I love that my daughter's school does this! I was so excited to do things like go visit my little girl for lunch. That was before I learned I cannot be an approved dividend. At the beginning of the school year, the rule was that you had to be a dividend in order to visit your child for lunch.
When I learned I wasn't going to be approved, at least not anytime soon, I told the dividend department that the school said I needed to be a dividend to join my child for lunch, and that wasn't fair to tell me I couldn't do that.
A week or so later there was an automated call from the school, letting parents know that the rule was being amended, and you no longer needed to be a dividend to join your child for lunch.
The first lunch went ok. They half-heartedly attempted to have all the kids with adults sit at the regular class table, but all at one end, and all the kids without parents at the other end.
Needless to say, that was a disorganized kind of mess. For one thing, all the kids with parents there are excited to show them off, and all the kids without parents there are curious to see their friends parents and say hello. Several of my daughter's friends said hi to me and I politely said hello back. I'm always afraid to say anything more, as if I will get in trouble for having a simple conversation. Often they show me part of their lunch, and I say something like "Goldfish. Cool. I like Goldfish. They're yummy."
I'd also like to mention that the cafeteria is lined with teachers and approved volunteers, so it isn't like anyone is alone with anyone else's kids. Ever.
About two weeks ago, we got the flyer for the next "Lunch with someone you love" so I filled it out and sent it in. A week later, we saw this in the school newsletter:
Wow. Ok, so next year I can still go to lunch but I have to sit outside? And the other parents can join me outside if they want to, or they can sit inside with all the other "good" parents if they want.
I certainly hope this school is not allowed to move forward with such a blatantly segregating rule.
So after that I got to go to lunch with my little girl yesterday. I just want to say that I do understand what they are trying to do, and I do appreciate the efforts to keep our schools "safe" but I don't think there is a way to keep the "riff raff" like myself separate from the general population of parents without creating some very unfair, biased, discriminatory, and outdated rules.
This time they split the cafeteria in half. Kids that had someone they loved there got to sit in one half of the cafeteria and the kids who didn't have anyone who loved them there got to sit in the other half of the cafeteria and watch the kids who had guests from afar. I will say that seems more fair than making me (and other parents that don't meet the strict criteria to be a volunteer) sit outside. But I did feel bad for the kids sitting alone, staring longingly at the "Lunch with someone you love" tables. Because you see, when we volunteer at a school, it is not just our own children who might benefit. It is also those children who DON'T have someone who cares enough to invest their time or energy. The kid who can be so positively affected by just a few kind words of encouragement and a smile. Those kids that are like I was when I was a kid. I want so much to be able to give back to my community like what so many volunteers did for me when nobody from my house could be bothered to care.
Overall, it was a better day than I had hoped. They didn't try to make me sit outside, my daughters' friends' parents treat me normally as far as I can tell. :) And most of all, my daughter seems to be unaffected by any of this nonsense that is my volunteer status and happy with her school and her friends. For that, I am grateful.