Great news for everyone who hates children: an elementary school in Alabama just stamped a child's arm with the phrase "I need lunch money!"
Jon Bivens didn't think much of it at first when his third grade son came home from Gardendale Elementary School with a smiley face stamped on his arm.
"I thought it was a good job stamp," he told AL.com. Then, when he read it closely, he realized it read, "I need lunch money."
WTF. How are you gonna stamp a child with message like that?
"They herd these kids like cattle," Bivens said. "He's been branded."
*Artist's interpretation of public school cafeterias.
Damn right. Comparisons between the public school system and factory farms ring truer by the day. Now they are branding children.
"It's a form of bullying and shaming the kids," Bivens continued. "When you start stamping a message on a child's body instead of calling...it's not okay."
No kidding. There are so many levels of wrongness going on here. First of all, this is obviously humiliating. A family's finances shouldn't have to be the child's concern. And they definitely shouldn't be the concern of all of his classmates who, let's assume, know how to read.
Secondly, he's a third grade child, not a giant carrier pigeon. And even carrier pigeons have their messages written on a piece of paper, not their wing. How could this possibly be the school's best method of communication? What kind of education are these children getting when the extent of the school's technology ends at a rubber stamp? Someone should stamp the principal's arm with "I need Internet access."
Thirdly—and least importantly but we are already here—what the hell is going on with the message being in the first-person? We know that kid didn't stamp himself. Is "I need lunch money" supposed to be cute, like it was his idea? Knock it off, he's not a dog you're trying to make famous on the Internet.
As if this story wasn't so bizarre already, Biven's son didn't even need any money! Not that stamping a child as being cash poor is ever acceptable, but Bivens said his kid almost always brings his lunch to school and only uses his cafeteria account to buy treats. He still had $1.38 in his account, and it was the last week of school, so Bivens wasn't going to add more money right before summer.
The school's principal Laura Ware tried to explain things by saying the lunchroom staff uses various forms of communication when a child is running low on funds, including calling and emailing, as well as stickers and stamps. So, what, the stamps are like when creditors start calling you late at night to harass you? In any case, Biven said he never got a call or an email this time, which you would have to assume comes before branding an 8-year-old.
"I don't care if my son has a -$100 balance... I don't care," Bivens told AL.com. "Send me a note home or an email... Where can I draw the line regarding my parental rights?"
He should probably draw that line right across the principal's face with a big, inky stamp.