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A Teacher Crusades for Better School Food and Gets Stomped

April 6th, 2010 · 49 Comments · Posted in school food, Tales

Mendy Heaps with grandchildren

Mendy Heaps with grandchildren

Mendy Heaps, a stellar English teacher for years, had never given much thought to the food her seventh-graders were eating. Then her husband, after years of eating junk food, was diagnosed with cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure and suddenly the french fries, pizza and ice cream being served in the cafeteria at rural Elizabeth Middle School outside Denver, Col., took on a whole new meaning.

Heaps was roused to action. She started teaching nutrition in her language arts classes. She bombarded colleagues, administrators and the local school board with e-mails and news clippings urging them to overhaul the school menu. She even took up selling fresh fruits and healthy snacks to the students on her own, wheeling alternative foods from classroom to classroom on a makeshift “fruit cart,” doling out apples for a quarter.

Finally, the school’s principal, Robert McMullen, could abide Heaps’ food crusade no longer. Under threat of being fired, Heaps says she was forced to sign a personnel memorandum agreeing to cease and desist. She was ordered to undergo a kind of cafeteria re-education program, wherein she was told to meet with the school’s food services director, spend part of each day on lunch duty recording what foods the students ate, and compile data showing the potential economic impact of removing from the menu the “grab and go” foods Heaps found so objectionable.

“It was humiliating to stand in the cafeteria in front of the kids and the other teachers every day ‘collecting data,’ ” Heaps says. “I called it my penance.”

Heaps’ husband, Robert Heaps, a retired police officer, said his wife is paying the price for rocking the boat in a small town. “Unfortunately, she works in a sem-rural district in a tight-knit community where change isn’t always at the top of the list of things to do,” he said. “My only concern for Mendy is that it seems she is fighting a losing battle. I don’t care to see rifts created between her and the school board or the administration over an issue as important as this. I suspect she could become a target and subjected to hostile work conditions. But she appears to be up against a brick wall.”

McMullen did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The case of Mendy Heaps is a stark reminder that at least one voice is largely missing from the debate over school food that’s getting so much attention lately: the voice of teachers. Teachers see what kids eat every day. They have opinions about the the food and how it impacts children’s health and school performance. Yet they are almost universally silent.

With one notable exception: An Illinois teacher recently created an internet sensation by blogging anonymously and publishing photos about her self-imposed diet of cafeteria food. Calling herself “Mrs. Q,” she frequently writes about her fear that she could be fired for exposing what kids are eating every day at school.

As I was gathering information for this report, Heaps said her local teachers union urged her to stop talking to me. “The union rep in my building came to my classroom and ‘begged’ me to stop everything I was doing,” Heaps wrote in an e-mail. “She insisted they will find a way to ‘get rid of me’ and there is nothing the union will do to help me. HOW’S THAT FOR SUPPORT!!!”

Heaps says it isn’t so much the food served in the federally subsidized cafeteria line that concerns her most, although that’s bad enough: “Mashed potatoes and corn are usually served more than anything else, along with breaded chicken nuggets, chicken patties, and chicken tenders,” she said. “Hamburger patties are also served a lot–drenched in canned gravy with mashed potatoes sitting on top of a slice of bread or on a bun with a serving of corn or green beans.”

Students who choose the subisidized meal are also entitled to a salad bar. But only a small percentage of students at the school qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on family income and apparently fewer still choose to pay for the federally supported food. According to Heaps, some say they are embarrassed to be seen in the subsidized food line.

No, what really makes her blood boil are the alternate foods sold in what the school calls the “deli” line or “grab and go”:  Pizza, corn dogs, Subway sandwiches, Chick-fil-A, Cheetos, nachos, fruit rollups, ice cream sandwiches and especially the “healthy” fries. “They call them ‘healthy’ because they’re baked!” Heaps says. According to numbers she compiled while assigned to the cafeteria, somewhat fewer than half  the 170 students in seventh grade bring lunch from home. Only a very small number–15 to 24–eat the reimbursible “hot lunch,” she said. Between 25 and 30 do not eat, and the rest–58 to 78–purchase food at the “grab and go.”

It reminded Heaps too much of her husband’s lousy diet. “When I met him about nine years ago, the only liquids that passed his lips were Pepsi and coffee and sometimes orange juice. He never ate fruit or vegetbles or dank water. The folks at McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme knew him by his first name,” Heaps said. “If he did cook for himself, it was processed food–pizza, pot pies, hot pockets, hot dogs, canned soups and chili, lots of chips and Hostess cupcakes…Bob had no knowledge of nutrition–tomato sauce and french fries were vegetables, Wonder bread was vitamin fortified, and apple pie was the same thing as eating an apple.”

Robert Heaps was diagnosed with kidney stones and while he was being treated for that he was found to have bladder cancer. He underwent surgery three times to remove tumors, each time followed by weeks of chemo-therapy. Subsequently he was found to be suffering Type II diabetes and high blood pressure.

Mendy Heaps’ concern about the food being served at school became urgent. “I started feeling guilty that I had never really done anything to change what was going on, even though I knew it was wrong.”  Heaps said she could not understand why the school condoned students eating so much “junk” food. “Why do we serve or sell ANYTHING that isn’t good for the kids?” she said. “I hate the food they serve, but I hate even worse that they sell so much JUNK along with the bad food they serve.”

According to Heaps, food services director Susan Stevens and other school officials respond that students are entitled to “treats,” and should be free to choose their own food. “They feel like my ideas are too radical and you should not ‘restrict’ kids,” Heaps said.

Stevens did not respond to requests for comment. In an e-mail she sent to Heaps on April 28, 2009, she said, “My job is to provide each student with a healthy meal that adheres exactly to CDE [Colorado Department of Education] mandated nutrition guidelines. Our kitchens and staff are regularly audited to prove that we follow these guidelines and that we are all in compliance with state safety and health regulations.”

Ron Patera, who oversees food services as the school system’s finance director, said in a statement, “Ms. Heaps and I are both in support of providing nutritious and safe meals to Elizabeth’s students so they have every opportunity to enhance their academic peformance. Elizabeth’s schools meet and exceed the Federal and State laws governing the National School Lunch Program.”

Federal nutrition guidelines currently do not cover foods sold outside the subsidized food line. Legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate would, for the first time, give the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to regulate all foods available in public schools. That measure reflects growing sentiment that schools need to address a nationwide epidemic of childhood obesity and stop selling nutritionally inferior food to students.

Heaps said one of her students was unable to use a standard-size desk in class because she was so heavy and had to be outfitted with a special table instead. That student habitually ate choco-tacos for lunch from the “grab and go”–two or three of them, according to Heaps–”and washed them down with a big Gatorade.”

Klondike brand choco-taco is an ice cream dessert folded inside a cookie and dipped in chocolate. A single choco-taco contains 290 calories (40 calories more than a McDonald’s cheesburger), 11 grams of saturated fat (four grams more than a BallPark beef hotdog) and 24 grams of sugar, (slightly less than a one-cup serving of Coca-Cola). “Of course the kids loved them and I’m sure the cafeteria made a boat load of money selling them,” Heaps said. “They were meant for dessert, but what middle school kids do–when they have money and there is a ‘concession stand’ open at lunch–is they buy only ‘dessert’ and eat it for lunch. Duh–they’re kids.” Heaps said the school no longer offers choco-tacos.

Heaps said she was told that sales from foods such as nachos and ice cream were needed to support the lunch program. But student behavior after meals was so disruptive, classes following lunch were rotated so that no single teacher would be forced to bear the brunt of it every day. “They were hyper and crazy…and then they crashed,” Heaps said.

At one point, Heaps began teaching nutrition with seventh-grade science teachers but found she could not reconcile what they were telling the children in class with what the children were being served in the cafeteria. In an e-mail she sent to the entire school staff, Heaps wrote: “When I started teaching nutrition a la language arts/science, I realized everything I was teaching did not go along with what is happening at our school when it comes to eating healthy. Do I simply tell the kids we need the money more than they need their future health? Or should I tell them that maybe only ‘some’ of them will get diabetes or cancer or have heart attacks–so go ahead and play the odds!”

Finally, Heaps took matters into her own hands and started selling what she considered healthier foods from her “fruit cart.”

“I used the cart that my overhead projector sat on,” Heaps explained. “Once I started selling fruit in my classroom and the kids knew, they kept coming to my room to buy it…I decided to take the fruit to them. I got some kids to help. We piled the fruit on the cart (we also had cheese sticks, granola bars, peanuts) and the kids pushed it around from room to room.”

Heaps said the parents of one of her students were local produce distributors and started delivering fresh fruit to her on Wednesdays. “My sister gave me a small refrigerator for my classroom so I could keep things cold. The fruit they delivered was awesome. They let me buy it at a discount so I was getting strawberries, blueberries, pears, all different kinds of apples. It was great.”

But Heaps made a mistake one day, taking the cart into the cafeteria during lunch. Federal rules forbid competing food being sold alongside the subsidized meal. “I had taken the Fruit Cart in the cafeteria because the kids wanted to have some fruit for lunch and the cafeteria either wasn’t selling any, or the fruit I had was so much better, the kids wanted it instead.” Then she sent an e-mail to the school staff–except the principal and assistant principal–in which she referred to the kichen workers as “evil lunch ladies.” Heaps said she meant it as a joke, but the gaffe was her undoing.

In a personnel memo dated May 1, 2009, principal Robert Mcmullen wrote, in part, “Your continued campaign has caused dusruption to the normal operatons of the district Food Serivce Director, district Finance Director, myself, your colleagues and the school…Therefore, I am issuing the following directive:

“You will support and treat all school and district personnel and departments with respect.

“You will include Mr. Westfall [assistant principal] and myself on all mass emails from or to school accounts.

“You will cease the fruit cart sales after the end of the school year.

“You will spend at least 15 minutes each day on lunch duty for the remainder of the 2009 school year. This will give you an opportunity to observe what our students are truly eating at lunch.

“You will bring me hard numbers regarding the percentages of EMS [Elizabeth Middle School] students who do eat hot lunches each day. These numbers will include both the full lunch as well as the pizza, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, etc. served in the hot line.

“You will meet with Susan Stevens, before the end of this school year, to better understand the realities of the economics of Elizabeth Food Services. Let me know when that meeting will take place and report to me your findings.

“You will bring to me the data showing the economic costs of eliminating the ‘Grab and Go’ line as you have proposed.

“You were hired to teach Language Arts. You will ensure that all your units, lessons and materials focus on the Language Arts standards and benchmarks.”

Heaps says she no longer teaches nutrition in her classes. But she does talk to her students about her husband and “how much our life changed when he got sick.”

“When I got the memo, everyone became afraid,” said Heaps. “If I tried to talk about the memo, no one wanted to listen. I got a little support from a couple of teachers, but not very much. Everyone wanted to forget about it and they wanted me to forget about it too…The only thing I still do is write letters and try to get someone interested! I’m working on one for Michelle Obama right now.”

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  • sti1990

    We’ve had this discussion before at our elementary school PTA meetings and got no where. Basically, Food Services is a business, and if they can make more money selling junk food, then there’s nothing to stop them.

    When my oldest was in 1st grade, her teacher would not allow her class to go to “Snack Attack”. That was just her rule. Well, how things change in 5 years because my 2nd said there’s no such rule anymore. I can’t help but wonder if our teacher got similar treatment as Mendy Heaps.

  • Peta

    We are only now having these conversations here in the Hoboken school district! My district doesn’t even have Wellness Committee in place yet, so very far behind and I only wish there were some, even one teachers here willing speak up and be heard!

    Thanks to all the teachers who are NOT afraid to to do the right thing!

  • pennyjov

    I truly applaud Mrs. Heaps for her tenacity and her courage for standing up to the school district in which she is employed.
    As a Resgistered Nurse I am also very concerned about the foods that we Americans eat daily. We are now “force feeding” our children with “food programs” that are supposed to be nutritious. Unfortunately, the foods our children eat are some of the most unhealthy of processed foods. Full of chemical preservatives, loaded with fat and calories, and completely unappetizing to most adults.
    Thanks to Mrs. Heaps for being a courageous leader in the fight for bettering children’s nutrition. Now if we can all follow her lead…

  • FropaJones

    What an outrage at how this wonderful woman is being treated! It’s terrible how those in charge are more concerned with maintaining control instead of fixing problems. Rock on, Mrs. Heaps-you are doing a fabulous thing!

  • twinnmichelle

    I emailed it to the white house – maybe Mrs. Obama can re-write the menu. :)

  • madmom

    Wow, this poor, poor teacher. So mistreated….not!
    I’ve had two children in her classes. Neither one is at the school now, thank goodness. She was pushing an agenda on these kids and felt free to do it since her great friend, another teacher, is the wife of the school board president. Can anyone say “conflict of interest”. I complained to the board twice about her “agenda” and nothing was done. I had to wait until my youngest was out of the school to complain. This child begged me to not complain before then as she would embarrass the kids in her class in front of classmates if their parents complained. She was call them out in front of everyone. My child was in her honors LA class; was in honors before her. This child did not pass the honors test to move up in the next grade as she only taught her “agenda” and kind of forgot about things like, oh, grammar. The next teacher this child had was angry that she had to teach them 7th grade grammar before they could be taught the 8th grade grammar they needed. I was also told my another parent this year that the kids were going on a field trip and she and her cohorts SEARCHED their lunches for bad snacks. SEARCHED THEIR LUNCHES! Still feel bad for this lady? She is out of control and a horrible teacher!

  • ToddBS

    You will spend at least 15 minutes each day on lunch duty for the remainder of the 2009 school year. This will give you an opportunity to observe what our students are truly eating at lunch.

    I’m surprised an employer can get away with something like this. Like this entire “directive” in fact. I can see no other reason for it than to humiliate her into submission.

  • Thinker67

    As a parent in this district, I would like to have you all reread this article. Ms. Heaps is an L.A. teacher. These children were getting triple dosed in health: health class, science (nutrition) class, and then L.A. My daughter took much to heart and refused to eat ANYTHING…too worried about being fat and way to young (developmentally simply couldn’t understand the balance) to have all of this “education.” She developed a short term eating disorder due to all the pressure from the adults. I did have to get involved after Ms. Heaps started showing videos of liver disease in her L.A. (!) class. I applaud her passion. But she needs to teach health! NOT L.A. Finally we do live in a semi-rural town. Ranchers, farmers, and very hard workers. We are in Colorado-top ten in healthy lifestyles. My kids all play sports, work out, and we show horses. All strenuous and good ole’ hard work and we pretty much eat what we want and still keep VERY fit! There are always two sides to a story.

  • n5309

    I really do find it unfortunate that a student mistook the health information. I don’t think Mrs. Heaps’ intention was to cause radical diet change and I’m certain it was not her intention to cause eating disorders. I agree, she is a L.A. teacher. But I don’t think that means she has to be tied down to one way of teaching. I think it’s pretty interesting to see an educator think outside of the box and incorporate different ideas into thier set curriculum. But that is just my opinion. I am not going to presume that I know enough about curriculum and the difficulities of being a teacher in the public school system, to tell her exactly how to do her job.

  • BH0410

    Reply @Thinker67

    First, I want you to know that I am sorry for what not only your daughter, but your family has gone through with the eating disorder. I hope she seeks help to overcome that.

    I do not believe the influences of leading her to an eating disorder is from the adults promoting healthy eating decisions. It is most likely from the mainstream media that faces millions of teenagers and young children everyday. The pressure is aimed toward young children and teenagers, teaching them that being ridiculously skinny is beautiful. That leads many youth to a skewed perception of beauty. We have to be careful about what we let our children read and watch.

    What Mrs Heaps and other school staff nationwide are simply doing is promoting healthy living. It should not be the TEACHER’s responsibility to lead the discussion. Parents are the primary, God-established influencers over their children. From what you said, it seems your family does a great job by keeping your children active and healthy. That’s awesome.! But take a look around, your family is “1 in a million!” It’s important to educate your children on healthy living. Be proactive about it, and get involved in your community and schools, promoting it with the teachers.

    Props to Mrs Heaps for taking initiative. Educating about Healthy Living isn’t just for science class, its for everyday life. What an incredible lady, leader, educator, and influencer. More power to ya!

  • ColinUpstairs

    While I’ll be the first one to stand up and fight for improvements in school lunches any day, this teacher was out of line. There’s a right way of doing things and a wrong way. This was the wrong way. It’s inspiring that she had such interest in her produce sales from her students. However, at that point, she should have approached her administration and informed them of what was going on and perhaps they could have found a way to offer her services without violating any of the, albeit ridiculous, Federal regulations about competing foods. This is the real world, lady, and we have to do things by the rules sometimes even if we don’t want to.

    She’s a language arts teacher so she should be teaching language arts first and if she chooses to weave nutritional information into that curriculum, so be it. That doesn’t sound like that’s what she was doing. Instead, it sounds like she was shirking her job responsibilities in favor of a healthy foods agenda. Given, its a great agenda to have, but there is a time and a place for these things.

    I think the real loss here is that her produce program will never go anywhere now because she went around her bosses. (You don’t leave your boss off of an email you send to all of his/her employees by accident.) If she had done things differently, asked for a little bit of permission to try this out, I have to believe there would have been a more positive outcome for the kids. Good intentions, maybe, but inappropriate execution. She should not be made a martyr in the fight for better school food.

  • rebelurbandiva

    “At one point, Heaps began teaching nutrition with seventh-grade science teachers but found she could not reconcile what they were telling the children in class with what the children were being served in the cafeteria. ”

    This is where I started to cry…..

    @madmom: “agenda”? So feeding your kids garbage is ok with you? You should be grateful that there is someone at the school that truly cares enough to want to nurture the kids. How can kids think clearly enough to LEARN the L.A. lessons when they’re jacked up on Gatorade & Doritos & ice cream? You obviously have no idea about the realities teachers deal with.

    @ColinUpstairs: Sure the execution was dramatic. But how else to draw attention to the problem? So many school administrators are asleep at the wheel. The principals, dietitians and food service directors–many of them–are severely entrenched and will never change if someone doesn’t raise hell. If Mendy had gone to the administration & asked permission, the answer would have been NO WAY. Sit down. Shut up. Better to apologize later than ask permission. You can’t ask permission to start a revolution.

    @Thinker67: Eating disorders are not caused by informing students about healthy food choices. If your child has an eating disorder, it’s a psychological issue. I highly doubt that your child could be “scared” into having an eating disorder by a teacher who was providing a beautiful abundance of fruit, cheese and other delicious, healthy foods in the classroom. If you and your family are indeed leading an active lifestyle–that’s great. But food is still an essential part of the health picture. Even if–and especially if—you’re active, Gatorade & chips & ice cream is NOT good nutrition and SHOULD be unacceptable as lunch fare to ANY self-respecting parent. Nice try, vilifying the teacher.

    It’s hard to accept change, and hard for people to accept the truth. Mendy Heaps is a hero to take this fight to the small-minded people in that small-minded little town.

  • audrag

    Re: Thinker67
    Honestly, you cannot blame one teacher for your child’s so-called eating disorder. And there is nothing wrong with getting more heath education, in any class. I am an ITP major in college, and a nutrition minor, and everything I have learned reflects back on how we are taught as children. You may believe you are healthy with all your “activities” but the bottom line is, without a proper diet, you cannot be. Let’s face it, we live in the fattest country in the world, our health system is completely broken, and everything around us is contradictory. I agree with BH0410, the mainstream media is the main cause for all image disorders, especially in the young, and you need to focus on your job as a parent, instead of trying to blame one teacher. I am a mother of a 7 year old girl, and I am always showing/telling her the facts about health and food, and if I really wanted to make a point, I would have no problem showing her a video about liver disease, etc. We cannot shelter our kids from real life, and in doing so, you are a bigger problem than any teacher could ever be.
    As for ColinUpstairs, I do not believe Mrs. Heaps was actively trying to “go around” any rules, etc., but we all know that change is not always welcomed open-arms, and the first step to any real reform in our school lunch programs has to start with getting the kids involved and educated to make the right decisions. Unfortunately, we live in a country where most kids would eat anything if you shaped it like a “nugget”! Sad, but true. There is no real education going on in the public school system about nutrition, and we have to look at the facts: by this year one in five children will be obese! That is ridiculous!
    Was there any real harm done in this situation? No. Should she be “punished” for her actions? No. If anything she should be applauded and recognized for caring more about the kids as people than just statistics, like they are usually treated. Yes she is a Language Arts teacher, but that doesn’t mean she can’t do more! What’s more important in the long run? Grammar or Health? I have excellent grammar and spelling skills thanks to my wonderful teachers, but that still did not prepare me for the real world, and the fact that heart disease runs in my family, and if I do not take the steps needed now, I may be next.
    So, instead of sitting here belittling someone’s attempts to make our kids more well-rounded and educated, maybe we should all go out and buy more produce and less processed foods.
    I applaud you, Mrs. Heaps, and could only hope my daughter is lucky enough to find one teacher in her life that cares as much as you do.

  • madmom

    So you think it’s better that my child learn eating habits from a teacher, but fail at grammar because she does not teach grammar?? Wow, that’s messed up. My kids can learn healthy eating habits from me. If she incorporates healthy eating habits into her grammar lessons, that’s fine. Grammar was totally left out of the equation. So you think it’s okay to publicly ridicule a child in front of their peers if their parents complain to the school that their student is not being taught the subject matter? I see that as a way of keeping kids from complaining so your agenda is not found out. You think it’s okay for teachers to search lunches? You guys should move to China or something.
    I was fine with her fruit cart and I actually wish she would have gone through the proper channels so that could remain. But to intimidate kids into not begging their parents not to contact the school is WRONG! To search lunches brought from home is WRONG. That is going way past the limit.

  • madmom

    That should have been “intimidate kids into begging their parents….”

    @rebelur…
    how judgemental can one be????

  • vi432@aol.com

    To madmom-
    I’m not sure where all your anger comes from, but by your name and tone of your comments I can only assume that your children were perfect students. I am sure they were models of behavior, always had their homework handed in on time, and never a problem to anyone else. I hope this is true for your sake.
    I was an angry mother like you, but then found out my children were misbehaving, not turning in their work, and lying to the teacher, and then lying to me about the teacher.
    The discussion here is not about the way, the what, or the how this woman teaches. It is about trying to change a system in which we are, unfortunately, held hostage. I think this teacher may have made some mistakes, we all do, but the issue is changing the food our children are eating in school, and everywhere else for that matter.
    For some children, their diets are no better at home. This may be the only decent meal they are getting all day, and it should be the best that it can be. Someone has to stand up for change whether you like it or not. The revolution of eating better will go on with you or without you. It’s your choice. You can either be a deterrent to change or a proponent of change.
    Everyone makes mistakes. So a few were made by this teacher, hopefully you will “madmom,” at some point, get on board with the real issue.

    To: thinker67
    I am sure since you and your family are our local models of fitness and nutrition, you would be willing to volunteer your time to help out your neighbors in this community. Lend Mrs. Heaps a hand, not a short rope.

  • madmom

    Actually, I am very aware that my children are not perfect and I back the teacher in every case but this one. This teacher was wrong in her behavior and you people do not live in this district nor know the whole story, so how dare you judge any one of us. I, again, applaud her ideals, but I disagree with her methods. I am not the only parent who has complained. Just for your knowledge, my child is bad about turning homework in. It gets done, but then this particular child forgets to hand it in. We do have computer access to our kids’ grades, etc. in our little “simple-minded” school district. When the work isn’t turned in, there is grounding…simple as that…..until it gets handed in. This child is an A/B student and has not had a referral or detention. Is there misbehavior? Sure. Did this teacher ever once contact me about any misbehavior? NO! If there was a problem in the classroom, I would have expected her to contact me and there would have been corresponding punishment at home. I regularly email teachers at the high school concerning missing work and then make sure there is punishment at home until the work is handed in. My kids are not allowed to watch tv, play computer or games on weekdays. So don’t judge me or my family! I am simply stating what is going on and what has happened. If you have a problem with it, too bad. I will do everything in my power to stand up for the principal at this school and this district. It is a great school district, but there are always a couple of bad “apples”.
    I’m sure her motives are good, again, but the means to her end are BAD!

  • madmom

    By the way, I understand nutrition and my kids to get good meals at home. I grow a vegetable garden every summer, I have planted apple trees, cherry trees, peach trees, raspberry bushes, pear trees, strawberries, chokecherry bushes, etc. on our property, so you can spare me your nutritional lecture. My kids are all within a healthy weight range/bordering on the side of being too thin. Neither my husband nor myself are overweight or obese. We understand nutrition. I do not and will not applaud lack of education in schools and bullying by teachers. Oh, and grammar is important. There’s this thing called college and ACT tests and SAT tests to get into college. Without those pesky courses such as grammar, math, etc. you can’t get in to college. I don’t believe they let you in based on your knowlege of nutrition and health.

    As I said previously, but obviously most of you passed over that portion, I have no problem with nutrition being taught, but not at the expense of the grammar lessons needed for that grade level. If she wants to teach nutrition so bad, why not become a health teacher? Wouldn’t that make more sense?
    I will never accept a teacher intimidating kids into not telling their parents when something is going on in the classroom. If you think that’s okay to do, then you have a problem and I hope it never happens to you or your child. That’s what made me “mad”.

  • maddad

    Madmom certainly sounds fitting. I also had a child in this school, who also happened to have this teacher for language arts. So I asked for her opinion of not only the lessons but of the teacher herself. My child said no one was ever called out in front of the class for disagreeing with Mrs Heaps, and she thought Mrs Heaps actually had the students best interest in mind in the classroom. As far as the searching of the lunches for bad snacks on a field trip…..does anyone really think this occurred? Give me a break. Getting 100 students ready for a field trip is no easy chore. Searching their lunches for bad snacks before the bus leaves? I seriously doubt it.
    The big picture here should focus on what are schools going to do….continue to serve the lowest cost processed food, or will they take the available information (and there is plenty of it out there) and begin figuring out a way to serve healthy nutritious food in their schools. The White House favors it. The Congress favors it. Parents across the country favor it. Why don’t the schools favor it?

  • John Bender

    I can’t understand how people can be so angry and negative! Do you really think that the best way to affect change is to spew hate?

  • bailey

    You go Mad mom. I have had 2 children go through this school district. They ate school lunch everyday and are NOT overweight . They carried 4.0 g.p.a all through school. I am so thankful they did not have this teacher for fear that their G.P.A. would fall. I never worried about what the were eating at school. If I wanted them to have additional sweets from the deli I would send them cash and let them be responsible for their purchase. I would not send enough that they could purchase their whole lunch at the deli. Thats what the school lunch is for. If you are concerned about what your child is eating go to the school and eat with them. Its o.k to do this. I have seen the lunches at the middle school they are not as Ms. Heaps makes them out to be. They are portioned controlled, hot and nutritional. Yes you may get a meal that is not so colorful. Thats what their salad bar is for!! Its spectacular for a school of this size. As for the fruit I have not been there on a day that it was not availiable. Yes there are 2 sides to every story and this should be considered before. I would say that if I was the parent of this one student in which she speaks I would be very upset!!

  • Bender

    Is there an arguement to made that there is a middle ground in this and that if we can find it we may solve the problem of school lunches faster? Pounding on the teacher and deomizing the adimistrators doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. How about lobying the people who can actually enact change, say, Congress, our govenors, our school board and superintendents! And how about the teachers unions that protect teachers who teach what the want to teach instead of teaching their curriculum.

  • Bender

    Hero:

    1. Teacher with an orange.
    2. Teacher with a book.
    3. Parent with orange.
    4. Cop walking a beat.

    Is there really any debate about which two are, in fact, descriptions of a hero? Let’s keep it real people. And for the clueless out there in the ether, 2 and 4…period!

  • madmom

    Maddad,
    May I ask what year your child had Mrs. Heaps? I don’t care whether you believe lunches were searched or not. I know the student who said they were and she had no reason to lie. If you want to say she is telling a lie, that’s up to you. Not my problem. I stand by what I said and I will not support this teacher. The principal at this school and vice principal are wonderful and do not deserve to be demonized because this teacher got in trouble for going over the line.
    Thank you, Bailey. You are right on!

  • bailey

    Like I said go to the school and see for yourself. You will not be disapointed. Have you ever heard its my way or the highway. Seems to be this teachers agenda! I know of a parent who has had issues with this teacher also. That time the parent got no support but maybe now they will see.

  • Bender

    Are all of the schools in this teacher’s district under the same scrutiny? Or is this particular school the only building that serves lunches the teacher finds unhealthy? Typically all schools in a district serve about the same menu and it seems odd that this teacher only points to her own school and not the entire district.

  • Bender

    How is the district reponding to this negative press? It seems to be an issue where a lot of people have an opinion, not just there but around the country. Will the teacher, district or administrators suffer because this is getting so much exposure or do these things typically die down over time?

  • think about it

    come on people think about it. If the teachers union said they could’nt help her there must be more in her file than shes letting on. Thus the seemingly harsh punishment. (to some)

  • Bender

    Good point ‘think about it’. What is the rest of the story? Is the entire memo detailed here or just what Mrs. Heaps wants us to read? Has anyone varified her story or are we to make conclusions based on her comments and the comments of people who may or may not know her? Who solicited this story? Lots of questions, that if answered, would help balance the story.

  • maddad

    Well, Madmom, no, you may not ask what year my child was in the class. And so what if you “know” the child that said the lunches were searched. I “know” a lot of people, children included, but that doesn’t mean I blindly believe everything that comes out of their mouth. And finally, you don’t have to support this teacher. It simply seems that your beef with her is that your daughter didn’t get straight A’s from her, probably because she couldn’t get her homework turned in on time. I hope she gets that SAT or ACT turned in on time.
    The purpose of these type forums are information exchange, different thoughts and perspectives, and maybe a little bit of problem solving. It’s usually not the sort of place to air your petty grievances about how your daughter didn’t get along with this teacher. It almost sounds like you have a personal vendetta against her.
    So, back to the discussion. How does the parenting public effect change in the school lunch program that benefits the health of the students?

  • madstudent

    Ok, there is only so much I can take of reading all these negative comments. I told myself I would not get involved, but this is just ridiculous. I am a male high school student who currently attends Elizabeth High School and I have had Ms. Heaps as a teacher.Her intentions were never negative and never had a hidden agenda. I remember her caring about all people and wanting to make this world better. I can’t believe that she’s being called out for having “hidden motives” could it be, madmom, that she is concerned about the health of her students. And, did you ever consider that just because you daughter has healthy eating habits and a seemingly stable home life that other kids are not as educated or fortunate as her. I have friends right now that have extremely poor eating habits. At lunch they buy chips or, a FRITO PIE. Do you know what that is? let me tell you… it’s a bag of fritos two scoops of processed chili and one scoop of processed nacho cheese. Now tell me how healthy does that sound to you. These are the things that Ms. Heaps is trying to combat. You may have your personal vendetta against Ms. Heaps, because of some poor experience with her, but shame on you for trying to portray her as an evil corrupt teacher with a hidden agenda. Maybe if more people cared about their kids health our lunches would look a lot different.
    As for the principals maybe they should take a lesson from ms. heaps as well, from what I can remember neither of them were that healthy looking to put it kindly.
    And just for a closing remark here are some statistics and I will be very sure to include my accurate source to avoid ANY discrepancy

    Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.
    http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/

  • cvilla

    @madmom
    Shame on you for thinking wrongly of someone who has your childrens best interest at heart. Yes, Mrs. Heaps is a Language Arts teacher,(which after reading your comments you could use a little language arts yourself) but that doesn’t mean she sould be stopped from advocating healthy foods and lifestyles to children. At least she had enough bravery to stand up and fight for the children’s health; unlike some people who only fight for children when it is something that they disagree with, (madmom). Anyways, I support Mrs.Heaps, Jaimie Oliver, and all others who wish to fight for our future generations health.

  • Bender

    @cvilla
    Why is it that you don’t count yourself as someone “…who wish to fight for our future generations health”? Fear? Laziness? Or is it just easier to attack those who may have a different opinion about this teacher and her motives? If you were contracted to lead students on a tour of a museum would it be OK to stop at the food court for an hour to discuss the menu and the merits of the food sold to patrons of the museum? No! You should point out the food court and move on to the next ART exhibit?

    Time and place.

    After school would be a great time for this discussion. Form a club to gather information, put together a presentation and then meet with the local school board or state legislators to discuss ways to change ALL school menus to exclude unhealthy foods. Students are not prisoners who can be subjected to whatever the ‘guards’ want to say to them. Subjects must be taught, yes, but health IS taught in health class! Turn the tables. Would it be OK for the Health/PE department to abandon teaching their curriculum and teach literature instead? No, because while all teachers are reading/writing teachers, this must not be done to the exclusion or detriment of the curriculum of a particular subject. Weave it in to the class! And on that note, showing health videos in Language Arts and searching lunches, isn’t weaving it in!

  • pennyjov

    Could we please return to the issue at hand?
    Nutritious lunches and better eating habits for our children are the issue. Not like or dislike of the teacher. This seems to be one of the hottest topics being discussed today, in many different forums.
    In reading the new article today written by Mr. Bruske, he points out that it is the parent’s responsibility to oversee our children’s well being.
    When did we parents decide to “allow” the government to raise our children. It is truly sad that we do not know what our children are eating, what they are learning, what curriculum is being taught, and how they are behaving.
    Is it really ALL of the teachers’ responsibility?
    I was as guilty as the next person when it came to my children’s education.
    My children graduated high school several years ago, and now college, but when they were young, I got involved. I ate lunch with my children 20 years ago at their school cafeteria and was appalled at what they were being served. They took their lunches from home after the “fun day in the luch room.” I decided to take control of what they were eating. I understand that not every parent can do this, therefore the need for school lunch programs.
    Parents, we need to wake up to what is going on here. WE should get involved, support the changes, embrace the fact the there are some people who do care.
    So many teachers risk their careers, jobs, friendships, and self-esteem when they stand up and fight for what they believe in. In this case, better food for our children. These teachers are “called out” for their beliefs, they are criticized, submitted to public humiliation, put under microscopes so that they can be ridiculed publicly. There are so many teachers who are afraid to fight for a cause because of what has happened to this teacher. And insome cases, it’s just easier not to care enough to get involved. We should thank teachers for having our children’s best interests at heart, not terrorize them with our comments.
    Our comments should be heard by the principals, during school board meetings. If no satisfaction is received, go to the next level of the district, to our mayors, to all of our elected officials- state and federal levels. If we stand together as one, our voices will be heard.
    Believe in change, work hard, support our teachers, support our schools , BE INVOLVED.
    Let’s join forces to solve the problem of poor nutrition.
    Don’t hate the messenger, focus on the message.

  • Bender

    pennyjov,

    Great points! However, I don’t think anyone disagrees with the message Mrs. Heaps is trying to send. Her methods are the issue. You are right in stating that administrators, school boards and other elected officials should listen and make changes whenever possible. Has this teacher presented her ideas to the school board, mayor or any other elected official? I don’t see where she has done so. Why not? If the message is good and her arguements are sound why is she focusing on kids and building level adminstrators, people who are not empowered to make these changes? None of us writing here are empowered to make the needed changes to school lunches either. So why is this the forum Mrs. Heaps has chosen for her arguements? What is she waiting for? Is she afraid to face people who have a different opinion and speak to them directly? I don’t know. I just prefere open face-to-face discussions in cases like this and it seems Mrs. Heaps is seeking SUPPORT from us rather than actual change. Maybe when her feelings are no longer so raw she will be more willing to do more than bash her boss, fellow teachers and the parents of the students she prefesses to care so much about.

  • saddayinusa

    Wow, after reading some of these comments it becomes very clear what is wrong with this country. Some of you people feel the need to personally attack someone who disagrees with you? Why so much anger and nastiness?
    @maddad….so you feel the need to verbally attack a mom and a child just because the mom does not agree with you? Maybe some anger issues there?
    @Bender…..at least someone on this site is the voice of reason and not just plain nasty.

    Why not argue the merits rather than personal attacks? You would actually look much more intelligent if you could manage that, people.

    Question to all:
    Let’s say you work for a company with a boss. The boss tells you that you need to complete a project and “this is the way it needs to be done”. You decide on your own without speaking to your boss that you want to do it a completely different way. What usually happens to you? Most likely, you’ll get reprimanded, if not fired.
    Do any of you realize that the State of Colorado mandates standards which teachers HAVE to follow? They cannot go on their own and teach whatever they feel is the important social issue of the day. There are other methods to effect change in schools without going around the standards mandated by the State or going behind the backs of the principals. She could go to the board, to the superintendent, to the board meetings and ask that they change the menus or at least examine them. She could start a petition within the community asking for better choices as lunch. She could go to the local newspapers and write letters to the editor to get the community thinking.
    As Bender said, if it’s that important to her, why not try to change all of the schools in the district; not just the school she teaches in?

    Why don’t some of you take a step back, breathe, and stop attacking others personally just because they do not agree with you? Why not set a better example for your children? You would really make this country a nicer place to live if you would.

  • bailey

    Teacher with Ten year??? If she’s this passionate about teaching nutrition in LA. Whats next politics,religous beliefs. OMG scary thought. Is she relying on ten year to allow her to teach what she pleases? As for madmom I believe you whole heartedly. Possibley your user name left you open to unnecessary attacks.Although I’m sure this is how you feel its only natural for a parent. CVilla sounds like a teacher. Bender loved your 9.50 post. My thoughts on your 11:52 post. What about the kitchen staff? How does she think this makes them feel? Are they observing her teaching? No I think not. I’m sure they do the best they can with the resources they have. I have had lunch at this school this year as a matter of fact. It was good and the choices on the salad bar were tremendous as I said in a earlier post. The kitchen personal are fellow employees and are human. Sad in USA. Loved your question to all. Proper place ,proper chanels.

  • Bender

    @bailey
    Thanks for addressing my comments, sometimes when no one responds you aren’t sure if anyone is reading ALL of the posts.

    I’m sure the food at Mrs. Heaps school is similar to all school lunches and in need of an upgrade in freshness and quality. But in this economy with the states and feds cutting back in education, not expanding, where to districts get the money needed for the costs involved? I’ll bet that there is no district in the country that wouldn’t put more money into healthy options for student lunches if they had it. But what do they cut to get the money?

    Mrs. Heaps, any ideas?

    Does your school cut your job to get the money? Do they reduce the hours offered to the custodial staff at your school? Do they put off buying textbooks for a couple of years? What? And I guess I’ll just say it, where is Mrs. Heaps on this blog? Why do we only get the news story celebrating her greatness and nothing directly from her?! We’re all here sounding off, where is she? If this was my article I would be defending myself against any and all comers. I guess her passion only comes out in front of her students. Too bad. I think we all might learn a thing or two from someone willing to set this kind of fire in her own back yard.

  • madstudent

    From what I can gather from all of this is that you guys question Ms. Heaps’ teaching style/methods, and you keep refering to the fact that the kids get nutrition in health class. Not totally true. Do any of you know what is taught in middle school health classes? In 6th grade its more anatomy where students learn about their bodies and body systems. 7th grade health is focused EXCLUSIVELY on drugs/alcohol. Finally 8th grade is sex education. So here’s my point in elementary school there are no health classes and kids aren’t taught about healthy and non healthy choices. Then they get to middle school and learn about other important aspects of health, but they are still not taught the fundamentals of nutrition. In high school health which we only have to take for one semester we touch on health and making healthy choices for about a week and a half. Is that enough time for your child to start making educated decisions about things that can affect the rest of their lives? I’m not satisfied.
    And just on closing for you who are criticizing her methods for changing how the school runs lunches I just don’t see how she could do it better. If you really think that her going and doing this all by the books would be better you clearly don’t know how this district works. Ms. Heaps is a passionate individual and obviously her way has gotten people finally talking about their children’s health and concerns. This is the first step to such a long battle and I just don’t see how more people aren’t supporting her.

  • vi432@aol.com

    Bender. Really? Which side of the fence are you really on here? I really can’t tell. One minute you’re bashing Mrs. Heap’s methods and calling out all the “bad” things you assume she has done, the next minute you are stating that bashing is getting us nowhere. The same goes for Bailey.
    I wrote three comments yesterday and erased all three. I couldn’t bring myself to respond because it’s just a lost cause with so much negativity. I can’t erase any longer.
    So to the negative people who can’t see the forest for the trees; let’s just chop the trees down so we have a better view.
    I did some research of my own through records, and talking with other staff members, and teachers.
    From what I have gathered, Mrs. Heaps seems to be a very nice, pleasant individual with a good heart with her student’s best interest in mind.
    Yes, some things were done incorrectly, I agree on that point, but not everything. She did go to the principal and the school board. They both ignored her. She wrote letters, she sent e-mails, and made phone calls. None were answered. None! She was asked to come to a school board meeting, she went, and no decision or reply was ever made to her. She was “put off” for months while waiting for a reply. This has been going on for almost two years. Where have you all been? There was a meeting with the director of food services and also the man in charge of finances. His reply was that the foods being served in the “grab and go” and “deli” lines were “money makers” for the school. They just couldn’t lose all that money. So let’s feed the kids crap and make money from it. Thanks government. In defense, he really is abiding by the rules set forth by government mandates, but no offer of support either.
    She continued to send e-mails. She tried to garner support, but by this time “word” had gotten around to other staff members that the “people in charge” were not willing to support this and didn’t like the idea of this type of change. Did she receive a letter stating this from anyone of authority? No! Did anyone contact her by e-mail or phone call? No! So there are a few answers to your questions. Maybe instead of calling people out, do your own research. I’m sure you will get different answers from anyone you talk to. As usual, with a government entity there always seems like there may be some things to hide. I’m sure the people in charge are not going to say anything anyway. They will most likely sweep it under the rug like they’ve done with this issue.
    So Bender, if you agree that the school lunches could be improved, are YOU willing to pay higher taxes rather than someone losing their job? Are you willing to do this? Really? How much??? Will you be willing to stick your neck out and be prepared for the backlash of criticisms and be accused of failing at your job?

    And by the way John, there are very few textbooks around, so I don’t think we’ll be falling short on those. If you had been in a school lately to check on the books, the curriculum, and the lunches, you may have seen this. As a matter of fact, you should know this.
    Do you” bailey” and “madmom” also not understand that in Language Arts a multitude of subjects can be written about? Nutrition was not “rammed down their throats!” It was written about on occasion, but not a daily lesson plan. If either of you had asked to see a lesson plan or curriculum you would see this. Do you really think that a teacher could be this shallow and obsessed with one subject? After all, kids have to have something to write about. What would you have them write about? Is it allowed? Is it helpful to the students? Is it constructive? She teaches to the mandates set forth by the state. She teaches the benchmarks. Her lesson plans are approved! Had any one of you bothered to see for yourselves you wouldn’t be writing a lot of this stuff.
    Where was the principal during all of this so called “daily nutritional teaching?” He had to have approved the curriculum of what Mrs. Heaps was teaching. Did he come to the classroom and observe her teaching? When???
    In defense of Mrs. Heaps not replying on this blog, why would she? Why should she subject herself against all of these accusations you throw out? How many posts would she have to write before you were all satisfied? Would anyone ever be satisfied? What about the principal? No comment.
    Better not to say anything at all rather than try and change the minds of people with vendettas and opposing opinions. She would have to write a ten page comment just to defend herself against “madmom’s” accusations alone. Worth the time? Hardly!
    Better to spend the time focusing on the real issue; crusading for better nutrition. I’m sure Mrs. Heaps will be spending time on finding a new job rather than commenting on your opinions.
    Bailey? Still reading this? “Ten year?” Really, are you serious? Do you even know what this means?
    “Tenure: permanent status: the position of having a formal secure appointment until retirement, especially at an institution of higher learning after working there on a temporary or provisional basis”
    From a real dictionary! There are many teachers who achieve this, but Mrs. Heaps does not have “Ten year” as you call it. And even if she did, do you really think she would be able to teach what SHE wanted? Can you say “curriculum approval?”
    As for the kitchen staff? I don’t know them, but if they’re anything like “Alice” on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, then they may not be very open minded or willing to participate in change. I am not implying anything here, as I said, I do not know them. I’m sure they’re very caring about what they serve. Oh, and yes, they do serve fresh fruit. On the back shelf so no one under five foot nine can see it. I would hope by now that it has been moved so that all the students can see it is available. Still not sure about the “fresh” part though.
    So Bender, are you willing to light a fire under your own bottom instead of riding the fence? Are you willing to suggest a tax increase to support healthier foods in the lunch program?
    Oh wait, I think congress is looking at that already, so you won’t have to stick your neck out and subject yourself to ANY criticism.
    And if you’re wondering, I have done my part. I have eaten lunch at school, I have watched the kids bypass the salad bar and go for the so called nutritious “snacks” such as packaged chocolate chip cookies and caramel churros. I have spoken with teachers, principals, school board members. I have asked that changes be made for our kids’ benefits. Want to know what happened? A smile and a nod are what happened.
    I wrote Michael Bennett, our Colorado Senator. He replied. Congress is working on legislation now to better our school lunches and overhaul the system. He even requested me to submit some suggestions. So I feel I also did things correctly in my school district and received no offers of help or statements of concern, or even willingness to address my issues with school lunches. So I can understand Mrs. Heap’s predicament and her crusade. Have any one of you naysayers done anything? ANYTHING?
    I promise not to comment any more. I won’t offend those of you who call yourselves concerned and sensitive to the needs of our children and who seem to know all and see all that is going on in our public school systems.
    It’s time to put up or shut and quit projecting your own failures upon Mrs. Heaps! She is one courageous woman, willing to fight for what she believes in. A better life for you children!

  • think about it

    You sound as bad as the next. For someone who thinks they have all the facts.
    think again. The fruit could not be any closer to the kids if it was hand fed to them.

  • Bender

    Vi432,

    I’m not on either side. But only a child refuses to see both sides of an arguement in an attempt to elicit enough information so that a decision can be reached or a conclusion drawn. But for the record, I am neither a teacher nor an administrator, I am a simple tax payer who stumbled on this story and found the topic to be serious and something worth looking into further. I hadn’t thought about what I as a lone person would be willing to do so thank you for pushing me in that direction. After thinking about it, I have voted for all increases in taxes that put more money toward the schools in my community even though I currently have no students in the system. I think I did so in the hopes that when I needed to access the educational system it would still be up and running for my kids. I have not supported increased taxes where I felt there was already adequate money or where money had not been well spent. Education is clearly not an area where we as Americans have placed a tax burden priority. So, in short I think that if I lived in your town I would support paying my share even if that meant more than the current level of taxes. At least a ballplayer isn’t getting the money!

    I am glad you bring up the point of Congress tackling this issue and making changes. The main points I have kept trying to make are that with this type of change low level people are not the ones empowered to make change. That power lies further up. To blame a principal for the menues in schools within a district or even one building seems short sighted. Do we know that this person has never requested better or even different food? If he did or has what was the response he got? That is not in the article written on behalf of Mrs. Heaps. That article is extremely biased and doesn’t even make an attempt to show both sides. It slams one side and completely leaves out the other. Why? Were people told not to respond? Did people fear any response would fan the flames? I don’t know, but the article leave us to guess.

    Question- I guess you won’t answer, but I’ll ask anyway. If you don’t know the kitchen ladies how do you know what shelf the fruit is sold from and how tall you have to be to see the fruit? Have you seen the shelf or are you again relying on what you have read or been told by the people supporting Mrs. Heaps?

    Finally, I am sticking to my guns on one statement- If she is courageous why will she not defend herself? Why will she not try to persuade the naysayers? And if she did not want any of this to come out, why in the world would she have chosen a forum where no fact checking is done or required? Why not take it to media that do checks on facts so that everything reported has been varified? She opened the door to these questions and attacks and now must feel that since she wasn’t completely supported she won’t respond. Courageous? Maybe just short of that…

  • Ed Bruske

    Bender, a point of clarification: The popular media–newspapers, radio, television–do not employ fact checkers. For that, you would have to look to the magazine world. Say, The New Yorker. Otherwise, the media rely on reporters to get their facts straight. I know, because I was a reporter at The Washington Post for 12 years. Ms. Heaps story was as exhaustively reported as it could be. Besides herself, all of the people mentioned were given multiple opportunities to state their case. Only Mr. Patera, the director of finances for the schools, chose to respond. It may be premature to presume that Ms. Heaps will not respond to the various questions that have been raised since the article first appeared.

  • bailey

    Vi432 Thank goodness someone in the distict that knows both sides of the story. Thats a first.

  • Bender

    Mr. Bruske,

    Thank you for the clarification. I did not know that news stations, newspapers, and the like did not check all facts as an institution. Individuals are checking the facts of their work? Scary! Do you know why no other member(s) of the district or school staff have not responded to your inquiries? It seems that if they did respond, we could all have a clearer picture of what is going on at this school and in this district.

  • annantique1

    Oh my goodness!! This is like a food fight in the cafeteria.. Mrs. Heaps must be an awsome and courageous person to take on the Elizabeth, Co. school system.
    Do you people think she is doing this for fun?? It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in.
    Health Care and Obesity are the two main topics of discussion, nation wide, at the present time, that is if you watch more than Fox news on TV.
    Have any of you heard of ” Jamie Oliver ” ? You might try watching his program.
    We are what we put in our bodies!! I think if more of you would get behind this better way of eating, and make your children your first priority, and quit condeming Mrs. Heaps for what she is trying to do, your children would be the winners.
    Where are the people who care?
    Freedom of speech is a right and a privilege in this Great Country we live in.
    Another question I have. Why is the Teachers’ Union so afraid to back this Teacher.

  • Bender

    @annantique1

    Makes you wonder doesn’t it? If the people who she pays for protection won’t support her, what are we not hearing? Mr. Bruske says that Mrs. Heaps may still log on and answer our questions, a person going by ‘ms. heaps’ has posted on other articles, not this one, but my hope is we will soon learn why the union has chosen to notback her. What has she done or not done that her fellow teachers have left her out here alone? Still many questions that we can’t answer, and if she would, might help us on the fence fully back Mrs. Heaps.

  • camian73

    I am so disappointed that the point she was trying to make was so lost. Those who cook healthy unprocessed meals for their children kudos, but seriously there is now way you believe everyone does & if you do you should be outraged at what every child is consuming in school. If more teachers/parents helped her in her efforts she probably would have been so aggressive with her tactics. When something speaks to you so clearly I think its sad she didn’t get support. You could implement some really wonderful programs with someone who has the passion to see it get done. I think is sad that we have to even have these discussions. Have you looked at what the average lunch consists of, both packed & school bought? Sugar/sugar/corn syrup/more sugar. ADHD,ADD,Diabetes,Obesity these are the things she was trying to keep from happening to the children she has obviously dedicated herself to, lets beat her up for her delivery…..sad, just makes me sad….how did you try to help?

  • Amazingstudent

    LISTEN ALL OF YOU!! Ms.Heaps is only afraid that what happened to her husband WILL HAPPEN TO US!! YOU ALL NEED TO LISTEN! Mad mom, you need to realize, What would you do if your kids got diabetes, high blood pressure, Add, Adhd THEN ALL YOU WOULD HEAR FROM MRS.HEAPS IS “I TOLD YOU SO.” You need to think about what a situation she was in. So mabye you should care more about your kids, then spamming on this blog because mrs.heaps IS A WONDERFUL PERSON