As Puckett — who is certified in obesity medicine — later observed to the principal at the school, the teacher and a cafeteria worker didn’t see the whole lunch. Sure, they saw a pickle, a bag of marshmallows, some Ritz crackers and four tiny chocolate bars.
Importantly, what the sub and the lunch lady missed were four pieces of ham and a stick of low-fat string cheese.
There was no bread because the Puckett family isn’t big on bread. Also, the chocolate bars were for sharing with friends.
The most satisfying part of the story is Puckett’s response to the note the teacher sent home.
“Please see that she packs a proper lunch tomorrow,” the teacher wrote, addressing Puckett as a doctor.
Below that, in larger writing, were the words: “Parent Signature requested.”
Puckett responded, in larger handwriting still (and very curtly), by writing: “Request Declined.”
Here’s the note in full, with Puckett’s response:
“We leave it up to her and she looks at the school menu and she packs her own lunch and she’s a very independent second grader,” Puckett told ABC.
“We admittedly cheat on pickles every once and awhile as a vegetable, because some fights just aren’t worth having,” the doctor added.
Puckett said what upsets him most is that this incident is just one example of constant hovering by government employees.
“What does bother me is that it just seems that we are constantly being inundated with the inability to be parents of our children,” he told ABC.
“I have the ultimate responsibility to raise my children and I take that role very, very seriously and so maybe I took it bit more personally that there was some offense that maybe I wasn’t doing a good job in that duty, something that is my number one job,” he added.
He noted that he found whole thing pretty amusing as well.
Kirksville Public Schools superintendent Damon Kizzire has contacted Puckett and apologized for the substitute teacher’s letter.
“It was all meant with the best of intentions,” Kizzire said.
Puckett said the story has been blown out of proportion by offended people who are themselves now criticizing the school.
“Without a doubt, the letter was poorly worded, and a poor choice by the teacher. I know this teacher personally, and she has the children best interest in mind,” he wrote in a Friday update on Facebook.
“It is absolutely inexcusable what some have done from afar, sending faxes and emails to the school. You action and choice of words far exceeds anything done in the letter of discussion [completely indecent],” the doctor sternly added. “Stop this non-productive action immediately.”