Two years ago my children started in a new school system. As we got settled in, I was amazed at how often they were being offered treats at school.
Initially I thought my perception was off, as the last school they were in did not use food based rewards with such frequency, and most were safe for my allergic kiddo.
Toward spring, I finally decided to track the amount of food they were offered at school, and whether it was a treat my allergic kiddo could have. Just to help me get perspective on what was really happening and see if my mama radar was over-reacting. (I blogged the results here.)
I encourage each of you to try this! Mark on your calendar EVERY time an adult at the school offers or serves food to your child. Regular teacher, substitute teacher, art teacher, principal, room mom, all of them! Then mark if it was a safe treat that your kiddo could have, and if there was any prior notice given to you before the treat was given. Last, mark the reason for the treat. (Was it an incentive for behavior or performance? A reward? A special occasion? Part of a lesson?)
At the end of the semester tally the results. It will give you a very clear picture of how often and in what ways food is used in your child's school environment.
It was eye opening for me. I realized that my perception was not off, food was present most days, most of it excluding my child. It was even more eye opening for our school counselor and our health and wellness committee when I was able to share my results with them. Having the data behind you to help illustrate your feelings about food in the school is amazing. It's easy to call me an oversensitive mom, but it's hard to argue with a graph that shows the reality of food at school.
Try it. See if your perception matches what is really happening. Then share the results with your school to see if they are aware of how often and in what ways food is being utilized in the building. It's a great way to have a conversation about the general health and wellness of the students, and especially the risks to children with food allergies.
Please let me know if you do this, and what results you saw!