A preschool aide in Hawaii has received a last warning about eating her own lunch, prepared by her husband, in front of students. (Photo: KITV/YouTube screenshot)
A teacher's assistant at KCAA Preschools of Hawaii could lose her job over the organic, homemade lunches packed for her by her husband.
KITV-TV reported, according to school policy, teachers either have to eat the food provided by the school with the children or wait to eat whatever they brought separately on their 10-minute break away from the kids.
Carissa Lee O'Connell began eating raw, organic food to try and stifle allergies and colds from which she was suffering -- and it worked. Lee O'Connell can continue to bring her lunches as long as they're not eaten in front of the children.
"Definitely upsetting because I really enjoy being with the kids, having fun and seeing them every day," Lee O'Connell told KITV-TV. "They're making me eat my lunch away from everybody else just because my director feels uncomfortable about the situation."
Lee O'Connell argues a 10-minute break isn't always enough time for her to eat privately, compared to the designated 30 minutes with the children.
"It's definitely a possibility," said Lee O'Connell, "but it's not to say that it's guaranteed that during my break time I'm not going to have a personal issue that comes up, and I have to take care of that first before I can be able to sit down to eat."
At KCAA meals are a learning experience. The school's website states:
Meal time provides rich learning opportunities for young children who are exploring new foods and developing food preferences. Recognized "best practices" in the area of nutrition and the young child, and in accordance with national accreditation standards and the USDA CACFP program, in which we participate, KCAA provides all enrolled children a USDA-approved breakfast, lunch and snack to help ensure they receive the nutrition their growing bodies need to thrive.
We serve meals family style; staff eat with the children and extend the learning through meal time conversations about food items being served, such as where they come from, their color and texture.
Exposing children to new foods, those that are different than foods normally provided at home, is part of the wonderful world of preschool. We provide menu alternatives for staff and children with a variety of food allergies as well as those who are vegetarian.
O'Connell's husband, Rick, said this restriction surprises him given that the school operates lunches with subsidies through the USDA Child Nutrition Program.
"So in other words, her tax dollars can go into a program that (children) are being fed with, but she can be ostracized for eating a certain way to maintain her health," he told KITV. "She's got a choice to either keep her job, or keep her health. That's just a horrible choice for anybody to have to make."
Watch KITV-TV's full report:
(H/T: Daily Mail)