An Arizona woman criticized a school policy to stamp children with the words "lunch money" if the child has run low on funds to pay for food at the school.
In this particular case, the aim of the stamp was to let the parents know that the funds in her second-grader's lunch account were low. Her son still ate that day, but his mother felt the stamp "labeled" him as an offender of the system.
"I was surprised," said Tara Chavez, BuzzFeed reports. "Normally I get a slip in his folder when he needs more money."
According to Chavez, her son felt "humiliated" by the stamp, to the point that he wouldn't let her take a picture of the mark at first.
"He was screaming and crying the entire time," she said.
In response, Chavez emailed the principal of her son's school, Desert Cove Elementary, to get an explanation for the policy.
The school responded that cafeteria employees are to offer students the choice of either receiving a slip or a stamp as a reminder. However, in this case, it seemed no choice was given, Daily Mail reports.
The story came alive on social media when Juan Fortenberry, a friend of the Chavez family, posted a picture of the offending stamp on Twitter, describing the incident and how Chavez's son reacted to the school's reminder stamp.
His post soon went viral, with many followers offering their opinions and expressing concern about the significance of the stamp, both for children and society in general.
Some users pointed out that the stamp would "mark" the child in the eyes of his schoolmates, display his or her financial situation to the world and source insecurity and fear in the child.
Others agreed that the school ought not to involve "branding" a child outright, but instead implement other policies that allow the child to save face.
Still others argued that other "obvious" avenues of alerting parents are no longer effective, as it may be difficult to track a parent via email, text message or phone in modern life as some parents work busy schedules and would forget.
A smaller section of Twitter users expressed concern that the policy of stamping children's wrists as reminders may not just be particular to the school or Arizona area, but soon be a trend throughout the country.
Many believe the school did its best by officially backing a policy of choice, but for whatever reason, the stamp was given and the parent and friend were too sensitive to the perceived stigma attached to the mark and should learn to roll with the one-time event.
It is unclear whether Desert Cove Elementary will change its policy in the future, but the now-widely spread stamp has provoked a conversation about privacy issues, children's upbringing and other societal implications.