Public schools

School Punishes Boy For Sharing His Lunch with Hungry Friend


Kyle Bradford

A pull-your-hair-out school discipline story is making the rounds: Weaverville Elementary School in California punished a 13-year-old boy who committed the crime of sharing his lunch with a friend.

Eighth-grader Kyle Bradford's act of charity and kindness is strictly prohibited under school policy because one student may be allergic to another student's food. KRCTV reports:

The policies set by the district say that students can have allergies that another student may not be aware of.

Tom Barnett, the Superintendent of the Trinity Alps Unified School District says that hygiene issues also come into play when banning students from sharing meals.

"We have a policy that prohibits students from exchanging meals. Of course if students are concerned about other students not having enough to eat we would definitely want to consider that, but because of safety and liability we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals," said Barnett.

I can understand the need to consider students' allergies, but is it really necessary to punish the boy? Couldn't a teacher have simply said, "That was kind of you, Kyle, but here is why we can't let students share meals," and left it at that? Not in the police state that is modern schooling, it seems.

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  1. They need a paper trail (i.e., the computer equivalent) just in case they get sued by the parents of some child who had an allergic reaction to another child’s food. “Look, we have a policy of punishing this sort of thing, so we’re being as careful as we can, this is a regrettable accident and not negligence!”

    1. Oh, and, uh, the welfare of the children. That’s their main concern. Almost forgot to mention that.

    2. And then they’ll get sued and lose anyway. Why bother?

    3. I find this sort of thing remarkable… given that in my lifetime, 13yr olds caught smoking cigarettes were given ‘a good yelling’, and sent back to class. Fighting resulted in “to the principal’s office!”, and if a tooth was lost or fingers broken, a letter to parents would ensue.

      And at the time I – like any red-blooded American teen – felt that school was *still* an omnipresent Fascist imposition of authority attempting to constrain my natural freedoms. We would sometime throw rocks through school windows at night in protest. Or at least Jason did. He later became a cop!

      If anything, this ‘zero tolerance’ bullshit attitude, where the schools police and punish every form of interaction, seems built to prepare students for a life where they expect ‘regulation’ to exist in every corner of human life. ‘Real Life’ will seem like *total anarchy*! and they will demand “someone DO something!” to ensure they never need to rely on their own judgement or wit.

      That, or they’re trying to breed a generation who has utter contempt for any form of authority whatsoever.

      1. I know, it”s crazy. I remember when The Wall came out and every school kid identified with the “Teachers, leave those kids alone”

        But today’s schools are like prisons.

  2. May Tom Barnett’s dick shrivel up, blacken, and then fall off.

    1. You are assuming he has a dick?


  3. Wouldn’t a student with allergies know about them and, say, decline the offer of a pb&j sandwich? And if the allergy was previously unknown, then couldn’t the student get ill from whatever slop the cafeteria was serving him? This wouldn’t have been an issue 40 years ago, but then (and I know correlation isn’t causation) the law schools weren’t churning out tens of thousands of litigation-hungry and un(der)employed lawyers in those days.

    1. At 13, the student receiving the food should be totally capable of determining if the food was safe to eat or not.

      1. Of course. How is the cafeteria employee to know any better than the classmate what food the student can eat? Why wouldn’t a student with food allergies tell a classmate s/he was getting food from about it, any less than s/he’d tell the cafeteria employee? What, does the staff have a photo of the student labeled, “Don’t feed this student chicken”? I’m sure that’s not the case.

    2. PB&J? No, no.

      Kyle Bradford, 13, shared his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria.

      A chicken burrito is much more dangerous.

      1. Lactose Intolerance!!!

        Wait. No, then his welfare cheese sandwich wouldn’t have been kosher either.

        Seriously. How does this shit go on? We swapped food all the time when I was a kid. And I can’t think of anyone in our entire school who had a deadly nut allergy.

        I’m not saying that these allergies don’t exist, but I bet that if you made kids pass a double blind test you would see nut allergies (and gluten) rates plummet.

        1. You didn’t know any kids with nut allergies because they were all killed off the way nature intended.

          1. +1

            – the weak

  4. Couldn’t a teacher have simply said, “That was kind of you, Kyle, but here is why we can’t let students share meals,” and left it at that?

    Well, sure, if this were the United Stateless Zones of Somalia, but rules are rules. Also, this is why we need increased government spending on school lunches.

  5. The proper course of action would have been to allow the child to go home and then swat raid his home at 4am. That would teach the little scofflaw who is boss.

    1. And shoot his dog if he has one. Or cat. Why don’t cops shoot more cats? I hate cats.

      1. Cops don’t shoot more cats because they can’t. Cats are much smaller targets and run away from strangers making them impossibly hard to hit for the average cop’s marksmanship skills.

        1. And that’s stopped them when?

          1. Oh the popo fire AT the cats, they just never hit, hence very few cats get shot.

  6. Just another brick in the law.

      1. If your meat hasn’t been vetted for allergens, you can’t have any pudding!

        For that matter, the pudding itself may be dangerous!

    1. If you can’t share your meat you can’t share any pudding.

      1. How can you share any pudding if you don’t beat your meat?

        Wait, wrong joke…

      2. Heard a bluegrass version of that song on the college radio station last week. It was… interesting.

        1. As good as the Scissor Sisters dance club cover of Comfortably Numb?

          1. I thought the Scissor Sisters didn’t feel like dancing?

  7. In the ancient times of my spell in a one-room rural school we learned the workings of the free market by swapping items in our bag lunches. Also the principle of caveat emptor.

    1. +1 bag of Doritos for a Snack pack

  8. OT but commentariat poll needed:
    My friends son was cited for curfew violation with his friend. 4am, mall parking lot. Both are 15. They, and parents, were unaware of such things as curfew laws. Cops decided to bully kids, handcuffing one, and then cite them before releasing them to my friend (who had shown up at the call of here son). One cop told her “it’s ok ma’am, we are trying to teach them a lesson.”

    A. Guess race of second boy.
    B. Would you get a lawyer?
    C. Is your only disappointment in the fact they got caught…open area, no vigilance regarding leos, didn’t run, etc.

    Bonus question: Would you counsel the kids to lie to the cops about their age or simply remain completely silent?

    1. Well, my sympathy is very limited for any parent who allows their 15 year old to roam the streets at 4 am. That said:

      I’m not seeing much a legal claim here. Assuming there is a curfew, it was a legitimate stop by the LEOs. Now, if curfew violation isn’t a criminal offense, then the cuffs were not kosher.

      Dumbass cops should have just made the kids call their parents to come and get them. In my day [waves cane], that would have resulted in ample discipline.

      1. When I was 15, the police made us pour our beers out.

        We used to complain that there were no drinking ages in Europe. And of course the American government solution since then has only been increased violence.

      2. Unless you have an alarm system on every window and change the password regularly such that the kids don’t know it, how the hell are you supposed to know that your hellspawn snuck out at 4am?

      3. You never went “camping” when you were 15?

      4. Get a consultation w/a lawyer, preferably a free consultation…see if there’s any options and if so how much they cost…incidentally, don’t get your hopes up…

    2. I would never counsel anyone to lie to the cops. They put people in jail for that. Better to remain silent.

    3. My alphabet isn’t intended to match yours.

      A, file a complaint for the handcuffing.
      B, always silence, never lies
      C,I would support hiring a lawyer, but it’ll cost 20 or so times the amount of the fine. Freedom ain’t free.
      D, This is how you learn that the cops are predators, hunting for money and freedom. They will be more careful next time, bet on it.
      E, I personally don’t believe that 15 y/o’s should be considered minors for most purposes. When I was 15, myself and many of my friends were far more responsible than our parents. What about kids like us?
      F, The race of the kids is irrelevant. Same shit happen across all racial lines.

      1. Reference D…

        Two more libertarians in the world.

        The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

        1. Were that entirely true, there would really be an incipient “Libertarian Moment”.

    4. Counsel them to politely assert their rights against search/seizure and self incrimination.

    5. Fuck those cops arrogance, but the best way to not get in trouble is to not be where you can get caught breaking curfew.

      Oh, and curfew laws are kinda stupid.

    6. How in the fuck are curfews constitutional?

    7. A.) Since you asked specifically, I’m going with “black”

      B.) Don’t see a point.

      C.) I’d say I’m more disappointed they weren’t off playing D&D somewhere, instead of hanging out in the Mall parking lot. That’s where I would have been at 4am when I was 15. (In my car, of course, since I had my D/L already.)

      Don’t run from the cops. If they’re in enough shape to chase you, the beating will be worse if they catch you. If they’re not in enough shape to run, they might just shoot you.

      Bonus: Don’t lie to the cops. Remain silent if you must, but make sure to warn them that they’re likely to get arrested if they play that card.

    8. interesting.

      a) I have no idea. *one* was handcuffed? are you suggesting he’s black? I thought it would be whomever mouthed off first.

      b) no. fuck lawyers. no one got hurt.

      c) no. I’d tell my kid never to run from cops. They might shoot. By contrast, i’d teach the kid how to talk to cops in the way that makes them let you go..’with a warning’.

      bonus) I’d council the kids to know what time cops start prowling to make arrests because they are at the end of their shifts and want to book some overtime… i’d say, ‘between 3AM and 5AM, lay low if you’re out fooling around.

  9. Do they still serve pizza in the cafeteria? Even today I get hungry just thinking about it – does that make we weird?

    1. that shit was shag carpet squares…I remember when there was a booming secondary market in hostess products from all the uppity rich kids.

      I once traded a banana for one, I still consider it one of the best trades I ever made.

      1. First – you are absolutely correct on the shag-pizza. God, that stuff was awful (I grew up in a town full of great pizza places).
        Second – that is an epic trade. I never managed one that good.

      2. First – you are absolutely correct on the shag-pizza. God, that stuff was awful (I grew up in a town full of great pizza places).
        Second – that is an epic trade. I never managed one that good.

        1. Obviously the squirrelz liked the pizza…

    2. If you would have said “thirsty” then yes I would have believed you. That thing was a salty mess on top of a floppy rectangle of “dough.”

  10. How did this species ever survive? We should have died out thousands of years ago, based on the current liberal’s assessment of our fragility.

  11. I have been repeatedly assured that this is NOT the inevitable end of statism, but it seems to me that the US is slouching into an object example that totalitarianism can be implemented in a republican democracy or any other system that allows for unenumerated powers to collect to the governing class.

    1. The logical conclusion of reacting to the consequences of shitty rules with more shitty rules is totalitarianism.

      Without an incentive to get rid of shitty rules, the end will always be totalitarian despotism.

      And so far in human history, no one has managed to find a way to create such an incentive.

      1. Sarc – we’re just ONE MOAR rule away from progtopia. Always….

        1. Progtopia is on the horizon, and we know what happens when we run toward the horizon.

      2. So when the next democratic republic is tried 1,000 years from now they need to make sure there is a lifetime elected position of “Chief Rule Destroyer”?

        1. I’m partial to what Heinlein described in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

          Two legislative houses. They each serve the opposite function. One’s only power is to create legislation, and it requires two thirds to pass anything. The other’s only power is to repeal legislation, and it only needs one third to do so.

          That way something better be pretty damn important to be passed, and if a third hates it then it probably sucks anyway.

          While I’m sure people would find a way to fuck it up, at least there would be an incentive to repeal bad legislation.

          1. I feel like such a bad libertarian for having never read Heinlein. I should remedy that.

          2. I’d settle for a constitutional amendment requiring ALL laws sunset at 7-10 years requiring they repass each one individually. Adding if they didn’t pass it on it’s own merit all people being punished for its violation are immediately released/reimbursed.

            Not only would it get rid of bad legislation, it would keep those idiots so busy they’d be unable to create new legislation.

      3. I have an outline for utopian novel in which a society is governed by a faceless “council” that almost never makes rules, and there are very few in existance. In order to be elected to the council you have to initiate and win a national campaign. Doing so ostensibly gains you a seat on the council and the promised comfortable life of essentially a king. The only thing is, you can never return to society.

        What anyone who can really win an election gets is a bullet in the back of the head by the actual governing appartus.

  12. I quit brown bagging lunchboxing it in middle school since we had a cafeteria. I really, really liked the school sloppy joe. Looked FORWARD to eating it, I did. Thank God they had it at least once a week.

    Second fave was “Hamburg and Gravy on Mashed Potato”, which I liked, but no one else did.

  13. I believe kids are old enough to know what they can and can’t eat by the time they hit grade school.

    because of safety and liability

    Yea, school admins can’t be bothered to learn how to use an epi-pen, should the need arise.

  14. Since all school employees are forced to sign a form saying they will report any form,of child abuse, etc shouldn’t another employee report the teacher/admin that stopped the kid from giving the other food? After all, intentionally starving a child or depriving him,of food sounds like deliberate abuse to,me.

    1. Feeding a kid cafeteria food is abuse in my book.

  15. Eighth-grader Kyle Bradford’s act of charity and kindness is strictly prohibited under school policy


  16. “it’s ok ma’am, we are trying to teach them a lesson.”

    That (very useful) lesson: THE POLICE ARE YOUR ENEMY.

  17. Trigger warning…I am going to rant:



    Rant complete. Thank you for listening. I feel better now.

    1. It’s cathartic right?

    2. I agree with everything except for the age. Didn’t you get the memo? “Kids” are retarded until the age of 26.

  18. Isn’t fear of allergies a good reason to disestablish the public schools and have kids learn remotely from home? I thought social interaction with other students was the main selling point of schooling over homeschooling. Have they decided to openly present themselves as babysitters?

  19. Does anyone else but me see that this article is completely misrepresentative of what actually happened? The “act of charity and kindness” that he performed by “sharing his lunch with a friend” who was “hungry” makes it seem as if the kid would’ve gone without lunch if Kyle hadn’t done this. However, if you read the linked source article you will find that the reason his friend was hungry was because he didn’t want to eat what had already been served to him by the cafeteria. I do agree with the author’s point that a simple explanation of the policy would’ve been a better way to handle this, I just don’t like the seemingly misleading way the incident was framed.

  20. Hungry because he has nothing to eat or hungry because he has nothing he likes to eat – you see much of a difference? I don’t care if he was sharing food with his gluttonous friend who had just been through the lunch line twice.

  21. Well, I googled that raving bureaucrat and sent him this:

    Mr. Barnett,

    Kyle Bradford did the right thing, and you owe him, his parents, and the rest of the children in that school an apology.

    Your idiotic stance defending the punishment of a child for having the decency to share his lunch with a friend shows the world that like far too many other bureaucrats taking up space in the public school system, you are too goddamned stupid to hold any position of public trust.


  22. The school policy of “…if students are concerned about students not having enough to eat, we would definitely want to consider that…” is contradicted by their zero tolerance enforcement. What is made clear by the school’s actions is their commitment to punishment for any infraction, no matter how justified. This is what is to be expected in a state (govt.) run school. It is consistent with the purpose of mandatory attendance at penal-like institutions of indoctrination. The lesson taught is clear: obey authority or suffer, no exceptions.

    The purpose of enforced attendance is not education. It is to create “citizens”, i.e., a populace whose first reaction to authority is to obey, even against reason. It that is what you want, keep sending your children to public schools.

  23. More “nanny state” insanity. I understand the hygiene concerns but, they allow them to share pencils, books, etc. You (Reason) make the very good point: just explain to the child WHY the school doesn’t want students to share food. Too logical. Besides, isn’t it the responsibility of the child and, thus, the responsibility of the child, to know what foods he/she is allergic to? Other than that, the only way to know if one has an allergy to anything is to have a reaction to a substance. Who’s fault is that? No ones.

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