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Elementary School Faces Backlash After Banning Parents From Visiting During Lunch

They're claiming it will help kids be more independent.

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A Connecticut school district has banned parents from visiting their kids during lunch hours. The Darien school system’s decision, announced Wednesday, has sparked outrage among parents, who feel it’s depriving them of quality time with their children.

“It feels like a punch in the gut,” said Jessica Xu, parent to a first-grader, in an interview with the Associated Press. “I chose the town for the schools. I’m so frustrated the schools don’t want me there.” And Xu isn’t the only one upset by the news. Another parent says she shed tears reading the announcement, which she claim destroys the supportive, collaborative environment that should exist in schools.

But the Darien Board of Education is standing by the rule, which applies to all of the system’s K-5 schools. It was put in place after schools were having trouble handling the growing number of visitors, which averaged 6 to 7 parents in the cafeteria on any given day. According to chairman of the board, Tara Ochman, the visitors were beginning to affect the day-to-day operations of the schools and causing a disruption.

“We believe that schools exist for children, and we work to develop the skills necessary for students to grow into engaged members of society,” Ochman wrote in a statement to parents. “We work every day on this mission so that our students embrace their next steps confidently and respectfully.

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While the reactions of parents have been overwhelmingly critical, there is a handful who support the board’s decision, believing it will help kids grow more independent. Beth Lane, a Darien mom who’s happy with the ban, said, “It was good because kids have to be able to learn how to work with each other and socialize with each other, and putting a parent in changes the dynamic dramatically.”