Truth, liberty, toleration


truth, liberty, toleration
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

While I was at recess today, I saw the mean lunch lady in action; I think the same one that the Latina moms were complaining about at the meeting Monday night.

I was sitting with a lot of children playing games, at a picnic table, the one nearest the stage. On a bench right next to us, two children were eating their lunch, and a mom with a toddler. All sitting together quietly with sandwiches spread out on napkins, the kids swinging their legs casually from the bench. This white woman came up and started yelling harshly at the two little girls. “You’re not allowed to sit here! You’re going to trash the place up! You better pick up that garbage! You better not leave any of that trash here! You’re supposed to sit at the picnic tables! Do you have a parent here?” The kids looked at her in shrinking non-comprehension. Keep in mind this is right in front of, 3 feet away from, the Latina mom who was looking right at her in the face and was obviously the mom of one of the girls. Also keep in mind these are little girls either in kindergarten, first, or second grade.

I stood up and said, “Excuse me, what is the problem exactly?”

“They leave their trash everywhere and it makes a lot of work.”

“They seem to be eating their lunch to me. I agree we should ENCOURAGE ALL the children to clean up after lunch. That’s why we should ASK THEM RESPECTFULLY, and POLITELY, to keep the lunch area clean.”

She walked away.

I didn’t do anything else because I was flustered, and also was in the middle of a simultaneous game of Parcheesi and Chutes and Ladders with a group of 12 children. But now, I wish I had talked to the mom sitting behind me on the bench and her children too. We had exchanged a few comments but I woudl like to tell her “Que mal educado este lunch lady, y por qué? Porque ella está tan racista y no sabe como comportase bien.”

Also, I will be writing the principal and the HR person for the school district to report this behavior. I will write tonight, but I’ll find out for sure tomorrow what that woman’s name is because in the morning I’m going to the school to hunt her ass down and explain to her what I feel that I saw. I saw her yell at two little children who may not have even understood her language, and she did it on purpose in front of their mom, to harrass and intimidate the mom and make them all feel small.

I am going to bust that woman, if it is the last thing I do, and if I have to go hang out on the playground every single day until I catch her at it again.

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8 Responses to Truth, liberty, toleration

  1. Chip says:

    It's amazing what happens in schools. I've blogged about how white staff at my kids' elementary school were so openly racist and hostile to kids of color that it was actually shocking (okay, I was a naive white kindergarten parent). I suppose the fact that they have some position of authority, however small it is, gives them in their own minds license to let loose with the resentment, but you are right, this needs to be brought to attention of supervisors.btw here via daddy dialectic.

  2. meno says:

    Not much makes me angrier than to see adults treat children so disrespectfully. You know the adult would flip out if the roles were reversed.Spending some time to bust this woman seems like a worthy pursuit.Go get her!

  3. elswhere says:

    Yes! Go get her!It sounds from the meeting notes below that other school staff want her busted too, but feel hemmed in by regulations. You'll be doing *everyone* (well, except her, but who cares) a favor by making as big a stink as necessary to get her removed from the school if she can't clean up her act.

  4. jerseygirl/formercal says:

    You rock and i mean that in NO SMALL WAY. Thanks, on behalf of those kids.

  5. Vanda says:

    what a bitch!!! Go get her Badger.

  6. LynnElizabeth says:

    Go to it! Cruelty like that cannot be allowed to continue.

  7. Melissa P. says:

    That is the kind of stuff, that teaches young children how to be afraid of adults and or how to have bad behavior.I hope you do write your letters and catch her again!!!!

  8. badgermama says:

    So far I have found it is not the cafeteria worker. It is a yard duty person. When I described the incident to Moomin's teacher she said to keep watching and speaking up, and figure out who it is, and keep confronting them. She said it is hard for the school to find people for that job and it is probably a parent in which case the politics of it becomes quite complicated. We'll see.I also had some thoughts about the idea of "civility" and social class. My expectations are of civility and that's okay in this context. But recently I realized that is an expectation rooted in class background.