School kicks helicopter parents out of the cafeteria

If you’ve raised kids, you know that the day you drop them off at school is among the most heartbreaking days for a parent. They don’t need you anymore, at least during school hours.

For most parents, they soon realize it’s among the most joyous moments; they’ve got part of their lives back. At least during school hours.

Of course, you actually have to have a life for that to be of any value and too many people in Darien, Conn., don’t, apparently.

They’re pretty steamed with the school system there which has kicked them out of the cafeteria at lunch time, the Associated Press reports.

Too many of them showed up at the school to sit with their kids during lunch.

‘‘It feels like a punch in the gut,’’ parent Jessica Xu, whose oldest child is in first grade, said in an interview with the AP. ‘‘I chose the town for the schools. I’m so frustrated the schools don’t want me there.’’

Of course, in a few years, Xu the younger is going to ask Xu the elder to drop her off a block from school for fear of her friends seeing her with her mother. That will be followed by the “I hate you and I wish I’d never been born years,” all perfectly natural as part of the process of breaking away.

But Jessica isn’t ready for that quite yet. So aren’t a lot of parents, apparently.

‘‘We believe that schools exist for children, and we work to develop the skills necessary for students to grow into engaged members of society,’’ Tara Ochman, chairman of the Darien Board of Education, said in a written statement. ‘‘We work every day on this mission so that our students embrace their next steps confidently and respectfully.’’

That’s Connecticutspeak for “for the love of God, let go!”

The Darien school teachers and administration aren’t talking. A nearby school district however said the problem is the kids get upset when the parents leave.

‘‘To just ban parents from the lunchroom, which is effectively what you’re doing with this email, I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s in the spirit of a collaborative environment,’’ parent Terry Steadman told a public meeting.

Steadman said the visits to lunch allowed them to help their kids resolve friction with other kids. Or help open milk cartons.

“Perhaps it’s for the idea that these younger, growing children need to become more independent and not reliant on their parents,” said a teacher who didn’t want to be identified. “I kind of disagree with that because they will be on their own at some point in their lives and I think when they’re young they need to share a lot of things, just like riding in a car with you.”