Utah school officials have changed their policies, from the link:
Thanks to Public Outrage, Utah School That Trashed Kids’ Lunches Changes Policy! | Crooks and Liars: [...] Accounts will be flagged once they are $10 or more overdue, and principals will help notify parents. Officials say that all communications will now be made directly to parents rather than by sending notes home with students.I want to note how the majority of school communication is done through students instead of directly with parents. Parents are routinely sent important policy statements, notices, and other information through the students in the vast majority of schools. Parents are expected to do what they are told and no one has the time to even contact them directly. Parents often cannot sign a slip excusingtheir child for illness: only a doctor is allowed and thought adequate. Schools, a taxpayer service for families, assume that all families are suspect and this in spite ofte fact that every state in the US has child protective services.
I blog about how our system design has created this problem (compulsory attendance laws and the factory model diminshed the motivation to work closely with families). I also suggest that real school choice means parents choosing what their kids take at each school rather than creating a marketplace of schools (charters) and attempting to allow choice within that instead of letting families opt out of a math class they dislike and having their child do that at home in some other way (not necessarily, the school's own online math class).