Parent angry at Colt Andrews School lunchtime shun

Katie Sousa stands outside Colt Andrews School where she was not allowed into the cafeteria. Katie Sousa stands outside Colt Andrews School where she was not allowed into the cafeteria.

Katie Sousa stands outside Colt Andrews School where she was not allowed into the cafeteria.

Katie Sousa stands outside Colt Andrews School where she was not allowed into the cafeteria.

According to the Colt Andrews Elementary School handbook for 2012-2013, “visitors, particularly parents, are welcome at the school … each visitor must report to the office upon entering the school to obtain a pass.”

But, as one mother found out, just don’t stay for lunch.

On Monday, Jan. 28, Katie Sousa was surprised to find that she would not be allowed in the Colt Andrews cafeteria to have lunch with her son to celebrate the boy’s ninth birthday. When Ms. Sousa arrived at the school, she said the principal, Patrick Latucca, would not let her inside, telling her a new policy had been implemented and that parents are not allowed in the cafeteria to have lunch with the children. Instead, Mr. Latucca offered up his office where the two could eat their lunch.

Superintendent of Schools Melinda Thies said across the district, parents seldom request to have lunch with their children. However, after school officials at Warren’s Hugh Cole School experienced a significant number of lunchtime parents — more than the cafeteria could accommodate safely — changes had to be made.

“The issue did arise in the fall with the number of visitors coming in on any given day,” Ms. Thies said of the “open door” policy.

To address the issue, the superintendent’s office surveyed all the school administrators to find out if they, too, were dealing with space issues during lunches.

“Each principal said the cafeteria was at capacity,” Ms. Thies said.

Increasing occupancy by allowing parents “became an issue of safety, security and being able to monitor” inside an overcrowded cafeteria.

At Hugh Cole school, a Cozy Café was created where parents and their children can eat, separate from the cafeteria. Similar areas have not been offered at other schools in the district, Ms. Thies said, simply because “we didn’t have an issue with parents.”

“The parent (at Colt Andrews school) did have lunch with her son on his birthday. The principal made an appropriate accommodation by freeing up his office.”

But that didn’t satisfy Ms. Sousa.

“Who wants to eat in the principal’s office,” she said. “That’s a punishment.”

The Bristol Warren school district’s visitor policy is one of the changes that Ms. Thies anticipates parents may find inconvenient, but, she said, is necessary to ensure a safe, secure learning environment for students.

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37 Comments

  1. fishwife said:

    As I stated on your FB page …Sadly, most schools “open door policies” will come to end because of the world we now live in. Why this women was shocked she was turned away from the cafeteria is beyond me. I too am a parent at Colt Andrews and have received NUMEROUS notices and emails that clearly state the new visitor policy…which has been established SINCE Newtown CT. Hilarious, she had to “alert the media” after the principal was polite enough to lend his office.

    • Tuscanwine said:

      Sadly, since the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy schools are taking precautions. I think you weren’t aware that the school committee meeting regarding the new policy hadn’t taken place until that evening. Research helps you gain knowledge. Knowledge of the facts may help before people before they post replies such as this.

      • fishwife said:

        On the contrary …I am an incredibly informed, educated and involved parent. On January 8, 2013, Melinda Thies, superintendent of Bristol/Warren Schools attended the PTO meeting. Most of the evenings discussion pertained to school safety and the new policies to be implemented. A conntect-ed call was sent to all parents from Ms Thies, an email from Dr Lattuca, principal of Colt Andrews and a notice was sent home with each child. All three of these events happened well before 1/28. These outreaches clearly stated all visitors/volunteers must be on an approved list from the teacher prior to visit. What I didn’t know was parents feel its their right to just “stop by” for lunch. Yes, Birthdays are a special event for a child.Celebrate over breakfast or dinner ! What I think has outrage most of the public is the fact this mother felt it necessary to alert the media of some serious wrong doing… trying to make the school look bad ! The principal DID NOT turn her away. The gentleman gives up his valuable work space so she can lunch with her kid !!!!! and yet she runs to the newspaper and has a photo opt.

  2. Coralee Lazebnikova said:

    Seriously, the principal bent over backwards to accommodate your request and you still complain. What kid wants to be seen with their parent in school anyway? Who are these parents that this has become a problem for the schools? Next time lady, take your kid out of school for the day and bring him to Chuckie Cheese. He’ll thank you for it.

    • Tuscanwine said:

      There a quite a few children who would love having their parent/parents visit them at lunch time. My daughter visits her children’s schools. Evidently there is something you may have missed. The child may have wanted his mom to come to school to have lunch on his birthday. Not every parent takes a child out of school when their birthday falls on a school day. My opinion.

  3. Joyce said:

    If you want to celebrate your child’s birthday, I bet he or she would be thrilled to be taken to Friendly’s or some other family restaurant and celebrate there. What kid wants to celebrate his birthday in school? Use a little discretion, Mom. Let the kid have a life.

    • Tuscanwine said:

      Discretion? This is what the child wanted his mom to do. Not your business. I think since you obviously do not know the parent or the child why do you judge them?

    • Tuscanwine said:

      Correction
      To LESLIE LETOURNEAU says:
      JANUARY 30, 2013 AT 9:00 PM
      Why on earth would a child want to have lunch with their parents at school???? Someone cut the cord!

      Your comment says a lot about you. Cut the cord. I am a mom to three children, now adults. I was very involved when they attended K-12. My opinion, not every parent is alike.

    • Dad_of_three said:

      First let me start out by saying it is “your” not “you’re”. Second it was not a reply it was a post, “yours” was a reply. Third it was my opinion. Don’t like it don’t read it. Plus who made you the comment police? Why are you on here calling people out for using their user name and you are doing the same thing? Why are you hiding behind your user name? Who gave you the right to come in here and chastise people for speaking their opinion? If this woman , whom you are advocating so strongly for, did not want to be spoken about she should have not put her her story and photo in the news, for all to see and criticize. Speaking of immaturity, take a good long look in a mirror. An immature person is the type that attacks every person that does not agree with their way of thinking.

      • Tuscanwine said:

        Pardon me for my misuse of grammar. I am not the post police. I have been nice with my replies. Chastise people? You’re the one who is taking this a little bit to far. I have not attacked anyone on here. The person in the story is the one being attacked. I don’t hide behind my username, I use it for privacy. Thank goodness I did. Peace.

  4. Isabella Arrudda said:

    mek45 for some one like you to be calling another person psyco and white trash you obviously have bigger issues because you have to come on here and hide who really are with your fake name i think you need to grow up and what if it was your child whould you have enough guts to stand up for your child ??? At least this mother did ! Step being a coward tell everyone on her who you really are !

    • Tuscanwine said:

      ISABELLA ARRUDDA
      After reading all the posts and replies I believe that the people don’t understand what the purpose was for you wanting to have lunch with your child. To not take your child out of school I commend you as education is very important. For the comments about what you do, if you work isn’t relevant here. I think you are a good mom and it’s not their business why you went to talk to the principal to get permission to have lunch with your child. Have a good day. Peace.

      • Tuscanwine said:

        ISABELLA ARRUDDA
        I do not no the person above. Let me make a few corrections here.

        After reading all the posts and replies I believe that the people don’t understand what the purpose was for you wanting to have lunch with your child. To not take your child out of school I commend you as education is very important. For the comments about what you do, if you work isn’t relevant here. I think you are a good mom and it’s not their business why you went to talk to the principal to get permission to have lunch with your child. Have a good day. Peace.

      • Tuscanwine said:

        ISABELLA ARRUDDA

        Wrote: mek45 for some one like you to be calling another person psyco and white trash you obviously have bigger issues because you have to come on here and hide who really are with your fake name i think you need to grow up and what if it was your child whould you have enough guts to stand up for your child ??? At least this mother did ! Step being a coward tell everyone on her who you really are !

        I was responding to what ISABELLA ARRUDDA’s reply. The response was pertaining to how she if it was your child. Evidently she is a mom as well. I believe it’s important to stand up for your child/children when it’s the truth. A parent doesn’t defend a child without good cause. Peace.

  5. Dad_of_three said:

    Yes, it was obscene not obese. LOL On another note. I also believe she was the woman that was interviewed by this same author on an article that was posted Dec 18th. The article was about the children returning to school after the Newtown tragedy. Just put her mane in the search site above and the story comes up. I’m thinking someone likes to be a great pretender or is very dramatic. Plus I think Tuscanwine may be her mother from the sounds of it. She stated in one reply “My daughter visits her children’s schools”. Could explain all the replies.

    • Tuscanwine said:

      Plus I think Tuscanwine may be her mother from the sounds of it. She stated in one reply “My daughter visits her children’s schools”. Could explain all the replies.

      DAD_OF_THREE

      I was referring to my daughter. Not Ms. Sousa.

  6. Tuscanwine said:

    Everyone makes mistakes in life. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. The purpose of posting and replying are not a basis on which to attack a persons character. This is what has happened here. I see the disrespect. Where is one post or reply here that says anything nice about a mom who loves her child and wanted to have lunch? As for my username I like it. Peace

  7. Dad_of_three said:

    Well maybe I would have a record if I was of your caliber. I have never been arrested , because I have to much respect for my kids and my wife, to go out and act stupid. So you are wrong in saying If you had my real name you could look up my record. No one died and left me boss. I made a one sentence comment and your spokes person Tuscanwine sprung off and replied to me and six or seven other people at the same time, and that got the ball rolling. If you have a beef, take it up with Tuscanwine. And truly I don’t care what you have to say about your son. Seems to me that the article written was more about you and not him. “Who wants to eat in the principal’s office,” she said. “That’s a punishment.” If you where truly there to honor his birthday, who cares where you ate. Your child would just be happy you took time out of your day to spend with him, not trying to showboat “look everybody I am a real good mother.” That is how is comes across in the article, that you did not get your way. By the way, how is that petition going for the patrols at the schools? Maybe then I can give you my real name.

  8. Tuscanwine said:

    NARD GLIMROD

    Excuse me. A parent has the right to pick their child up at their bus stop. Who are you to tell this mother to stay away from the school?

    DAD_OF_THREE

    I am not Ms. Sousas’ spokesperson. You stated :

    By the way, how is that petition going for the patrols at the schools? Maybe then I can give you my real name. What is that supposed to mean to this mother?

    You take my opinion and my replies to others posts to an extreme. I’m an advocate against bullying and DAD_OF_THREE in my opinion I feel you’re an adult bully. I rest my case. Peace.

    • Dad_of_three said:

      Ok, So I am a bully. I made a one sentence comment, my opinion, on the 31st at 6:08 AM and that same afternoon from 2:49 PM to 3:10 PM you interjected yourself into 8 replies toward 7 different posters. And I am the bully? Again, look in the mirror. Because as of the time of this reply, you have posted 17 times. You’re most likely the type of person that walks into room full of people, scans it looking to see who you for pick a fight with. As for me asking about the petition, Ms Sousa knows exactly what I am asking. She knows that it is referring back to the article from December concerning the children of Bristol/Warren returning to school after the Newtown situation. It wasn’t a derogatory question. She knows what I meant by that question. She can answer that if she wants to or not. I hope she can speak for herself. I mean she is a grown adult with children. What is it to you? Really, what is it to you? Like I always taught my children not to start something they cannot finish. So she puts out there that she is taking valuable time from school administration from other kids and she isn’t happy. I am 100% sure that the situation was explained to her and she was not just dismissed. But no she had to call the media and make a spectacle. By the way this is my last reply to you, it is loosing interest and with your comprehension of the writings and how you twist them to feed your narcissistic hunger, it is more like watering a dead plant. You just don’t get it.

  9. Authentic18 said:

    Katie,

    Since you have taken the time to join us here, please tell us what your goal was in contacting the newspaper.

    I mean, you went to the school, and found they had rules for such visitations. And, if they granted you an exception to the policy, then that would set precedent for others to ask for exceptions, and essentially make the whole policy moot.

    So, instead, you were provided a room where you could achieve your goal of spending time with your child. Which most of us perceive as a kind act by the Principal to allow you that time.

    Instead, you were offended by the act of kindness.

    How did you act during the meal with your son? Did you display anger, and thus ruin the time you spent together?

    What did you intend to achive by contacting the paper? Sympathy? Apology? Change in policy?

    Please tell us, what was your goal?

  10. jaqdadi said:

    Katie, if you weren’t aware of the school policy change then that is on you. When my children were young enough to go to the Colt-Andrews school I was fully aware of their policies and any changes. Now they are at Mt Hope, I get the letters and emails notifying me of any policies and\or changes regularly.

    I don’t believe you weren’t aware of the change in policy. Especially, so soon after Sandy Hook. Parents should have or did expect some changes. A simple phone call would have cleared it up for you, instead of interrupting the busy schedule of the principal and making a spectacle of yourself and your son. I believe you didn’t care about the changes and were determined to do what you wanted to do no matter what. ““Who wants to eat in the principal’s office,” she said. “That’s a punishment.””. So why didn’t you simply leave and file a complaint? That pic of you at the top of this story says it all.

    Childrens b’days are very important to them. I am sure your son loves you, but was probably embarrassed to have lunch with you in the Principal’s office. Of course he isn’t going to say anything. In my experience children are mostly embarrassed to have their parents around at school, especially lunch when they are interacting with the other kids. School time is their time to be themselves and experience life without the eyes of their parents on them.

    I’m sure the Principal and anyone else involved did their best to make it as pleasant as possible. You were still wrong. If you felt so offended then why drag your kid into this situation? Why not simply file a complaint and take the issue up with the school in a more reasonable fashion. Now, other parents are talking about it, how ridiculous and selfish you were, and any kid that knows your son, is listening to them. It will only have a negative effect on your son that his mother was so selfish she forced the Principal to do something that no one else gets.

    What happens now that you got your way? Is some other, inconsiderate, selfish parent going to demand the same treatment that Katie Sousa got? Haven’t these schools got their hands full with the very serious issues of today, at the same time trying to educate these kids?

    This was simply a selfish, ridiculous act on your part. Grow up, let your son grow up.

    • Authentic18 said:

      My goals? Thanks for asking.

      1. Continued good health.
      2. Protect my family.
      3. Provide support for my family.

      Three things, none of which someone mentioned in the story is achieving.

      Everything else is just passig idle time, and entertainment.

      What are your goals? Trolling and looking for attention?

      • Tuscanwine said:

        The story has taken a wrong turn. Ms. Sousa went into the office to ask permission to have lunch with her son. The policy hadn’t gone into effect as stated previously until the school committee meeting that evening. Ms. Sousa followed protocol and asked permission to have lunch with her son. What I see here is what lengths people will go to in order to embarrass a person and her family. To bring up someones past and make it public as was done here I am appalled by this. Parents who feel it is necessary to write negative things about a child’s mother are the ones who have caused embarrassment to the child. When reading the Bristol Phoenix this week there will be a Letter to the Editor that is worth reading. Peace.

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