To complain or not to complain?


#1

My special-needs child was competing in a Special Olympics event yesterday (Friday) and the only lunch they were serving the kids was cheeseburgers and fries. I was there and was planning to go get him a fish sandwich at lunch time from a fast-food place. He knows the rules so he told his coach he couldn't eat the cheeseburger. His coach told him "you can have a dispensation for today." The coach told me this when I brought the fish sandwich. I said that my son had to have fish today since it was a Friday in Lent. I just got a blank look. This coach is a teacher at his school and I just couldn't believe she would say this to my son. Now I'm debating whether to complain to the school or just let it go. Next year, I plan to ask in advance about providing alternatives for the children. I have a good relationship with this teacher. What would you do?


#2

I would bring something up casually. Just ask the princibal or something, “We’re Catholic-is there an optional menu for Fridays during lent?” If they say no, don’t start World War 3. Just work around it.

So, I wouldn’t “complain”, I’d just ask them politely about it.

If you come in the office yelling or acting like an idiot, they’re more likely to ignore you.


#3

not so concerned that a teacher or school would not realize the importance of no meat friday. Am very much concerned at a teacher who would respond, especially to a special needs child who already obviously has some health issues, who says “I can’t eat that” and tell him
"yes you can". And you had already made provision to give him the allowed food. What if it had been an allergy situation? You can bet some parent would be storming the office in that scenario.


#4

My issue is not so much about the menu – it’s about the teacher telling him he could have a dispensation. This is an annual event and since Easter is late this year I think they never encountered this issue before. I’ll remind them next year if necessary.


#5

As someone who works with young special needs "adults" i find the coach's attitude terrible. The kosher jew and the moslem kid cant have peperoni pizza! (even if you "break" the rules because a tactilly sensitive aspie wont keep a headscarf on)
plus there are vegans, vegeterians, and naturalists...a parents rules are final.


#6

You’ve already told the teacher, now she knows. I’m sure she feels badly about it. Your child is young and even though we try to encourage no meat on fridays, it sounds like they are still in the age of “it’s okay to eat meat”. Just reiterate to your child that we aren’t supposed to eat meat and why, then let them know it’s okay. It happens.


#7

I’d have been terribly tempted to tell that coach that since I don’t go around telling her how to do her regarding coaching, common courtesy should require that SHE not go around telling ME how to do MY job. . .which in a sense she is trying to do by overriding my decisions and by saying my child ‘need not’ do something I have determined he should do.

I mean, really. As other posters have noted, if your child had a peanut allergy and wouldn’t eat a PBJ would the coach say, “Yes you can.”

If your child were Muslim and observing Ramadan would the coach say, “Oh eat the burger anyway”. . .

If he were a practicing Jew observing kosher and there were only cheeseburgers would the coach say, 'you can eat it anyway". . .

But golly gee, Catholics trying to follow the UNIVERSAL NORM of the Catholic Church get told that no matter what Mom, Dad, the priest, bishop, the Pope and Christ Himself say, doesn’t matter because it’s no big deal, just eat the burger because I the coach have raised myself to the Papal throne and dispense you. . .

Sigh.


#8

I agree the coach should have listened, but it’s possible there was a miscommunication between the child and coach as to the reason why and assuming the child had eaten cheeseburgers before, they might not have understood.

Now if it was a direct attempt to override the child’s religious beliefs/requirements what makes you so sure they’d be more concerned if it was a Jewish Or Muslim tradition?


#9

[quote="heart4home, post:8, topic:236323"]
I agree the coach should have listened, but it's possible there was a miscommunication between the child and coach as to the reason why and assuming the child had eaten cheeseburgers before, they might not have understood.

Now if it was a direct attempt to override the child's religious beliefs/requirements what makes you so sure they'd be more concerned if it was a Jewish Or Muslim tradition?

[/quote]

If the coach actually said, "You can have a dispensation," he knew full well he was overriding a religious practice.

I also have a special needs child, and her teachers are under very strict orders not to give her foods I don't approve. I would think they'd be bending over backwards to accommodate this child already. What a lousy attitude the coach has. I'd complain to the principal.


#10

maybe the coach/teacher wasn't aware you were bringing an alternative?

however.. one would think she could have said something like "I'm sorry, I didn't realize you would be back in time to bring him something else while the other kids were eating. I didn't want him to get too hungry." I find it very weird she just stared at you and didn't apologize. she obviously knows enough about fridays in lent if she's talking about dispensations, otherwise she wouldn't know that word.

if you feel that you need to say something, speak with her privately about the incident. if you didn't make it clear you would be bringing an alternate lunch, apologize for the confusion. if you had let her know ahead of time, and she told him it was ok anyway, then I would definitely speak with the principle about it. calmly. "I've already talked to her, but I think you should be aware that one of your teachers is ignoring parental wishes," or something like that. you can also ask if this situation arises again, to have an alternate menu, or to allow parents to give the coach a note ahead of time and provide the lunch in the morning when dropping the child off. you're more likely to be heard and accommodated if you take the pressure off them.


#11

Thank you, everyone, for your replies. For better or for worse, my son handled this for me in his usual take-no-prisoners autistic style. Yesterday at school he saw the coach in the hall and said, "It's a good thing I didn't listen about the cheeseburger or I would have to go to Confession. Only Father can say it's okay, and you'll never be a Father because you're a woman." :eek: The coach called me and apologized, but she made this remark: "I'm Catholic too, but I didn't know your family was so mega-Catholic." I guess you have to be a mega-Catholic to obey the precepts of the Church these days....:rolleyes: On the positive side, three years ago I was a flag-waving Evangelical, and now I'm a mega-Catholic! Who would have believed it?


#12

:rotfl:BAAHAHAHAHAAA!! Way to go, kid!


#13

ahahaha that’s awesome! :rotfl:


#14

I think here two things could have happened and it is important to find out which happened before we jump all over the coach:

  1. The coach willingly overrided the religious practices of the special needs child

  2. Don’t know if you are aware but just like if someone has a physical ailment if someone is in heavy physical training then yes they can receive a dispensation for the no meat fast. The Apologists on this site have even gone over this. It is not always fair to say just because someone is special needs that they are not in heavy training and do not need the protein or that the coach knew you were bringing the sandwich.

Overall it sounds like communication and charity is needed.


#15

[quote="convert999, post:11, topic:236323"]
Thank you, everyone, for your replies. For better or for worse, my son handled this for me in his usual take-no-prisoners autistic style. Yesterday at school he saw the coach in the hall and said, "It's a good thing I didn't listen about the cheeseburger or I would have to go to Confession. Only Father can say it's okay, and you'll never be a Father because you're a woman." :eek: The coach called me and apologized, but she made this remark: "I'm Catholic too, but I didn't know your family was so mega-Catholic." I guess you have to be a mega-Catholic to obey the precepts of the Church these days....:rolleyes: On the positive side, three years ago I was a flag-waving Evangelical, and now I'm a mega-Catholic! Who would have believed it?

[/quote]

Hi conver999 I was a pentecostal 20 some years ago now I am a Catholic who totally adheres to the magisterium of the Church back then none would have believed that I would become Catholic either welcome home and I am glad that everything turned out okay


#16

I saw the "mega-Catholic" comment and had to roll my eyes. It's one thing that this was a communication error, but really she just shot herself in the foot with that stupid phrase.

Mega-Catholic...please. What a bother to abstain from eating meat a few Fridays of the year, such a tragedy...

I could go off about my own personal experience with having to abstain from meat and dairy products from a non-Christian faith but I won't. :rolleyes:


#17

I missed the Mega-Catholic comment. I will say that there are dispensations available in rare circumstances but those should be taken up rarely. Dispensations IMO should be the rule not the practice. For instance - professional runner training for a marathon - please eat.


#18

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