DEAR HARRIETTE: My son just went on an overnight trip with his school, and everybody came back complaining that the food was horrible and the trip was poorly organized. The parents were fairly shocked, considering that these kids go to private school, and the trip was expensive. Without trying to turn our children into brats, a few of us want to speak to the administration about the poor quality of conditions and food that they say they experienced. How can we do that without sounding entitled? This is an annual trip, and we would feel irresponsible not bringing it up and having it happen again next year. -- Bad Taste, Yonkers, New York
DEAR BAD TASTE: Some camps are rugged, even those that are attended by private school children. That, however, does not mean that food in particular should be bad. Do some sleuthing before you report to find out exactly what "bad" means. Make sure the issue isn't whether it was gourmet, but more if it was healthy, well-cooked, served in a clean environment, etc.
Then, by all means, speak to the administration. Organize a small group of concerned parents and go directly to whoever planned the trip. Express your children's concerns, find out if the administration is aware and, if so, what they are going to do about it. Be clear as to why you are bringing this up: Namely, that your children came back extremely upset about the camp's conditions and food. Let your school know that you feel that you would be remiss if you said nothing and potentially let history repeat itself next year. Follow up with the administrator to ensure that your verbalized concerns did not fall on deaf ears.