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Are Students Entitled to Free Lunches Just Because?

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When I was in public school, you had three choices for lunch.  Pay for lunch at the school cafeteria, bring your lunch from home or go hungry.  The school was not responsible for feeding a student who forgets their lunch or didn’t have money to buy one.

It was called ‘responsibility.’  Students and their parents were supposed to be responsible for providing for themselves.  For most of my public school days, I got up early enough to fix my own lunch.  The days I felt lazy and too tired to pack my own lunch, I went hungry.  I was responsible for my lunch, not the school.  Whenever I was given money to buy lunch at the school cafeteria, I thought I was living the good life.

In today’s world of entitlements and liberal sociology, it seems that it’s everyone’s responsibility to provide for a student when they and their parents fail to do so.  Students are no longer being taught responsibility and evidently, neither are their parents.

Case in point is what happened at Coelho Middle School in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  The school covers grades 5 through 8.  On Tuesday, the school denied lunch to as many as 25 students because they could not pay for the meal or their pre-paid lunch cards were out of funds.  Some students in the cafeteria line received their food, but when they got to the cash register, they were told that they could not eat it because of lack of funds.  In most cases, the meals were tossed in the garbage, because they had already been served and could not be put back according to health codes.

It was reported that some students actually cried when they were denied a free lunch.  One parent reported that her son offered to share his lunch with a girl in line with him who began crying when she was told to dump hers because of lack of funds.  Another parent, John Greaves was incensed that his daughter was told to throw her lunch away because she had no way of paying for it.  He said that people in prison get fed but that his honor student daughter was going hungry.

Whitson’s Culinary Group is the company that runs the school cafeteria.  The local site director for Coelho Middle School was placed on administrative leave because of what happened.  Pia Durkin, school superintendent said that the cafeteria workers failed to follow policy of providing a cheese sandwich and glass of milk to any student that can’t pay for a lunch.  She promised that no student will ever go hungry again.

So what does all this teach the students?  When you can’t pay your own way or not responsible enough to pay, you should expect the system to pay and provide for you.  If John Greaves was so upset because his honor student went hungry, I question to him is why didn’t you provide your honor student with the funds to pay for her lunch like a responsibly parent should?  Where does he get off expecting the school to do be responsible when he’s not?

The school district says that they currently have a deficit of $1,800 for delinquent student accounts.  At a time when so many school districts have to make drastic financial cuts including laying off teachers, every dollar is precious.  I hate to see kids go hungry, but blame the parents and the students, not the school.  If the parents don’t have the money for the cafeteria lunches, then they should see that their kids pack a lunch like millions of us have done for years.

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by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 7:49 AM
Replies (41-50):
GeekMommi
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:01 AM

But there is also a huge number of people who cant get on the program because they are just above the income level and still cant afford food. I been there!


Quoting cjsmom1:

In this example it is the parents fault. I feel bad for the kids but I bet the parents will pay after this. As far as responsibility I have no problem with free lunches. For many kids this is the only nutritional meal they'll get all day.
When I lived in NY they offered free lunch all summer long to anyone under 18. It was great because by the time I was a preteen I was home alone and the program allowed me to eat things I couldn't make.



LizS84
by New Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:01 AM
I see what you are saying, but i would hate for a child to go hungry for any reason. Feed the kids. Bill the parents later if you must.
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ElitestJen
by Silver Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM
1 mom liked this



Quoting Woodbabe:

So we should do away with the free lunch program? You do understand that in many impoverished areas, this meal at school is the ONLY mean some kids get all day? We all pay school taxes (well those of us who actually own homes/property) and part of that goes to fund free school lunches for those who need it. If you sincerely believe poor children are of no value and don't deserve to eat, please...feel free to petition your local government and press the issue.

There's no excuse for a child to go hungry.  If they are, they have degenerate parents and should be taken by the state.  Then they will have lunch money everyday.

Society needs to stop enabling crappy parenting by plucking the heart strings on behalf of the poor children.  Take the kids.  Let the parents starve.  They're the ones with no value.


krysstizzle
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Just fyi, it's the USAD :)

And I agree with you. Good nutrition for our students is good for all of us. 

Quoting Woodbabe:

The FDA (I think) subsidizes food for these kids because its understood how important it is. I think parents should be able to put shoes on their kids feets AND feed them lunch but the sad reality is that many can't. Should the kids suffer the sins of the mother? I personally saw a hundred kids loaded onto school buses and taken to payless for a new pair of shoes at the elementary school I worked at last year. 

Quoting desertlvn:


Easy there. I was agreeing with you.

The kids need the food in order to have normal brain development. The free school lunch program isn't paid for by schools, which is how it should be in my opinion. 

My concern is the schools having to pick up the bill.

Quoting Woodbabe:

So we should do away with the free lunch program? You do understand that in many impoverished areas, this meal at school is the ONLY mean some kids get all day? We all pay school taxes (well those of us who actually own homes/property) and part of that goes to fund free school lunches for those who need it. If you sincerely believe poor children are of no value and don't deserve to eat, please...feel free to petition your local government and press the issue.

Quoting desertlvn:

*nods head*

If you look at it at a more basic level you realize that children who don't receive adequate nutrition don't have normal brain development, which hurts society as much as it hurts children.

I just don't think the schools should be responsible for paying for those free lunches. 

Quoting Woodbabe:

When you step back and examine this issue on a higher level, providing a lunch makes much more sense. On a basic level a hungry child cannot learn, and they're going to be disruptive to the learning environment for everyone else. On the broader level, a country cannot move forward without educating its children...its what sets us apart from second and third world countries. If we don't have an educated population, people can't work and contribute to society. 








jehosoba84
by Jenn on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM

 No, You get a clue. This school is grades 5-8. A 5th grader is, what, 11 years old? If you cannot make yourself a lunch for school by that age, YES your parents have failed you. 

This is not about starving kids. I did not say that the school should not have fed them. In fact, in the original thread about this I called the adults heartless for making those kids throw away their food.           

   

This is about parents today not teaching their kids personal responsibility. It seems to be a lost concept these days.

Quoting Raintree:


Quoting jehosoba84:

 I agree with the sentiment of the OP, but these children have not been raised with the 'I'm responsible for myself' mentality, so I do feel sorry for them. Not so much for their parents.

These children you're speaking of aren't 'raised' yet. 

Get a clue.


 

cjsmom1
by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM
You're right. It's tough when you don't qualify for free or reduced lunch but you're still struggling.


Quoting GeekMommi:

But there is also a huge number of people who cant get on the program because they are just above the income level and still cant afford food. I been there!



Quoting cjsmom1:

In this example it is the parents fault. I feel bad for the kids but I bet the parents will pay after this. As far as responsibility I have no problem with free lunches. For many kids this is the only nutritional meal they'll get all day.

When I lived in NY they offered free lunch all summer long to anyone under 18. It was great because by the time I was a preteen I was home alone and the program allowed me to eat things I couldn't make.





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talia-mom
by Gold Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:04 AM

So is it okay to stop feeding them for free when the amount that is owed to the company reaches 5 figures instead of 4?


At what point is a business allowed not to lose money off the parents too irresponsible to pay?


Quoting LizS84:

I see what you are saying, but i would hate for a child to go hungry for any reason. Feed the kids. Bill the parents later if you must.



ElitestJen
by Silver Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:04 AM
2 moms liked this



Quoting GeekMommi:

But there is also a huge number of people who cant get on the program because they are just above the income level and still cant afford food. I been there!


Quoting cjsmom1:

In this example it is the parents fault. I feel bad for the kids but I bet the parents will pay after this. As far as responsibility I have no problem with free lunches. For many kids this is the only nutritional meal they'll get all day.
When I lived in NY they offered free lunch all summer long to anyone under 18. It was great because by the time I was a preteen I was home alone and the program allowed me to eat things I couldn't make.



That's horseshit.  People qualify for free lunches up to 130% of poverty level.  They'll get reduced lunches at 185% of the poverty level.  If someone is above those income requirements and still can't afford food, then perhaps they should shut off their cell phone and learn to prioritize. 


Themis_Defleo
by Bronze Member on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:05 AM
1 mom liked this
I forgot to fill my son's lunch account once when my dad was dying. The lunch lady had my son call me from her cell phone. He said she was lending him $2 and expected to be repaid the next day. He laid the guilt on thick as only a 6th grader can. I was so embarrassed. (and grateful). I don't think I will forget again.

Our lunch lady is great. She is clever and resourceful.

I do think that the responsibility lies with the parent. Instead of outrage, these parents should be feeling shame at having put their children in that position.
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candlegal
by Judy on Apr. 9, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Has it occurred to you to do a post on that?    I say go for it.

Quoting GeekMommi:

Candle this is really a question for you, like I mentioned before....why not go after prisoners who get free meals instead of kids?


Quoting candlegal:

I would be willing to bet the school did send out letters and the parents didn't pay any attention to them.


Quoting IhaveHisjoy:

 I think throwing out the food was very wrong. I'm guessing all the kids that didn't get fed that day came from families that could afford to pay..kids that aren't going hungry at home...or they would be on the free lunch program.

The school should have sent out letters saying your child will not receive hot lunch until you pay up..then have someone in the front of the line checking.

I don't believe any of those kids were going to starve by missing one lunch. The parents should be embarrassed and ashamed for neglecting their kids..not the school, imo.





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