Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kirby: Is too much being made of lunches seized at Salt Lake school?

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jan 31 2014 03:14 pm • Last Updated Feb 02 2014 10:01 pm

Last week, children at Uintah Elementary School had their school lunches taken away. Their parents reportedly hadn’t paid up, so an example had to be made. Suspects were rounded up.

The children had their regular nutritious meals snatched away and each was given two bugs and a cup of murky pond water for lunch instead. Anyway, something like that. It’s hard to tell with all the noisy outrage.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Everyone in America is now focused on the unbearable shame the children endured. To be singled out like that probably scarred impressionable minds for life.

I doubt it.

One afternoon after lunch recess in the fifth grade, I returned to class expecting the usual miserable afternoon of failing a quiz, being refused repeated bathroom breaks and spending time with my nose against the blackboard for something yet to be determined.

Instead, Mrs. Henry immediately latched onto me. She hauled me to the front of the class and ordered me to stand next to her desk like a reprisal hostage waiting to be shot.

I had no real idea what was going on. With my scholastic history and short attention span, it could have been anything: robbery, arson, rustling. Hell, maybe I accidentally killed somebody.

With 30 sets of eyes focused on me, Mrs. Henry harangued the class at length about proper nutrition, social responsibility, wasted money and bad manners. She finally got to the point.

"I saw this boy," she wagged a finger of judgment at me, "throw his entire school lunch sandwich into the garbage."

Great emphasis was placed on the fact that I hadn’t taken a single bite out of the sandwich. While children were starving in Africa, Mrs. Henry had seen me scrape it untouched into the garbage can before running out to play.

story continues below
story continues below

The sandwich in question was infamous. The school cafeteria served them every Friday. Peanut butter and a smear of honey on two dry slices of white bread. It took an entire carton of milk to get one down.

I wasn’t alone in this opinion. A hundred uneaten peanut butter and drywall sandwiches were already in the trash when I dumped mine.

Sensing that an example was about to be made of me, I mentally prepared a rebuttal. My parents had paid for the sandwich. It was therefore technically my sandwich. And because they weren’t there to make me, I didn’t have to eat it. Right?

Wrong. Mrs. Henry had thoughtfully brought another sandwich from the lunchroom. I was required to eat every bit of it in front of the class. With nothing to wash it down it was like swallowing Styrofoam. It took forever.

If the point was to shame me into eating my lunch in the future, it didn’t work. I had no shame. I did stop throwing unwanted food into the garbage, though.

Every Friday until another teacher caught me doing it, Mrs. Henry found peanut butter and honey sandwich halves stuck to the windows of her car.

Maybe too much is being made of this whole school lunch incident. Kids are resilient. They’ll get over it with no adverse effects. After all, it happened to me and…

Somebody get those kids some counseling. And some lunch.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.