Recently, my son came home from the Park Avenue School in Auburn with the usual updates and notices associated with being in sixth grade. In addition, there were two rather conflicting notes. The first was the Auburn School Department’s policy on wellness. It outlined the department’s policy on food and activity — specifically prohibiting the use of food as a reward and encouraging healthy snacks for classroom parties.

The second notice was a sign-up sheet for the “Teacher Appreciation Week potluck dishes”— Monday, breakfast; Tuesday, coffee/light snacks; Wednesday, appetizers/chips/salty treats; Thursday, crock pot lunch; Friday, sweets. Students are asked to bring one item for this event.

My son wasn’t allowed to share cupcakes on his birthday. He wasn’t allowed to eat the cookie I packed in his lunch; and his homemade kale chips were deemed dangerous because of a lack of ingredients. But we can show appreciation to the teachers with a mountain of food?

In my career as a chef, I found that leading by example teaches more than any words or policies ever can.

Our teachers do a fantastic job and deserve praise recognition (and a cookie). But this is hypocrisy.

Michael Staffenski, Auburn