She had her suspicions as to what was causing her child to have such serious migraines, but she couldn’t just make wild accusations without solid evidence.
As she stared at the photograph, she was sure she had found the root of the problem. But they couldn’t have been giving that to her child, could they?
As a mother of four, Beth Paulette knew every trick in the book. Her eldest sons were particularly adept at pulling the wool over her eyes when it came to getting out of doing their homework or chores.
So when her young son first started complaining of a headache as soon as he came home from school – when he was supposed to be doing his homework – Beth was immediately skeptical.
But while the Virginia mom half suspected this was all just a cunning ruse to get a little extra TV time, Beth dutifully cared for her son by giving him some aspirin and telling him to rest up.
He seemed better the next morning, but when he came back later that afternoon with another splitting headache, Beth started to think she was dealing with something more serious.
Things took a severe turn when Beth’s eldest son also started complaining of a migraine the moment he stepped off the bus from King & Queen Central High School. Was he following his younger brother’s lead to get out of taking out the trash?
Beth didn’t think so. With two boys now lying down with cold flannels draped over their foreheads, the worried mom was forced to investigate. What was happening to her kids?
When the pain subsided, Beth asked the boys if they had been doing anything out of the ordinary that would trigger such sharp, throbbing head pain.
Were they drinking enough water? How much time were they spending on their phones? Had they been fighting or suffered a knock to the head? Then she asked a question that unearthed Beth’s first lead.
“How have you been eating at school?” Beth asked her boys. The teens looked at each other before the older boy nervously answered. “Ahem… fine,” he said.
Beth wasn’t an idiot. She knew when her own children were lying to her. But now definitely wasn’t the time to call them on it. She needed to wait until the time was right.
The next day, Beth waited until her kids were at school before she texted them. She suspected they’d been skipping their healthy school lunch for some ill-gotten snacks that might be to blame for their migraines.
“What’s for lunch?” she texted them both at exactly 1.15 pm when both of them should have been in the cafeteria munching away.
Beth was sure the boys suspected she was onto them, so they knew they’d have to send her photo evidence of what they were eating to get them off the hook. Mom knew every trick in the book, after all.
Right on cue, her youngest son sent through a picture of his lunch. Beth had no idea she’d find the answer so fast.
The boys claimed the migraines started right around the time they got off the bus, which had given Beth her first clue as to what was happening.
But as she stared at the message her son had sent, her worst fears were confirmed. She knew she had to do something fast to stop it from happening again.
As soon as the boys got home – yet again complaining of migraines – she asked them flat out if they’d been skipping lunch. They both knew they were in serious trouble.
Beth couldn’t believe her children had been going without food the whole day. The kids hung their heads, knowing a stern yelling was on its way. But this was about much more than just skipping lunch.
Beth wasn’t mad at them at all. The boys simply couldn’t stomach the food. It looked like burnt meat with a side of cardboard. The worried mother knew she had to do something.
But instead of confronting the school directly, Beth took the photo straight to the local news station WTVR CBS 6, who agreed that the carb-heavy, vegetable-free lunches were simply unacceptable. What they soon exposed were some serious management problems at the school.
When the press called him, school superintendent Doctor Stanley Jones agreed he wouldn’t want his own children eating food like that and confessed that the head of food services had been suspended a couple of weeks ago for similar complaints.
But further investigation revealed critical links in the chain of command were broken after the news team tracked down suspended cafeteria head Suzanne Gilbertson.
“My cafeteria employees have always been told if you’re not going to eat it, don’t serve it to the students,” Gilbertson said, defending her position. She also revealed the person currently in charge of the cafeteria is not properly trained and that she’d been told in emails that “this issue would not exist” if the lunch ladies just worked together as a team.
Doctor Jones said he would address the overcooked food with his cafeteria staff “immediately.” But should Beth have had to take things this far to protect her sons’ health?