KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – A Kirksville School District substitute teacher believed a student’s lunch was too unhealthy to be eaten and scolded the child’s parents in a letter.

The father, Dr. Justin Puckett, posted the note to his Facebook page.

It reads:

Dr. and Mrs. Puckett –

The cafeteria reported to me that Alia’s today included four chocolate bars, a bag of marshmallows, Ritz crackers and a pickle. Please see that she packs a proper lunch tomorrow.

The father hit back, saying while all of those items were in his daughter’s lunch, there was more, too.

“Unfortunately, the letter didn’t have what she had, correctly. She had four pieces of ham, a whole protein meat, she also had some pickles, which we admittedly cheat on pickles every once and awhile as a vegetable, because some fights just aren’t worth having. She also had four marshmallows in a Ziploc bag and then she had three very small pieces of chocolate, of which she ate one for lunch and then she also gave her brother and another friend one at an after school program,” Puckett tells ABC 3.

Puckett lunch letterThe parent objected to the note and believes his parenting skills are being questioned.

“The issue isn’t what happened at the Primary School and with my daughter because she is very independent and going to be completely unaffected by this. But what does bother me is that it just seems that we are constantly being inundated with the inability to be parents of our children,” Puckett says.

At the bottom of the note, the teacher created a line and above it wrote, “Parent Signature Requested.”

“Request Declined,” Puckett wrote in return.

The father tells the news station its his responsibility to be a good parent and he would not pack an unhealthy lunch.

“I’m responsible for them and for the choices that they make and do whether it’s at school or not. 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,” Puckett tells

After the kerfuffle, the Primary School principal, Tricia Reger, called to apologize for the incident.

Superintendent Dr. Damon Kizzire weighed in as well, telling KTVO, “We have as educators been directed to provide healthy and nutritious foods for so long that we had an individual take it upon themselves to send a note home to parents. This will not happen again and I am sorry for any inconvenience.”

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