Education

Parents: Teacher made scapegoat in Hoke school lunch flap

Posted March 9, 2012

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— Parents of two Hoke County children said Friday that they believe the teacher who switched the students' homemade lunches for cafeteria lunches last month was forced out in the ensuing firestorm of criticism.

Margaret Maynor resigned from her position as a pre-kindergarten teacher at West Hoke Elementary School on Feb. 28, Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Benson said Thursday. She had worked at the school since September 2007.

Maynor made national headlines three weeks ago by replacing students' lunches with a meal from the school cafeteria featuring chicken nuggets after deeming that the homemade lunches didn't meet set nutritional guidelines.

Hoke County Schools officials later acknowledged that Maynor made a mistake, saying she was only supposed to provide the missing item – a carton of milk in this case – and not swap out the entire lunch.

The admission didn't quell conservative bloggers and even members of Congress, who questioned what they saw as an unwarranted intrusion into youngsters' meals.

Maynor was suspended five days before her resignation, but Hoke County Schools officials have declined to state the reason for the suspension.

Assistant Superintendent Bob Barnes said in a letter to parents that "a failure to follow district policy" led to a substitute teacher taking over Maynor's class "until we can bring resolution to this issue."

Maynor declined to discuss her case Friday.

Parents said she didn't need to quit.

"It’s terrible. This teacher is not the one at fault. She was just doing what she was told by the inspector," said one mother, who asked that her name not be used. "It’s not fair. She needs to be in the classroom.”

A few weeks before Maynor swapped out the youngsters' lunches, Principal Jackie Samuels sent a letter to West Hoke Elementary parents, saying a state inspector downgraded the school because children weren't bringing nutritional lunches from home. She urged them to send healthier lunches so the school could get a better rating.

Diane Zambrano, whose 4-year-old daughter had her salami-and-cheese sandwich taken away, called Maynor "one of the good teachers."

"It’s unfortunate she got caught up in something that’s not her fault," Zambrano said.

Since the incident, she said, parents haven't been allowed inside West Hoke Elementary to drop children off or to volunteer.

"I’m upset we’re no longer able to come into the school or volunteer. It makes me even more suspicious of what’s going on,” she said.

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  • awood2 Mar 12, 2012

    Don't get me wrong though, I were told I couldn't see my children...we would have problems!!

  • awood2 Mar 12, 2012

    It's not her child..stay out of it! As long as the children have food to eat and something to drink leave them alone. I don't think anything is going on wrong at the school. The school is just trying to keep everything from getting out of hand. It is a shame though because I used to love going and eating and checking up on my kids when they were that age.

  • caryboy88 Mar 12, 2012

    not the teacher's fault!

  • patrice8458 Mar 9, 2012

    Things sure have change in schools today. I went to West Hoke School 50 years ago... grades 1-4 and my (corn bread, fat back meat, and roasted sweet potatoe wrap in a brown paper bag was just good enough.

  • Da Toy Maker Mar 9, 2012

    Zoey0815:

    Thank you!

    For those people are screaming, how many of you are also screaming at the Medicaid & Medicare spend on Childhood Obesity and related issues year after. I know, it is my own crazy opinion.

  • Sherlock Mar 9, 2012

    She was forced to resign because she make the school and her bosses llok bad, if you do that in Hoke county your are out. The bosses will never take th eblame for anything and in hoke county the school system can do anything they wisk they control the system not the parents.

  • duster 340 Mar 9, 2012

    The teacher must be held accountable for her actions.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 9, 2012

    "Of course the best thing for people is to keep their kids well away from Government run places."

    Perhaps you should leave the country.

  • Deb1003 Mar 9, 2012

    From what I've read, the teacher misinterpreted the rules and replaced the entire lunch, instead of adding milk. The administration was at fault for not teaching their instructors the correct implementation of this new "guideline". All parents should have been advised of this new "guideline" as well and sent a note to their child's teacher if they were lactose-intolerant, therefore, their child would have juice. I believe the school dropped the ball on this and allowed the teacher to become a scapegoat for their lack in educating the parents and staff regarding the new guidelines.

  • warbirdlover Mar 9, 2012

    You know another problem with kids weight, is that a lot of folks are scared to let their kids go outside to play, because they fear that someone might abduct them. They want to be able to keep an eye on them. I live in the boondocks and my kids can run and play in woods and meadows around our house. My 3 boys eat like a team of Horses, nothing stands a chance around them. They are all rail thin and very athletic. Fresh Air, Fresh Grass, Tall Trees & Fresh Water.

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