Dad Sends School Fiery Note After Daughter Shamed for 'Unhealthy' Lunch

A father's heated response to his daughter's school for regulating the contents of her lunchbox has struck a chord with parents online.

School lunch has long been a site of tension between parents and educators. Several years of reports in the U.S. show that students from low-income families can be publicly "shamed" for outstanding school meal debts, through policies including stamping their hands or arms, dumping their food in the trash or providing them cold, partial meals in lieu of a hot lunch.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, child hunger increased across the United States as schools shut down and children who relied on school meals were left stranded. After schools reopened, they struggled with depleted food supplies and cafeteria workforce shortages due to the continued ripple effects from the pandemic.

On top of these hurdles, many parents express frustration over having their children's lunchboxes regulated by school staff. Ross Hunt, who runs a wax melt business in Wales, U.K., has gone viral for his heated response to his daughter's school.

School Cafeteria
A father’s heated response to his daughter’s school for regulating the contents of her lunchbox has struck a chord with parents online. Here, a school cafeteria in Louisville, Kentucky. Jon Cherry / Stringer/Getty Images North America

Hunt shared his story in a TikTok video on May 27, garnering over 445,000 views. He explained that his daughter Isabelle had been shamed by a cafeteria worker for the "unhealthy" snacks in her lunchbox.

"'Oh don't eat that, eat your sandwich, you shouldn't have that,'" Hunt quoted, impersonating the staff.

The father also told Newsweek that the staffer directs students to eat their food in a specific order. "All we want is for our daughter to eat in whatever order she wants to," he said.

In his video, Hunt called the regulations "f**king irritating" and said they "put Isabelle off from taking her lunch with her."

He also pointed out the hypocrisy of the school, which itself provided sweets to students. "It's alright if you eat the chocolate cake at school kids do, but you put one in their lunchbox, they say, 'Oh no, shouldn't have that.'"

In response, Hunt affixed a label to the inside of his daughter's lunchbox.

Welcome to Isabelle's lunch box," said the large printed message. "We are aware of the contents of this box and are happy for Isabelle to eat whatever she wants.
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"Welcome to Isabelle's lunch box," said the large printed message. "We are aware of the contents of this box and are happy for Isabelle to eat whatever she wants."

Hunt said he was tempted to "ram it full of sweets," but satisfied himself with one bag of Rainbow Drops candy packed together with fruits.

"Stop telling kids what they should and shouldn't eat and let the f**king parents decide," he concluded his tirade.

In a follow-up video with 678,000 views, Hunt displayed the contents of the lunchbox his daughter brought home. Her candies were untouched, he said, because she was only allowed to eat them if she had her carrots first. But the carrots were also untouched, he showed.

"These are the carrots. She didn't want to eat these because they fell on the floor. What do you want her to do?" he asked.

"She did eat her sandwich," he added. "For reference, this sandwich would've contained more sugar than these Rainbow Drops. That is six grams of Rainbow Drops. Calm down."

Hunt said Isabelle had some bites of her apple, but her crisps, pear and chocolate egg all went uneaten because she "didn't have time."

"Of course, she got in the car and was immediately hungry," the father fumed.

Hunt received an outpouring of empathy from parents who said they were enraged by the same rules at their children's schools.

I was shocked when this started happening at my son's daycare," wrote one parent. "It infuriates me. I PACKED IT. And what if that food is all we got from the food bank?
TikTok comment

"I was shocked when this started happening at my son's daycare," wrote one parent. "It infuriates me. I PACKED IT. And what if that food is all we got from the food bank?"

"It's a nightmare," another agreed. "They promote healthy eating but my child comes home saying they had pizza and chips and some cake so which part of that is healthy?"

A third viewer wrote, "This literally winds me up so much! Kids have minds of their own and can choose what they want to eat! You obviously approved everything in there!"

Hunt told Newsweek the staff had yet to respond to his lunchbox note.

"We'll speak to the school on Monday," he said. "We're hoping we won't have to escalate it further."