We have had a number of items go missing from the Middle Primary lunchboxes over the last week or so. Kirstie has worked with the children to take steps towards solving the problem and I also spoke with them today.
When I spoke with the children I shared with them my worries; this issue concerns me for a number of reasons
- Someone may be taking food simply because they are hungry- we have avenues to help families who are struggling. We can put families in touch with support networks. There is no shame in asking for help and no judgement is passed. We would encourage anyone who needs support to get in touch.
- When things go missing, we lose trust in each other. Small communities need strong relationships and strong relationships require trust. We have a great group of children here who have shown us time and time again how honest and reliable they are, we don’t want to lose this. Both Kirstie and I shared past experiences where we have worked in schools where everything was locked up and bars/grates were installed on the windows. These measures are unnecessary when trust is strong.
- These problems can snowball when gossip causes confusion. Children start believing their things are going missing when perhaps they were not even packed at all. We are not at this point quite yet but if we focus on the problem too much it may grow larger, alternatively if we focus on the problem too little, we can have the same effect!
- The missing items are mostly what we would classify as ‘treats’ so perhaps someone isn’t so much hungry but seeking ‘treats.’ We spoke with the children about respecting your choices about what goes in their lunchboxes and giving a very clear message that there is no justifiable reason for taking another persons ‘treats.’
And so, we are trialling having children’s bags and lunchboxes indoors for now. Kirstie will ensure that the room is locked when the class is not in there and we have sent a clear message to children… it is not okay to take things from other people’s bags AND If you need our help, reach out!
Your child/ren may want to talk at home about this issue. We wanted you to know what steps we are taking and our thinking about this issue.