, the moment he realized what exactly was going on, he was distraught. Why is the school bullying their student so terribly? He decided he had to stand up for his son and took a photo to show others. Whoever thought this was a good idea should take responsibility for what happened to this boy.
She Did Her Research
Tara Chavez did her proper research on schools in her area of Phoenix before taking her son to Desert Cove Elementary School. Before making that decision, she thought about everything else, but it wasn’t something she took lightly.
Well-Being Of A Young Boy
Along with other things to keep in mind, she needed to consider things like cost and class size. After all, her number-one priority was the health and wellbeing of her son. He was a sweet child, and she needed to make sure he would be treated well.
The School Sounded Perfect
Tara went to the school multiple times to attend open days. She thought it would be good for her son to go to Desert Cove Elementary School. And so, she finalized all the legal documents that she needed and enrolled her son.
She didn’t have a way of knowing that it was a decision she would continue to lament after it had been said and done. This mother didn’t think it would have escalated into public outrage. Lots of parents decided to take action when they heard about her story.
Everything Was Going Well
It was almost as if everything was turning out well after an entire term as Desert Cove Elementary School. This made her husband feel confident that Cayden was doing well in school and that the school was the right fit for him.
The philosophy of the school got the parents’ attention, so they were convinced that it was a good choice for their little son. Other than that, their son liked and respected his teachers. However, soon it became clear to them that their son was dealing with a serious problem.
He Went Home Upset
Another day passed, and Tara made her way to school to pick up Cayden. She immediately noticed something was off when she saw him. What was the problem? She couldn’t remember any of it or think of what happened.
Automatically, Tara assumed it must have been his fellow students or even the teacher. Maybe they were tormenting her son? She also realized that her son might just be a victim of bullying by this point.
She took control of the situation and looked for a way to change his mood for the better, so Tara asked her son how his day went. Just like any other parent, this mother was eager to find out the root of the problem to fix it.
The Mark On His Arm
Cayden responded with a curt “fine” and kept his eyes on the window of the car, staring out into the distance. Tara politely asked him if something happened at school. Even then, he refused to say anything else. By this point, it was obvious he didn’t want to talk about what was bothering him.
And so, Tara decided it would be best not to force him to talk about it when he clearly didn’t want to. She gave him a little space and the two agreed to talk about it more when they got home. From there, she caught a glimpse of a blue mark on his arm.
He Was Branded
She craned her neck and tried getting a better look at her son’s arm. For a split second, she thought it was just some dirt. When she looked closer, however, she realized that was the case at all – it was something else.
What Did It Read?
Tara could only think of the possibility that the mark was connected to the reason her son was in a bad mood that day. All the same, she had to understand the whole story – not just a small part. As they say, a mother’s instinct is always correct.
She Feared The Worst
This mom had a hint as to what was going on, but she wanted the full picture before she got home with her son. She had to keep her eyes on the road until they got home to their house. What would she do next?
Angry As A Raging Bull
Despite the fact that she didn’t bring it up again, Tara’s knuckles turned white from her tight grip on the wheel. She did this out of frustration. She hated seeing her son so upset. You can know how troubled the person behind all this would be. No one wants to mess with Tara.
They Held A Family Meeting
As soon as they got home, Cayden went straight to his bed. Still, Tara promised he wouldn’t hide out without telling her the whole story. After that, she called her husband, took a chair out, and asked her son to sit down with them.
Perhaps It Was A Bruise
Her husband, Mark, pulled up his son’s jacket to take a look at what was on his arm. At first, he thought it was some kind of blister. However, it turned out to be ink. Did he write something on his arm? No, it had to be someone else.
Written In Capital Letters
Cayden had two words written on his arm. In bold blue letters, the words said “LUNCH MONEY!” Why was this marked on the kid’s arm? Who would do this kind of thing? Especially for such a little boy.
The Lunch Lady
After that, Cayden told them the lunch lady put those words on his arm. It seems like she tried embarrassing the little boy in front of the entire classroom. The more the parents heard about this story, the more upset they became.
He Had No Choice
“I asked if the lunch lady gave him a choice, and he said, ‘No, she just grabbed my wrist and put the stamp on.’” When she was asking her son these questions, she was fighting back tears. She was so hurt that her son was treated this way in front of everyone.
While Cayden still had enough money for his food, the lunch money on his account was running low. When Tara checked the account, there were still 75 cents in there. She was furious. Checking online, she looked into the matter further. Mark took a picture of the stamp and decided to post it online for people to see.
They Humiliated The Poor Boy
“He was screaming and crying the entire time,” the mother explained. “He was humiliated, didn’t even want me to take a picture of it.” Maybe the most concerning thing about all this was the fact that this boy had been humiliated at school in front of everyone.
Of course, it made him feel bad, but he had done plenty of work on his self-esteem. For the most part, the school would send an alert to the parents by email when the lunch money account would be running low. Has the school ever had a problem with this phenomenon?
It Went Viral
Naturally, it wasn’t long before Mark’s post went viral all over the world. Well, we do live in a digital age. Eventually, the post got hundreds of views and shares. It was spreading like wildfire all over the internet.
Practically all the parents who saw this post were supportive of the family and stood behind them. Tara was pleased to see she and her family weren’t alone in this. One of her friends said of the school: “Like, y’all couldn’t send a note?”
Comments Kept Coming
She kept on, saying, “Y’all could not think for two seconds about the numerous references of branding someone as a stigma?” If you ask us, she made a very good point. Sending a note is a much more logical thing to do in this case.
Other Kids With Similar Experiences
“What kind of twisted person holds a child’s arm & applies a big, block-lettered stamp in black ink to their little arm?!!” Another commenter said. The majority of people who read the story said the stamp was “unacceptable”.
Loads Of Notifications
Another parent replied with an absolutely furious message saying, “If a kid’s parents don’t have any money to deposit to the child’s account … do they just keep stamping the child every day? Seriously.”
The School Responds
Regardless of what the school would have to say on the matter, it wasn’t long before they responded to all the negative attention they were getting. Tara received an email from the school rather quickly. What would they say?
They Denied The Claims
Stacey Orset, the principal of Desert Cove Elementary School, said that the staff had no intention of shaming children with “reminder stamps publicly”. She also described in detail to Tara that the cafeteria workers were “supposed to ask them if they want a stamp or a reminder slip”.
Still, Tara wasn’t happy with the explanation the school gave her. Every other parent who was looking into the story or reading about it decided that it would be right to abolish the “reminder” stamps. It wasn’t right to do.
The Official Statement
After that, the school district put out a public statement about the incident. Becky Kelbaugh, the Paradise Valley Unified School District spokeswoman said, “It was never the intention of Desert Cove Elementary School administration and staff to embarrass any student by using the stamp.”
It Was Not The First Time
She continued by saying, “Students were given a choice between a letter or reminder stamp. Going forward, Desert Cove Elementary School will send a letter before going home to notify the parents of low lunch balances.”
Phoenix New Times
In addition to that, she told the Phoenix New Times that the elementary school would immediately stop using the “reminder stamps”. We’re happy to hear that this won’t be done anymore from that point. With that said, the fact is that this isn’t the first time this happened.
It Made His Blood Boil
Jon Bivens has a son who’s in third-grade and attends the Gardendale Elementary School. Something very similar happened to him and his family, not too long before this unfortunate incident. The little boy came home one day with something similar on his back. What happened this time?
This dad said he didn’t think much of it at first. “I thought it was a good job stamp,” he said, explaining his indifference. Realizing what stamp it really was, he saw the words: “I need lunch money.” Jon was surprised.
No Justification For This
Jon and his wife give their kid lunches for school every day, but they let him buy a snack at the cafeteria every now and again. Something genuinely infuriated Jon. Wait till you see what it was that caused this reaction.
Jon and his wife make sure to pack their son lunch for school every day. Aside from that, they allow him to buy some snacks sometimes at the school cafeteria. However, something seriously infuriated Jon.
The Ethics Of This Practice
“They herd these kids like cattle,” the father said angrily. His son was “branded” by the school. He said that “When you start stamping a message on a child’s body instead of calling…it’s just not okay.”
He kept talking, explaining his opinion in a question and answer, saying that “It’s a form of bullying and shaming the kids.” Wouldn’t you say that it would be too hard to enforce a “branding” system in cafeterias?
Desert Cove is a generally affluent school – only 32% of the kids are qualified to apply for free or low-cost meals there. And so, it can be possible to assume that singling out students with low account balances could be quite traumatic for them.
It’s not an excuse for the way “lunch shaming” can lead students to miss meals altogether. This, in turn, reduces their academic success and also makes them more likely to repeat a degree or need guidance in mental health.
Eventually, Desert Cove Elementary School released a message that said, “It was never the intention of administration and staff to embarrass any student by using the stamp”. They’ve been very apologetic about the whole ordeal.
Many Years Before
Despite the fact that it was a device that’s been in use for many years, they announced that from that moment on, the school would avoid using the “stamping method”. Instead, they would interact with the parents themselves.