Mother is Astonished When She Finds Out Why Her Daughter Came Home From School Hungry

Published: Nov 20, 2023

A vast majority of parents would not agree to have schools regulate what their children eat on campus. There’s no question that such kind of action crosses the line into violating boundaries. When a Colorado mother packed her daughter what she believed to be a nutritious lunch, the issue exploded in the media.

This resulted in heated debate amongst teachers and parents about the importance of healthy eating and how best to address students’ nutritional needs in the classroom. Nevertheless, regardless of where a school stands about what a healthy lunch is composed of, no student should come home hungry. 

A Hungry Little Girl

The day was going normally for Leeza Pearson until her kid came home from school hungry. She was concerned, as any parent would be, since she remembered she had packed her daughter’s lunch. Naturally, the mom tried to remember what had happened earlier and examined the kitchen in case she forgot to hand what she had prepared to Natalee.

Advertisement

Source: Leeza Pearson/Facebook

She glanced at her daughter and saw she was bringing her lunchbox—Leeza opened it to check, puzzled, then saw a message. She became unnerved by what she had read on the page. How could this have occurred? What could the mysterious note have been about?

Why the Family Chose Colorado

Aurora, Colorado, is where Leeza and her family have decided to put down roots. They call it home, especially when the place fosters an atmosphere of acceptance and respect for its residents; there is nothing to worry about in terms of how they will treat one another.

Advertisement

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

That is precisely why Leeza got so distressed and puzzled by how the staff at Aurora’s Children’s Academy handled her and her daughter. She probably would have dropped the matter and moved on if it had been just her, but they also involved her child. This time around, the academy went a bit too far and did something that no parent would be able to tolerate.

A Dream Come True

Like most mothers, Leeza wanted nothing but the best for her precious Natalee. Given the extremely competitive atmosphere in which she was raised, it seemed natural and right to enroll her in the Children’s Academy at such a young age. It was also like a fantasy for the mom that had been realized.

Advertisement

Source: ABC 10 News/YouTube

Sadly, Leeza’s life will become a living nightmare very quickly. During a particularly stressful morning, Leeza grabbed her daughter’s lunchbox and did something that the school considered to be completely out of the question. When individuals are under stress, they tend to do a variety of inappropriate behaviors. What more was there for Leeza to do?

A Sought-After School

The Children’s Academy & Childcare Center is recognized as one of the most reputable preschools in the area, and it has the capacity to care for up to 150 children at once. Many parents believe that sending their young kids to this institution would adequately prepare them for the next level of education, which is elementary school.

Advertisement

Source: ABC 10 News/YouTube

Leeza assumed that this was the case, and it was for this reason that Natalee ended up being enrolled in The Children’s Academy & Childcare Center. No responsible parent would ever send their kid to a school with the knowledge that it would be detrimental to their child’s development. That is simply poor child-rearing on their part.

It All Seemed to be Going Well

There are moments in life when we reach those points when everything is going perfectly. Leeza had made progress toward her degree, while Natalee’s performance at the highly sought-after preschool was above average.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

For the first time in Leeza’s life, life didn’t provide her with any valid grounds for grumbling about anything. The young mom could not help but feel amazing. She did not realize then that things were going to take a turn for the worst. That is why it is difficult for some people to completely enjoy their lives because you can never predict when things will shift.

Advertisement

One Fateful Friday, It Happened

Leeza had absolutely nothing to gripe about when Natalee first started attending the school. Even though the school year was coming to a close, she maintained a positive relationship with the preschool. Things would eventually go in a different direction.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

Before one fateful day, Leeza and her husband Nate had no reason to complain about their daughter’s school. Friday is often considered among the best days of the week because the weekend follows after it. Yet, it was on a Friday that everything would go south. Leeza’s life has just provided her with yet another reason to complain about something. What could possibly be the problem?

Advertisement

She Didn't Mean to Forget

For most people, life is already stressful before you bring a small kid into the picture, but be prepared for things to ramp up even more when one arrives. This is true for Leeza, who, on one occasion, did not realize she did not have any fruits or vegetables with which to add to Natalee’s packed lunch. She may be a mother, but she’s a human who was bound to make an error.

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

So, one morning, Leeza prepared the meal like she always does, but she couldn’t include any healthy fruits and vegetables. Nobody could have foreseen the larger problem that this one slip-up would cause. It is difficult to say that Leeza is to blame for this.

Advertisement

Choosing the Sweet Alternative

On the same day Leeza failed to pack any fruits and veggies, she decided to include some substitute that was not particularly good for her daughter’s health. Oreos, those irresistible sweets that youngsters just can’t get enough of, found their way into Natalee’s lunch box.

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Aside from the popular treats, Leeza also stuffed the meal with a ham and cheese sandwich. She also added stringed cheese to make Natalee’s lunch bountiful. The little girl would have a field day with so many food choices during her break. Although the mom emphasized that she normally includes some vegetables or fruits in her daughter’s meals, she did not do so on that particular day.

Advertisement

Are Oreos Really Bad?

How terrible are Oreos, really? Can the school be bothered by them if they’re unhealthy? Dietitian Lisa Moskovitz of NY Nutrition Group thinks youngsters can have Oreos once in a while. The food expert pointed out that it is not a sign of bad parenting to occasionally give a child treats with empty calories like Oreos.

Source: Leeza Pearson/Facebook

Moskovitz also stated that adults should feel free to indulge in the cookies every once in a while. Nevertheless, if you eat them frequently enough, it can put you at risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This mindset at the school must have led to their actions toward Natalee. Are Oreos really the culprit here?

Advertisement

Natalee Complained About Her Stomach

Natalee got off the bus at home like she did every day after preschool, except this time, she was grumbling about something. On that particular Friday, she insisted that she was still hungry, despite the fact her mother had packed her a full lunch.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

Of course, Leeza’s first instinct was to check her lunch box. It was then she discovered a letter stuck to the side of Natalee’s unopened Oreo cookies. Not only were the cookies left untouched, but the note attached to it also carried an explanation of why Leeza’s daughter did not eat the treats. As the minutes passed, the mom’s anxiety over the situation grew.

Advertisement

The Offensive Instructional Letter

As soon as Leeza could, she told her husband what the message said. What she read amounted to the school holding her accountable and instructing her on how to be a responsible parent. The letter basically instructed Leeza to “send her child to school with a healthy lunch every day.”

Source: ABC 10 News/YouTube

It even pointed out that “each student, as befits a public school, must bring in a piece of fruit, a piece of vegetable, and a nutritious snack, in addition to a carton of milk.” As if those words were not enough, The school also reminded Leeza that if her daughter is bringing potatoes, she must also have bread with her. What kind of response would you have had in this situation?

Advertisement

Sharing the Letter Online

The message also stated, “Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered healthy food items.” The young mother didn’t know what else to call what the academy did but a case of second-hand parenting. Still, giving parenting advice is one thing, but sending their child home hungry is quite another.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

So, Leeza went online to vent her frustration at the school for sending her child home without food. She felt compelled to tell others about the offense that had been done to her daughter at this institute. If the school thought Leeza would be quiet after they sent her child home hungry after “policing” her lunch box, they thought wrong.

Advertisement

Sharing a Mother's Sentiments

A picture of the note and Leeza’s account of what happened were all that was needed for the mother to receive an outpouring of sympathy from other parents in the area. Just who were these people at the school to reprimand a caring adult in that way?

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

Leeza recounted afterward that she got a load of fury from folks she hadn’t heard from in years. Moreover, she mentioned that one of her pals thought the whole thing was quite unbelievable. Promoting a healthy diet is commendable, but lecturing individuals about their food choices are inappropriate. They probably are aware of the potential dangers, especially mothers who prepare their children’s lunches every day.

Advertisement

Obesity is Now Prevalent in Childhood

These days, individuals are more concerned about what they put in their bodies than ever. That said, it is understandable why the school believed they were only “saving Natalee.” Take also into account the fact that the prevalence of childhood obesity has skyrocketed over the previous two decades. Around the world, youngsters are eating more high-calorie, high-sugar, and high-fat foods and aren’t moving around as much.

Source: ABC 10 News/YouTube

People are increasingly doing their part to help combat obesity. Before recently, you wouldn’t see many overweight people out and about, but now that’s not the case at all. The Aurora Children’s Academy most likely had Natalee’s best interests in mind when they sent the letter to her mom.

Advertisement

Who's Wrong and Who's Right?

The staff at Children’s Academy was trying to help out one of their students. It’s possible to make the case that parents’ actions like these prompted Congress to pass the Hunger-Free Kids Act.Though Leeza was likely hurt by the academy’s actions, it was her reaction that garnered attention.

Source: Leeza Angela/Facebook

You could argue that she also went too far, but we’re talking about her kid here, and sending her home starving isn’t the solution. One way they could have addressed the matter was to call all the parents for a meeting about healthy eating in children. That way, Leeza would not have felt singled out by the academy.

Advertisement

Why Healthy Lunch is Important

Sean Patrick Corcoran, an associate professor of economics and education policy at NYU, asserts that regularly eating healthy meals helps students stay alert, pay attention in class, and retain information. It is crucial to encourage people to consume fewer bad fats and sugars while increasing their intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts on a social level.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

Children go to the Children’s Academy to acquire a better education. Studies demonstrate that having unhealthy foods in their lunch can have the opposite effect. Although it was evident that Natalee’s food was unhealthy, the school erred by criticizing Leeza for that one oversight.

Advertisement

No Parent Wants to be Made an Example

No parent likes to be made an example of or told they are poisoning their child with their food choices, whether it is necessary or not. As a result, you can only guess how Leeza felt when that happened to her. No wonder she reacted the way she did and shared her disappointment and anger on social media.

Source: Leeza Angela/Facebook

In essence, what the school did was accuse Leeza of being a negligent parent in a roundabout way. Something like that might make parents consider their parenting strategies as they lay in bed late. It can make them think they’ve been doing it wrong all along. Was the school ultimately correct with how they handled Leeza and Natalee’s case?

Advertisement

They Definitely Crossed the Line

Leeza spoke her mind when it was her turn to address the media about the circumstance. She claimed that the school’s desire for the students to eat properly was not her major complaint, but rather the way they “went it over the top” with her.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

The mom was pretty sure that the school had overstepped its bounds when it decided to tell Natalee what to eat. These thoughts are shared by many. Her initial reaction was reasonable to have, particularly coming from the parent of the youngster who went home hungry when she had food in her lunch box. Leeza asserted, that the best person to tell her the right food items for Natalee would be her pediatrician.

Advertisement

She's in an Ideal Weight

There is such a thing as early prevention. Despite this, it’s possible that Leeza didn’t see it in this light. If her daughter had weighed one hundred pounds and regularly consumed potato chips, hot dogs, and soda, things would have been very different. Of course, that’s when she would take action on her daughter’s nutrition.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

Yet, in actuality, Natalee was a young girl who was very active and maintained a healthy weight. Because of that fact, it made the whole situation much worse than it ever needed to be, and it was harder for Leeza to understand the academy’s point. Had the academy been trying to say something more than what was explicitly stated?

Advertisement

Standing Her Ground to the End

It’s okay to feel confused about why someone wronged you, as long as you know the contrary is true. Due to the fact that Natalee was the polar opposite of overweight, so, Leeza did not back down as events began to unravel.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

No one could blame the young mom when she pointed out that it was not like she offered her daughter’s entire class cookies. Also, the Oreos were not the only food item in Natalee’s lunch box; there was also the ham and cheese sandwich and the stringed cheese. Since Bread was acceptable, surely Leeza’s own simple version of Croque Monsieur wasn’t bad.

Advertisement

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Leezo also had a compelling rebuttal, which further added to the drama. She claims that in the past, the school provided unhealthy treats for her child, making their current stance appear hypocritical. When you stop to think about it, that does sound a little strange.

Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In an interview with ABC News, Leeza shared that the staff of the academy fed Natalee junk food. Yet, they are saying the girl’s mom could not pick what she could bring to school for lunch. It was a good move to tell the media about this important detail on Leeza’s part. The school had some explaining to do.

Advertisement

This Mom Won't Back Down

Natalee was not overweight, and she actually like Oreos. Leeza remained firm and defended her decision to offer her daughter the chocolatey delight as the drama intensified. In an interview, she could not help but be emotional; she pointed out she and her husband are not parents who let their children eat junk food daily.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

Adding that Natalee’s lunch is a balanced meal that is good for her health. Once in a while, specifically on a Friday, why couldn’t she surprise her with a treat, like an Oreo? Leeza makes a really good point with that statement. Why didn’t they just substitute a different treat for Natalee?

Advertisement

School and Food Don't Go Together

Not only was it a criticism of another person’s parenting style, but the recommendation came from a group that does not have a stellar track record when it comes to matters concerning food. Honestly, the words school and lunch put together don’t sound appealing, especially to students.

Source: Leeza Angela/Facebook

The stigma surrounding lunches at educational facilities centers on their mysteriousness—what the dishes are made of, such as the famous high school coleslaw. It has also been said a lot of times that meats have a flavor similar to rubber and that other foods have an unpleasant texture. Then, there is the case of teachers frequently giving out candy to their students, especially young ones.

Advertisement

The Director Speaks Up

Brenda Dean was the Children’s Academy’s director at the time of this incident. Dean undoubtedly had complete awareness of how operations on his campus should be conducted, as is customary for directors.

Source: ABC 10 News/YouTube

Dean reached a decision after conducting additional research. She claimed that Natalee should not have been sent home in that manner and that the note was not in accordance with the school’s rules. Natalee’s teacher could have at least given her replacement food. In that way, the little girl would not have complained to her mother that she was hungry. Leeza should feel a little bit relieved after standing her ground in light of that revelation.

Advertisement

What Actually Took Place

You could picture a little girl having her packed lunch taken away from her and thrown away in the garbage. To be perfectly clear, that is in no way how the story unfolded at all. The truth was Natalee did not have any of her meals taken away from her.

Source: Reddit

She wasn’t abandoned to starve while the rest of her classmates ran around the playground laughing and having fun. Yet, after reading the note that was tucked away inside her daughter’s lunch box, Leeza most likely had this thought go through her head. As the mystery deepened, more and more of the truth about everything was revealed. That’s why it’s smart to wait until you have all the information before making any hasty judgments.

Advertisement

Shedding Light to the Truth

Patti Moon, the chief communicator for the Aurora Public Schools, had some insightful comments to share on the matter. Moon emphasized that the school’s desire to keep parents informed about healthy options is not intended as a form of punishment.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

By revealing that they provided an alternative for Natalee, Moon contributed new information that made the case seem less dismaying. So that she wouldn’t be hungry when she got home, she was offered another food by her teacher. What made Natalee decline the replacement lunch? Did the meal offer make the preschooler suspicious of what was inside it? Maybe she was given Brussel sprouts! Sadly, kids hate those.

Advertisement

What they Could Have Done

Looking back on the situation, is it accurate to say Natalee took a stubborn posture when she refused to eat the substitute? After all, she’s a preschooler—she was at an age where defiance and stubbornness are normal behavior.Natalee’s determination to sit there and not eat while everyone else enjoyed their lunches symbolized her refusal to give her teachers the satisfaction they sought.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

We can imagine the little girl, repeatedly saying no to their offer. Did the teaching staff consider the child’s preferences? No, they did not, so they let Natalee go home hungry instead of just letting her eat her Oreos. Were they right to do what they did?

Advertisement

Did the Issue Get Resolved?

It seemed like Leeza, and the academy would never be able to put their differences behind them after the drama began. The mom was offended by the note, while the academy was disappointed with how Leeza handled the situation. The school did not appreciate being called out in public. Nevertheless, after some more time passed, everyone got along again.

Source: Leeza Angela/Facebook

The two sides’ tensions subsided as Natalee began attending a regular elementary school. Perhaps this was the case because they were no longer forced to interact with one another five days a week. It begs the question, whether, any lessons were learned by the parents and the school?

Advertisement

Each Side Has Since Moved On

After a thorough reevaluation, the school board has decided to discontinue sending home messages to parents, and rightfully so. That was the logical next step after the overwhelming outcry after being called out. As for the parents, Natalee has successfully transitioned to elementary school.

Source: Nate Biersack/Facebook

This incident undoubtedly highlighted the question of how much influence, if any, schools have over the food choices of their students. Also, it calls for educational institutions to never assume they know better than caring parents on how to raise their children. If schools have the best interest of youngsters at their heart, how much more care would parents who brought them into this world have towards them?

Advertisement