AL.com- When Jon Bivens' son came home with a stamp on his hand during the last week of school, Bivens didn't think much of it. "I thought it was a good job stamp," he said.
Upon another glance, Bivens saw that it wasn't a good job stamp. There was a smiley face, and under it a note saying, "I need lunch money."
While he mostly brings his lunch from home, the 8-year-old likes to buy ice cream or other treats from the lunchroom.
Bivens said that, on the last week of school, his son had a positive balance in his account. After he bought his ice cream, the child still had a balance of $1.38.
"They herd these kids like cattle," Bivens said. The father said that his son was "branded."
"When you start stamping a message on a child's body instead of calling...it's not okay. It's a form of bullying and shaming the kids."
Bivens' son did not return to school for the last few days of the academic year.
Gardendale Elementary School Principal Laura Ware said that she was not aware of the incident. She said that the school first sends emails when a child's account balance is low or negative. If parents do not respond, she said that lunchroom workers use the stickers, or stamps, like Bivens' son received.
There ya go Jon, way to hit on all the key words. Bullying, shaming, branding. Those all do a hell of a job of veiling the real problem at hand here, and that is that this dude is a crappy father. That's why he was so quick to overreact and compare elementary school children to livestock. There's simply nothing that bad parents hate more than being outted at bad parents and that's exactly what this stamp did. No one is looking down on an 8 year old because he over-drafted his lunchroom account while trying to cleanse his palate with a 'Firecracker' pop. He's not walking around with his hands wrist deep in his pockets and his head slunk towards the ground because he had insufficient funds available. He's a 3rd grader. 3rd graders aren't going around judging other 3rd graders for their fiscal hardships because they have smiley face stamps on their forearms. If anything his peers were probably jealous that they didn't have one too.
The only person that is being bullied and shamed here is the dad - that clearly ignored a shit ton of emails about his son's cafeteria balance - because under that smiley face that stamp might as well have read "I'm hungry you broke asshole". Sorry that Gardendale Elementary had to get proactive Jon, but if you kept up with your inbox then they wouldn't have had to remind you of your financial responsibility to your offspring that is just trying to stay cool with an ice cold snack during the dog days of the school year. As every retail store that I have stupidly given my e-mail address to can attest, sometimes there's not online alerts in the world to get a person's attention. It's not the school's fault that this guy treated his son's right to sustenance like I treat sales at Macy's.