The first few times he saw it, the man was not that bothered with the mark that showed up on his son’s arm, but it all changed when he realized what the mark was and how it got there in the first place. He even turned red out of anger once he realized what was really going on! How could the school shame a child in such a manner? The man decided to pull up his son’s sleeve and took a picture to show everyone he knew. Whoever came up with that idea will surely pay the price for it.
Only The Best For Her Child
Before enrolling her child at Desert Cove Elementary School, Tara Chavez spent a lot of time looking into the different schools that are available in their part of Phoenix. She considered everything each school has to offer because her child’s education is not something she took lightly.
Her Son’s Well-Being
Her son was a sensitive boy, and she had to take that into account. There were also lots of other factors such as affordability and class size, but overall, the deciding factor would be her son’s well-being, wanting to make sure that her son will be treated properly.
The School Seemed Perfect
Tara went on to observe the school for a few days and came to the conclusion that Desert Cove Elementary School may be right for her son. She later finished the paper works and enrolled her son.
A Decision She Would Regret
Tara had no clue that her decision would be something she would regret deeply in the future. It never crossed her mind that enrolling her child there would soon lead to a controversy. Other parents started to stand their ground and speak out once Tara spoke out about what happened.
Things Were Going Well
Their son had been doing well in school, which made Tara’s husband confident that they made the right choice in enrolling their kid there. It seemed like everything was going well after a full term at Desert Cove Elementary School.
The School Ethos
Their son adored his teachers, and the school’s ethos sat well with the parents, making them feel sure that it was the best place for their child. However, they were about to find out that their little kid had been facing a huge problem there.
He Was Not Okay
Like any other day, Tara went to fetch her kid at school. As soon as she saw him, something felt off, she could not pinpoint what it was, but she could tell that something was wrong. But what exactly happened? She could not quite place her finger on it.
He Was Misbehaving
With her son looking gloomy, Tara immediately assumed that her son was being bullied by his fellow classmates or maybe even a teacher. She was worried that her son is probably another victim of bullying.
Concerned For Her Kid
Like any other loving parent, she wanted to make sure that she gets to the bottom of the issue. She regained her composure and tried to improve the young boy’s mood as much as she could, asking him about his day and everything else that happened.
He Did Not Want To Talk About It
Cayden only replied with a simple “fine” as he keeps his eyes outside the car. Tara once again tried asking her son regarding what happened at school, but he once again refused to give out any other answer besides “fine”. It was obvious that whatever happened at school, Cayden certainly does not want to talk about it.
The Drive-On The Way Home
The mother then decided that it was best not to ask any further. She planned to give her son some space and continue discussing the matter once they got home, but she could not help but notice the blue mark on Cayden’s arm.
The Boy Was Branded
She tried to get a better look at the thing on her son’s arm. At first glance, it seemed like it was nothing but a smudge of dirt on Cayden’s arm, but that was not the case. A closer look clearly shows that it was not a speck of dust and clearly is a mark.
What Did The Mark Show?
The mother could tell that the reason her son was not feeling good is because of the mark on his arm. But before jumping to conclusions, she wanted to make sure she sees and understand the full story in detail. Truly a mother’s instinct is always right!
She Had A Hunch
She had a clue as to what might have happened, but she decided to stay put and let things be for a while until they got home, after all, she had to keep her eyes on the road in order to get home.
An Angry Mother
Even though she tried to stay compose and calm down a bit, her hands have gripped the wheel so tight that it turned white, she had to make sure that her son would not see how angry she was. You just know that whoever oversaw what happened to her son, they would be in big trouble. You do not want to mess with an angry mother!
The Family Had A Talk
Cayden tried to rush to his room as soon as they got home, his mother, however, wanted to make sure that he would not hide without telling them the entire story. Tara then called her husband to come over and talk about the incident with their son.
Was It A Bruise?
Mark (Tara’s husband) lifted his son’s sleeve to see what was on their son’s arm. At first, they thought it was a bruise, but immediately realized it was ink. Did the boy write on his arm? The dad, however, knew that this was far from the truth after seeing what was written on Cayden’s arm.
The Two Words
The bold ink read “LUNCH MONEY” in thick blue letters. The family was riddled with questions. Why was this stamped on his arm? And who would do such a thing? It may only be two words, but it was enough to crush a young boy’s spirit.
The Lady Who Put The Mark
The parents were furious when they heard what their son said. According to Cayden, the lunch lady was the one who put the mark on his skin. It seemed like she wanted to shame the poor boy publicly!
He Was Not Given A Choice
The father asked the kid if he was given the option not to be stamped, in which the boy replied: “No, she just grabbed my wrist and put the stamp on.” Tara was tearful while being interviewed. The thought of her son being humiliated crushed her.
Uploaded On The Internet
Cayden’s lunch money in his account had been running low. Despite that, he is still able to pay for his food. The angry mom felt even more infuriated after checking online to see that Cayden’s account still had 75 cents left. Mark took a picture of the stamp and posted it on the internet.
The Poor Boy Felt Humiliated
The concerned mom explained that the poor boy was screaming and crying the whole time. He was even humiliated and did not want any pictures of the stamp taken. Obviously, the most concerning issue of all is how Cayden felt embarrassed about it.
It Was A Disaster
It was apparent that what happened made him feel bad and drastically lowered the poor boy’s self-esteem. The school would usually send an email reminder if a child’s lunch money account is running low. Did the school somehow mess it all up?
The Post Went Viral
The post about the stamp garnered a lot of shares and comments. It was viral! We are living in a world of the digital age, after all. It was highly likely for the post to be seen worldwide.
The People From Twitter
A lot of people believed that Tara’s reactions were justified, with lots of comments showing full support for Cayden and the family. A comment even said “Like Y’all couldn’t send a note?” pertaining to the school’s action.
There Were Lots Of Comments
A lot of comments in the post made good points, one of which said “Like, y’all couldn’t send a note? y’all couldn’t think for two seconds about the numerous references of branding someone as a stigma?”.
Similar Experiences Other Kids Had
A lot of the people who read the post believed that the stamp was out of the line and was outright unacceptable. ‘What kind of twisted person holds a child’s arm & applies a big, block-lettered stamp in black ink to their little arm?!!” said one commenter.
A Lot Of Notifications
Another commenter expressed their anger with a comment that said “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’s Response
With the post getting a lot of attention, it would only be a matter of time before the school reacts to the situation. And not long after the post received a lot of views, Tara received an email from the school herself, what did the school have to say about the matter?
The School Denied It
According to Stacey Orest, principal of Desert Cove Elementary School, humiliating kids with the “reminder stamps” was not the staff’s intention. She also explained to the angry mother that the cafeteria staff is supposed to ask the child if they want a stamp or a reminder slip.
The Parents Were Unhappy
Tara, however, was not satisfied with what the school provided for an answer, in fact, like all the other parents that learned of what happened to poor Cayden, they wanted to outlaw the “reminder” stamps, seeing as it is not okay for them to continue doing so.
Their Official Statement
The school district also put out an official statement about the incident. Becky Kelbaugh, a spokesperson for Paradise Valley Unified School District, stated that “It was never the intention of Desert Cove Elementary School administration to embarrass any student using the stamp”.
It Happened Before
She also went on to say that “Students were given the choice between a letter or reminder stamp. Going forward, Desert Cove Elementary School will send a letter home notifying parents of low lunch balances.”
Phoenix New Times
The spokesperson also informed the news outlet, Phoenix New Times, that the primary school will halt the use of “reminder stamps”. This was not the first and only time that such a thing ever happened, but we are glad to hear that they will not do it anymore.
His Blood Was Boiling
Jon Bivens is the father of a third-grade student who goes to Gardendale Elementary School. Not too long before Cayden’s incident, Jon’s son also came home with similar markings on his arm. Wait until you see what happens.
He Was Shocked
At first glance, the dad thought that the stamp was one of those “good job stamps” that they give to kids that do well in school, which is why he did not mind it at first. He quickly changed his mind when the stamp read the words “I need lunch money”. He was shocked, normally the school would notify him instead.
This Can Not Be Justified
Because of this, Jon and his wife decided to pack lunches for their little boy every day but occasionally let him buy treats at the school cafeteria. However, he learned something that truly angered the boy’s father. Wait until you see what it was!
When the father checked his son’s balance, it turns out that he still had money in his account! When he was stamped, there was a balance of $1.38 in his account. What the cafeteria did to his son is clearly unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
The Practice’s Ethics
The furious dad said that the school herds the kids like cattle. According to him, his son was also branded by the school, which he believes to be wrong. “When you start stamping a message on a child’s body instead of calling, it’s just not okay.”
It Is A Form Bullying
The father also shared his feelings in the interview, stating that “branding” the kids is a form of bullying and shaming them. Do you agree that implementing a “branding” system in cafeterias is a bit harsh? What do you think?
Desert Cove is a school known to have lots of money; only 32% of the students there qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, so it’s not a surprise how stamping students with a low balance in their accounts would greatly humiliate said students.
Shaming Because Of Lunch
“Lunch Shaming” can never be excused as it can lead students to skip meals. Skipping meals could hurt a child’s academic performance, which may lead to them repeating a grade or require any form of therapy/counseling.
Desert Cove Elementary School was deeply sorry about what happened. A statement released by the school stated that “It was never the intention of administration and staff to embarrass any student by using the stamp”.
The system had been in place many years prior to the event, but they believe that discontinuing the “stamping method” and only communicating directly with the parents will be the only way that the school and the parents could ever move forward.