30 January 2014

File this under What the Frak???

Elementary school kids' lunches seized because of debt.


An elementary school in Salt Lake City handles outstanding school lunch debt by taking food away from kids, and then throwing that food away.

Kids are being humiliated because of something their parents need to handle.

Look, the lunches have to be paid for. I get that. But instead of throwing the food out, just let the kid have it and give them a note to take home reminding their parents that their accounts are out of money. Most parents will pay up.

When I was in second grade, school lunches were paid for with tickets; we bought them in booklets of 10 or 20, and traded one ticket for one hot lunch. One day I went through the lunch line and reached for my little booklet, and discovered I had no more tickets.

I wish lunch had looked like this...
I was 7 years old. I wanted to cry. I had no idea what was going to happen. Was the man going to yell at me? Was he going to take my lunch away? I was hungry and I was scared. For about 10 seconds, I was terrified and I remember it so well because of that.

The horrible mean man at the cash register looked at my empty ticket booklet, told me I needed to be more aware of how many tickets I had, then handed me a slip to give to my mom that basically said, "Your kid got a free lunch today, but please take care of this."

Did some parents take advantage of that policy, which made sure grade school kids still got their lunches?

I'm sure some did. I'm sure even more made sure that their kids had enough money to buy a new lunch ticket booklet, and to pay for the free lunch they'd been given (which, if I recall correctly, was never accepted. Because forgotten lunch money happens.)

But hell, you want to really invest in education, make an impact that will likely do more for kids' ability to learn? Give them ALL free lunch, every single day. Make breakfast available every single day. Because if you keep decent food in a kid during the school day, you have a kid who is less fidgety, more able to concentrate, and more willing to expend energy in learning.

But that would cost money.


Find the money. Look to the schools that have already been experimenting with this concept and find where they're getting the money--because it's being done.

Raise my taxes?

Hell yes. If I can be guaranteed that a .05 to .1% hike on my property taxes would go towards free hot lunches for every kid in school, I'd gladly pay it. With legal, law-bound assurances that it will always go towards that, and that it cannot ever be switched to something else, I would have zero problems with that.

But *I* don't have kids in school, why should I pay that? I don't want my taxes to go to schools.

Tough shit, sunshine. I don't have school-aged kids, either, but this is an investment in everyone's future, in the kids that will run the country someday. And not wanting tax money to go towards schools? I don't want my taxes to pay anyone remotely involved with the Tea Party, but I don't get a say in that. Other people don't want their taxes funding the military, but they don't get a say in that. We don't get to pick and choose exactly where our tax dollars go, so...suck on it.

Feed the kids, dammit. And don't take away food when it's only going to be thrown away. That's so wasteful, and in the end the kids are the ones hurt by it.

Yes, I am ticked off by this. Very, very ticked off by this.


Dawn Brayton said...

Some Tea Party people must be in charge of the schools in your town.
Seems like they constantly think free is a swear word. So no way are they going to find out about how Chicago has not only free lunch programs for poor kids but also free breakfast. If they only knew kids do better at learning stuff when they aren't hungry maybe the lunches wouldn't be thrown out. That takes money and tosses it in the trash. Hopefully some of the teachers in the schools where that's done will have issues with the person or people who had THAT "bright idea". Because that is worse than stupid. You aren't paying taxes for anyone's lunch to go in the garbage.

conny warren said...

This sort of thing has been reported at more than one school. It's really infuriating that kids are being punished because their parents are either poor or forgetful.

Angel and Kirby said...

Dallas is attempting to do the free lunch. They had so many on the government program that they were the majority so it is not costing them too much more for the others. I think it is a good program. I was never refused a meal.I lived close enough to walk home from first grade through 12th. But there were times when Mom would be out of town and we would have to eat at school. I do not remember that too much in elementary, but Middle and High school, it did happen that I would have to eat at school and if I did not have the money, I got a pass. Of course we were talking about thirty five cents. I was not the only one and it was not because my Mom's cousin was the lunch money lady! She did it for any kid who needed it.

I was appalled when I heard about the school taking lunches from kids. It was already cooked and in front of them! What did it prove by removing it!

My kids were offered a peanut butter sandwich. I know they can not do that now because 'little Johnny or Sue' is allergic, but they could offer them something. But they should never take food out from in front of them!

David E. Francis said...

You tell them Girl!

Jane2 said...

Amen times a thousand. I am so tired of people punishing children because "their parents should...". Well for a number of reasons, their parents didn't, and making a child go hungry is morally and ethically wrong on every level.

caircair said...

Amen, Thumper! I'm all for raising taxes as much as possible - for schools, fire and police services, roads, etc. But that's because I understand taxes are the price we pay for the services we receive. I just wish more people would realize that.

Mighty Kitty said...

That is outrageously bad! I used to teach elementary school and the district not only had a great lunch program but also had a breakfast program. These were offered not just to kids who had no way to pay but to anyone who maybecdidn't even have time to eat! It had great menus for both breakfast and lunch. Many kids had their only hot meals in school. What you just described is really stealing! Stealing from our future and stealing from precious kids who need it!