Connect
To Top

Mom Couldn’t Figure Out Her Sons’ Constant Migraines, Then She Saw Photos From Their Cafeteria


school cafeteria

It was an otherwise typical school routine for Virginia woman Beth Paulette’s sons: the kids get on the bus, they go to school, they learn, they eat their school lunch, they return to class, they come home. But it became apparent to her that something was terribly wrong. Both of her children were suffering from mysterious headaches.

The headaches tended to begin precisely when they came home from school. As she began to investigate the situation, she soon had a rude awakening, a glimpse into the reality of the environment that her children were experiencing at school. Little did this mom know, she would make a discovery that would not only explain her children’s ailment but one that would potentially affect the well-being of the greater student body population.

1. School Days

Beth Paulette and her four sons were living in King & Queen County in eastern Virginia. Like many mothers of school-age children, she sent her kids to school while relying on the school system itself to provide meals for them. It was the sort of thing that didn’t require a second thought.

school lunch- Inexplicable Headaches

Facebook/Beth Paulette

Getting a hot school lunch every day was practically a given, something so fundamentally part of routine that it ought not to have even been questioned under ordinary circumstances. But as time went on, she noticed something bizarre kept happening to her boys. As Beth was about to figure out, nothing at school could be taken for granted.

2. Daily Routine

As part of their daily routine, Beth’s kids would get the bus to school, spend their day there, eat, go back to class, and then get back on the bus to come home. This was the usual schedule that Beth assumed was being followed. But ever so gradually, something began to shift.

school lunch - Inexplicable Headaches

Facebook/Beth Paulette

At first, it seemed barely perceptible. It started with a headache in one of Beth’s sons, then the other. The boys came home from school, spoke to their mom, and complained about how their heads were hurting, but nothing about it stood out. All of that was about to change, drastically.

3. An Alarming Trend

What had began as a casual complaint soon became far more significant. The headaches that Beth’s children were suffering from became far more serious and surprising in their intensity. Both of the boys were getting full-blown migraines, and not only that, but it was becoming a daily occurrence. It was baffling.

school lunch

Facebook/Beth Paulette

It was practically like clockwork. Every time the boys got off the school bus and arrived home, Beth could expect to see that their heads would be throbbing with pain from the migraines they were both enduring. It could not have been a coincidence. But Beth was utterly at a loss.

4. Inexplicable Pattern

Seeing this new recurring health problem that seemed to have sprung up out of nowhere was a frightening thing for a mother to deal with. These migraines were affecting both of her children now, with a scary consistency. To confound matters worse, they had no precedent. This was a totally new phenomenon.

school bus - Virginian mom

WTVR

Her otherwise healthy children were coming home from school, suffering on a daily basis and Beth couldn’t figure out what on Earth could have been caused these migraine headaches. The pressing new health issue sent her on a frantic search for an answer to get to the root of the issue.

5. Searching For Causation

Many different factors could have been the potential cause of the migraine headaches Beth’s sons were suffering from. As Beth did some research into what could have triggered this bizarre and sudden phenomenon, she learned that there were several possible catalysts. They could have come from lack of sleep, not receiving enough fluids, or just an intense amount of stress.

School Cafeteria

richmond.com

But as she ticked off the list of potential causes for the regular migraines, none of them seemed to match the circumstances of her sons’ otherwise ordinary school days. She was unprepared for what the real cause was, and she was about to find out it was from the most unlikely of sources.

6. Scant Clues

After dealing with her children’s migraines for some time to no avail, Beth was left utterly puzzled by the situation and unsure of where to turn in order to stop the excruciating headaches from coming to be. Then, by chance, the puzzle began to solve itself and the first clue was an ordinary, every day act that typically wouldn’t have garnered a second thought.

school lunch

WTVR

Beth’s sons began to send her worrying text messages from school about how the headaches were disrupting their abilities at school. Attached to the texts were photos — and by chance, they turned out to be the missing link Beth needed to solve the puzzle. There was something startling in the photos that caught her completely by surprise.

7. Photo Documentation

The photos Beth was receiving from her kids shocked her. They were depicting what kind of food was being served in King & Queen Central High School’s cafeteria for their daily school lunch. The problem was, nothing about these pictures showed anything that ought to have been in a school lunch in the first place.

School Cafeteria - inexplicable headaches

WTVR

The food that Beth was seeing in the pictures was practically unrecognizable. Each image needed a description to explain its contents, because it was unclear just what these objects were that were being passed off as lunch. Beth demanded to know more. She had to ask her sons for additional information.

8. Apocalypse Chow

In the pictures were pieces of food that had been burnt so badly that it was hard to believe that were even being passed off as edible. As a mother, Beth was in total disbelief, but quite frankly, any sane person would have been horrified by the sight.

Virginia School Cafeteria

WTVR

There were pizzas that looked like wedges of cardboard, and dissolved spare ribs. There were even some dishes so charred, mangled, and disgusting that Beth had to ask her kids what the food was supposed to have been. She was furious, but she had an idea as to how this was related to their migraines.

9. Unable To Eat

The school lunch debacle could well have explained the boys’ health concerns. Beth’s children had likely been suffering from migraines caused by hypoglycemia, low blood sugar resulting from not having eaten. She was appalled to learn that her children had been skipping their school lunches, and had not told her about it.

School Cafeteria - inexplicable headaches

WTVR

The food was simply so revolting that they hadn’t been able to stomach it. Beth learned, to her horror, that the inedible garbage like what she was seeing in the photographs was not a fluke school lunch screw-up. In fact, this was the caliber of food the students were being served every day.

10. Hunger Pains

Beth was certain that her sons had been skipping their school lunch due to the condition of the food, and that was the cause of their persistent headaches. As the American Nutrition Association defines it, even hunger itself can be the cause of recurring migraines. Beth knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what was making her children suffer.

inexplicable headaches - School Cafeteria

WTVR

It was apparent that they weren’t getting the proper nutrition during their time at school. They skipped school lunch because they had no other choice, and the situation in the cafeteria had to be rectified now. It not only affected their learning, but their functioning. Beth had to take action, immediately.

11. Launching A Campaign

As soon as she saw the disgusting photos from the Central High School cafeteria, Beth was determined to change the situation however she could. But at first, she was flummoxed. To her dismay, she found that nobody was eager to join her crusade and change the conditions at the high school.

school lunch - inexplicable migraines

WTVR

She felt that in order for this problem to be treated as seriously as it ought to, it would be necessary to involve bigger forces. That’s when she turned to her local news station, WTVR CBS 6. What would they think about the situation — would they see eye to eye with her?

12. Shocked And Appalled

Beth contacted the news station and sent them the various nauseating photos that her sons had taken of the failed school lunch at Central High School. To her relief, they confirmed that she was in no way exaggerating. They received them exactly as she saw them: absolutely horrifying. It sprang them into action.

Virginia school lunch

WTVR

As soon as they had seen evidence that the school lunch at Central High School had been badly tampered with, the news reporters at WTVR were instantly hooked and knew they couldn’t turn away. They were going to help Beth figure out the cause of this inedible food. People would have to answer for it.

13. Going Behind The Scenes

The school lunch had been too appalling to eat, and various students were forced to refrain from lunch, which had likely given Beth’s kids their recurring migraines. With Beth behind them, the news team at WTVR launched an investigation as to what was going on at King & Queen Central High School.

school lunch - Virginia mom

WTVR

They wanted to find out what the conditions were in the school cafeteria that had led to this becoming an issue, not to mention how it had gone unreported for so long and what forces had allowed it to go unchecked. What they were about to discover would truly send them down the rabbit hole.

14. Not Alone

The moment the case was opened, people started coming out of the woodwork to show their disgust and displeasure with the way meals were being handled at the school. One student, Precious Jackson, when interviewed on camera, remarked about the food that: “It looked so unappetizing, I could not bring myself to eat it at all.”

school lunch

WTVR

Beyond the migraines, being hungry meant the kids wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class. Every aspect of their education was counting on this crucial building block of getting the proper school lunch that they were owed. The question still remained, how had the situation deteriorated this badly for so long?

15. To The Top

Beth Paulette and the news team went up to the top of the chain of command, and spoke to the school superintendent, Dr. Stanley Jones. It was Jones’ responsibility to ensure that the students under his jurisdiction would receive daily meals that were hot and nutritious — not to mention edible in the first place!

school lunch

Boredom Therapy

When the news team showed Dr. Jones the photo documentation of the appalling food being served in the high school cafeteria, he was obviously repulsed by it. In light of the conditions at Central High School, Dr. Jones revealed something about the school’s operation that could potentially explain the cafeteria debacle.

16. The Superintendent Explains

Dr. Jones had apparently known that something was rotten. As he responded to the damning evidence about the conditions of Central High School’s lunches, Dr. Jones said that the head of the school cafeteria had already been put on suspended leave, after a series of additional complaints had already been filed.

School Cafeteria

Boredom Therapy

Though he did not delve further into explaining the circumstances of the cafeteria manager’s suspension, he indirectly gave an explanation of his own. Dr. Jones hinted that if such a thing happens, it generally has to do with the employee’s performance. But there was about to be another huge twist.

17. A Different Angle

Having got wind of the story, the media caught up with the employee who had been suspended. And it turned out that she took umbrage with Dr. Jones’s statements to the press. Her name was Suzanne Gilbertson, and she claimed she had been punished unjustly. She held that there had been a problem for some time now, and she had tried to bring this to Dr. Jones’s attention.

Virginia school lunch - inexplicable headaches

WTVR

Suzanne proclaimed that the employees under her supervision had always been told that if the food they had prepared was substandard, it shouldn’t go out; that is to say, if they themselves wouldn’t eat it, then they ought not serve it to the students. Still, she had one more link to add to the puzzle.

18. Who’s In Charge?

To make matters even more complicated, when pressed for information about the state of the school lunch food, Suzanne claimed that she hadn’t even been in charge of the high school cafeteria at the time of her suspension. She said that Dr. Jones himself had personally hired someone else to take care of that.

school lunch

WTVR

The new employee, Suzanne said in her opinion, did not have enough experience required for the position. What’s more, she said that she herself had been concerned about leaving the new employee in a position of power. She claimed that when she had lodged complaints with Dr. Jones, his response was not what she’d been hoping for.

19. Complaints Ignored

In her defense, Suzanne said she had tried to raise concerns about the cafeteria situation beforehand. According to what Suzanne alleged, every time that she had raised complaints or questions to Dr. Jones about the situation in the Central High School Cafeteria, he had shut her down via email, saying she was out of her league.

school bus

WTVR

She had been advised by him that the employees in question did not report to her, but rather to human resources and the superintendent himself. From the look of things, there was a big gap between job expectations and understanding of hierarchy. And yet, the school lunch remained inedible. So what could be done?

20. Taking Action

After hearing the ping-pong of accusations from the cast of characters behind the scenes of the school’s administration, few things were clear. It seemed that a huge mangled situation of several people taking only partial responsibility had led to the inedible food at Central High School’s cafeteria, which had made Beth’s kids get migraines from hunger.

school lunch

WTVR

The school superintendent Dr. Jones was asked to comment on the matter. He said that at the end of the day, responsibility fell among the various workers of the cafeteria to strive for the best interests of the children. Nonetheless, at the bare minimum, he promised the kids would no longer be served inedible food. Where did that leave Beth?

21. Mystery Solved

Even if going behind the scenes of the food situation at King & Queen Central High School had meant uncovering school system politics, at the end of the day, Beth Paulette had done what was best, not just for her children’s welfare but for all the other students who usually ate the school lunch.

school lunch - inexplicable migraine

WTVR

As a result of their nasty experience, this mom had seen quite viscerally the toll that lack of nutrition could take on her children’s bodies. She had solved the mystery of her sons’ sudden migraine headaches. And yet, one year later, King & Queen County Central High School would swing right back into the news.

22. Faculty Shuffle

In May 2016, just one year after the now infamous inedible school lunch incident at King & Queen County Central High School, controversy once more rocked its way down the halls. But this time, thankfully, it had nothing to do with the cafeteria — and there was an entirely new cast of characters.

King & Queen County Central High School lunch

NBC12.com

In late April 2016, the eastern Virginia high school’s principal, Mr. Antoine Monroe, was sent away on administrative leave. The following Thursday came a heated meeting that had been called by the school board, in which Mr. Monroe had declared his resignation. But the school community would not take things lightly.

23. Mass Protest

As it turned out, putting Principal Antoine Monroe out of his position was an incredibly divisive mood for the King & Queen County school community. Monroe was a very popular and much beloved figure, and news that he would be resigning, under circumstances that were less than clear did not sit well at all with his constituents.

King & Queen County Central High School

NBC12.com

In between Mr. Monroe being put on administrative leave and his ultimate resignation came a backlash from parents and high school students alike. After an intense weekend of discussion, students at the high school walked out of their classes for Monday and Tuesday, and parents protested online. But there was yet another twist at hand.

24. Week Of Rage

It had been an unusually tumultuous week for an otherwise relatively calm school district. First the shocking news about the high school principal, and then the walkouts. Then, just afterwards, it was announced that all Friday classes were to be cancelled — not just at Central High School, but for all schools in the district.

King and Queen County Public Schools

King and Queen County Public Schools

The announcement caught locals quite unaware. In search of concrete answers, people looked to Carol B. Carter, who had since succeeded Dr. Stanley Jones as district superintendent for King & Queen County. But what she would tell the public just left them scratching their heads, and opened yet another can of worms.

25. Fast Times At Central High

Apparently, behind the scenes, through online comments and other forums, rumors had been flying throughout the King & Queen County school system. The superintendent, Carol Carter, claimed that the decision to shut down the schools that Friday had been due to security concerns. She added that none of the students had been in danger, but she didn’t elaborate.

school lunch

West Point Guide

When pressed for any further details after these murky statements, she said that she was forbidden to say anything else. The entire strange saga, coupled with the school lunch fiasco from the year before, just goes to show that no matter where you grow up, mystery, intrigue, and even the terribly unexpected could be right around the corner.

Sources: WTVR CBS 6Richmond.com

More from IcePop


More in OMG!