When you’re a parent, there is nothing more thrilling then sending your kids off to school for the first time. There is also nothing more terrifying! While you quickly get used to the routine and most of that fear melts away, there’s still a nagging fear of what could happen when your child is out of your line of sight.
One woman in Virginia had to reconsider everything about sending her children to school when they started coming down with daily migraines. What was causing them? She wanted answers. So she dug deep—and what she found out about her children’s school left her totally stunned.
Virginia resident Beth Paulette lived a happy and peaceful life. She raised her sons in King and Queen County, where the boys also attended high school. Everything was business as usual… that is, until the day something strange started happening.
In 2015, out of nowhere, both of Beth’s sons both began coming down with absolutely awful headaches. These migraines went from happening only on occasion to being a daily nightmare. The boys would step off the school bus already in pain. Needless to say, Beth was deeply worried.
Paulette started researching migraines. She learned that they can be caused by all sorts of things, including fatigue, stress, and dehydration. However, from what Paulette could tell, none of these were to blame for her sons’ headaches.
That all changed when one of her sons sent her a text message from school. He included a photograph he’d taken of the food that the cafeteria was offering for lunch. Everything was so burnt it was practically unrecognizable!
When the boys returned home from school that day, Beth immediately asked them about their school’s lunch menu. She quickly learned that inedible offerings like the one they photographed earlier weren’t the exception—they were the rule.
Beth had no doubt that the poor food quality was causing her children’s illness. “They’re awful,” she said. “My two boys are coming home daily with migraines because they can’t eat what’s on their plates at school.”
According to the American Nutrition Association, something as simple as hunger can definitely cause migraines. Beth believed that the substandard food was preventing her children from getting the nutrition they needed each day.
Low blood sugar (or hypoglycemia) is no laughing matter. In addition to causing migraines so severe they can leave a person actually feeling sick, low blood sugar means that your brain isn’t getting enough fuel to function the way it should.
If your blood sugar drops dramatically, the side effects can be even worse. Low blood sugar can lead to dizziness and confusion. In very serious cases without any sort of medical intervention, it can also lead to death.
This is one of the many reasons why it’s important, particularly for growing children, to eat three balanced meals a day. Beth’s boys weren’t getting that because of what was offered at school—so she decided to do something about it.
At first, Beth couldn’t find anyone to help her. That all changed when she finally enlisted the help of WTVR CBS 6, her local news affiliate. When they saw the photographs of the boys’ lunches, they were determined to help her make a real change.
The reporters began their own investigation, and they soon discovered that Beth and her boys weren’t the only ones with feelings about the terrible food being served at school. “It looked so unappetizing I could not bring myself to try it at all,” said another student, Precious Jackson.
It was critical that this problem was solved. In addition to causing migraines, hunger in students can make it very difficult, if not impossible, for them to concentrate and do to their best in the classroom. This food was hurting the students’ futures.
In order to bring better food into the cafeteria, the reporters had to speak with Dr. Stanley Jones. As the superintendent of King and Queen County Schools, it was Dr. Jones’s responsibility to make sure that the students were offered nutritious—and edible—meals.
When Dr. Jones was shown the photos of the terrible food, he was disgusted—but not surprised. He let the news team know that the head of the kitchen was suspended after several other complaints were filed. “If an employee is suspended, generally, it’s going to be related to performance,” he added.
However, the suspended employee in question, Suzanne Gilbertson, had her own take on the matter. “My cafeteria employees have always been told if you’re not going to eat it don’t serve it to the students,” she said.
Suzanne went on to say that, when she was suspended, she wasn’t even managing the high school cafeteria. She said that Dr. Jones hired someone new to do that, and this new employee definitely didn’t have the experience required. She told Dr. Jones she was concerned, and she claimed he simply ignored her.
In fact, when she kept questioning new issues, Suzanne said Dr. Jones verbally slapped her down. “I was advised that these employees, they do not report to me, as they report to human resources and the superintendent,” she revealed.
When asked to comment, Dr. Jones said that it was up to the cafeteria team to work together to best serve the children. With that in mind, he vowed that he would make sure that the kids were no longer served food that they could not eat.
While it remained unclear who was to blame for this burned food, thanks to the hard work of one mom and a team of news reporters, the kids at the local high school will finally have the food they need to get through each day!
When you send your children off to school, the last thing you should be worrying about is if they are going to get the food they need to be at their best. Good for Beth for taking a stand!