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Not that unfortunate cafeteria incidents don’t happen, but the followup here seems extremely bizarre. Tennessee’s Madisonville Middle School in Monroe County recently reported a few incidents in which maggots were discovered in lunch food: First in granola, then a few days later in some blackberries. As a follow-up, students were instructed to write thankful letters to the cafeteria staff in an effort to push positivity.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, when parents attempted to express concerns at a school board meeting after the maggot incidents, “school board members cut them off, saying the issue had ‘been addressed’ and it would not be discussed further because it was not on the school board agenda.” The board chairwoman then followed up by saying that the “the health department inspected the cafeteria and gave it a good rating and then reinspected it when another incident occurred.”

A few days later, a student’s parent forwarded a picture taken by her daughter to the News Sentinel , displaying assignments written on a classroom whiteboard. The board tasked students with writing letters to the cafeteria workers— “using descriptive language”—to say what the students are thankful for. “We are making an effort to be positive,” it read.

Not that the cafeteria workers don’t deserve appreciation, but the timing here appears a bit uncomfortable. And after such a trying week in the cafeteria, perhaps “descriptive language” was not the best prompt.