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Dutchess_lll's avatar

Looking past the inflammatory title of this NBC news article, what do think of this letter that was sent out the the parents who were delinquent in paying for their kid's food?

Asked by Dutchess_lll (5610points) 3 weeks ago

This article.

At first I was outraged, but then I got to thinking about it. They send their child to school with no breakfast, no food, no money to buy food….and that should be investigated. Does the child get dinner? What about weekends and during the summer? Is the child showing signs of malnutrition? Do they need help signing up for food stamps?

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132 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m not a parent, but I think it’s great. With all the drugs and mental issues, perhaps some need a reminder that they are parents or that they are required to take care of their children.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I am disappointed with NBC’s attempt to manipulate how we feel about this.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t approve of sending threatening letters to parents about such a sensitive issue . A better approach would be to request the parents attend a meeting at the school to discuss remedies or solutions.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Agreed, people are too afraid to talk face to face about things like this anymore.

nerdgirl578's avatar

How poor are these parents though? I don’t know the context. It seems a bit harsh to use something like that as a threat, especially if they wouldn’t even do that like the foster care employee said. Still, of course parents have to be able to feed their children…

jca2's avatar

It’s a bunch of sh**. It’s a scare tactic but they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, as far as foster care goes.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Another brutish scare tactic in an increasingly brutish society.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@nerdgirl578 there are a ton of resources out there for poor people. Foodstamps for one. In Kansas all I had l to do was show the school I qualified for food stamps and the kids got free lunches. If they hadn’t I would have sent food from home because Lord knows we had enough.

@jca2 the letter said nothing about foster care. It said CPS might be contacted…and maybe they should be. Why aren’t they providing for their kids?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@YARNLADY I agree but at that point I’m sure they tried many other tactics to get the parents to pay their bill.

jca2's avatar

If the parent is taken to court, they risk their child being removed “and placed in foster care,” according to the letter.

Quote from the article, @Dutchess_lll.

If the letter didn’t actually say that, then the article is misquoting.

I am leaving work now and don’t have time to peruse the letter again.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Frankly, school lunches should be free to all students regardless of income.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar They are free, you just have to do the paperwork first.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL

To all students, regardless of income. Or perhaps you stopped reading at “free”. And really, nothing like burdensome paperwork and bureaucracy to add extra expense to districts that are already strapped for funds.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I stand corrected @jca2. It specifically threatens them with foster care. I think it’s a shitty thing to threaten. But why aren’t they taking care of their kids?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@KNOWITALL not sure where you get the idea that lunches are free to all students. They aren’t.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll

How do you know they aren’t? Because the brute writing that threatening letter said so?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Because I would have availed myself of it for the kids! I’ll see i it’s changed tho….

Darth_Algar's avatar

Umm, what? That response makes no sense in context to what I asked.

EDIT: Gah, I see now I was the one who was unclear. Apologies. I meant how do you know these parents aren’t taking care of their kids?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar Why would rich kids need free lunches?

@Dutchess I’m a journalism major, I can read….it was an idiotic comment though. As if there’s not enough pressure on the school system anyway from dumb parents. Now we want to give rich kids free food, too?

It’s like the Dem debates all over again. Erase college debt for EVERYONE! Even the rich who can afford it? Well, no, that wouldn’t be fair. Well duh.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Where did “rich kids” come into this story? I just said that not every kid qualifies for free or reduced lunches. It depends on income. Could you clarify what you are talking about?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@Darth, as the letter reads they are sending the kid to school with no breakfast and no food and no money to buy food. It’s the parent’s responsibility to ensure their kid’s nutritional needs are met and some of them aren’t doing it.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

My DIL just sent me a pic of the.income guidelines for free and reduced meals…it’s insane! I can’t post it here so I’ll post it on The Tidepool.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL “Why would rich kids need free lunches?”

Why do we need, in our schools, to already segregate between the haves and have-nots? The food used to provide the school lunches is already paid for anyway. It’s there to feed the students, so give it to all students without expectation of remuneration.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll “as the letter reads they are sending the kid to school with no breakfast and no food and no money to buy food.”

And you take that on faith?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well yes. I work in the school systems. I see it all the time. Dirty kids who reek of smoke, who fall asleep in class because their parents were up all night drinking and fighting. Neglect, abuse, you name it. It’s heartbreaking what some of those kids go through.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I didn’t have any problem with paying for the kid’s lunch when I finally made enough money to do so. I don’t think it’s dividing them into “haves” and “have nots.” In our districts noone knew who got free lunches so the other kids couldn’t judge by that. They judged by clothes and cleanliness tho.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar @Dutchess_lll The issue at hand is free school lunch to everyone, rich or poor, correct?

I’m saying that like many of the Dems replied on free college or wiping out student loans, do we want the system to benefit the rich or the poor?

It really makes no sense to burden the taxpayers with the cost of free school lunches for kids who have money for their lunches.

(I feel like I’m in crazy world even having to explain this.)

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Not to me it isn’t. I have no problem paying for their lunches.
The issue at hand is threatening to use CPS to get the kids removed from the home if they don’t pay the lunch bill.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are undoubtedly those among us who will shirk their responsibility for their kid’s lunch if they can assume the state will provide that lunch at state expense. And as grim as the foster care situation is in America, the truth that children exist who would undoubtedly be better off in the care of that system is further testament to the deplorable circumstances of our existence. The one thing that should be settled for those who would prefer not to
believe that there are a substantial number of children going hungry in America is that the state of Pennsylvania confirms it. The question of neglect is not in doubt. The assignment of arbitrary blame is however another matter. A blanket mailing which assumes parents capable of sending their kids to school to avoid the expense of feeding them at home while parents perhaps feast at home in the kid’s absence, flunks the smell test with me. The state of course must avoid both the expense of determining exactly WHO cannot afford to feed their kids, and would greatly prefer to avoid revelation of those numbers regardless of the rather blatant telltale hints. Meanwhile, before you allow kids to go hungry, you feed EVERY KID regardless of the deadbeat or truly irresponsible parents among us. There is no more certain way of fucking up our future than saddling our kids with such basic unnecessary hardships.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I agree with you StanlyMan.

jca2's avatar

Thinking further about this, so the kids get the food, the parents don’t pay the bill, but it’s an assumption on the school’s part that the kids are now not eating. What says the parents aren’t buying food and sending it? There’s not an assumption of guilt in CPS, there have to be facts. The mom could say she’s sending lunch, she could even lie and say she’s sending lunch.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well they take roll every day. They also note whether the kid has a hot lunch or a sack lunch. They also see the kids carrying lunch into the room.
I’m not sure what your saying.
BTW I’m assuming kids at the elementary level.

kritiper's avatar

There isn’t a whole lot that can be done. The parents don’t have money for their kids to eat and the law says the kids must go to school.
You could always take the kids away and neuter both parents…

Dutchess_lll's avatar

If the parents don’t have the money they need to.apply for free / reduced meals, or pack a PB&J for the kid.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_lll: The bill isn’t paid. The kid is bringing a bag lunch to school. The threat of CPS is negated because the kid’s nutritional needs are being met.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

But they aren’t bringing a sack lunch. That’s the whole point. They don’t charge them for a hot lunch unless they get one.

jca2's avatar

OK, so the kid is eating lunch and the mom is not paying the bill. His needs are being met – he’s eating.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

But are they eating at other times? After school? Weekends? If the parents are refusing to pay the bill because they “can’t afford it” that would raise a flag in my book.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This is another of those stupid arguments that cannot be defended. We live in a country that literally PAYS FARMERS NOT TO GROW FOOD, restricts the output from dairies, and faces crisis if we cannot ship our huge output overseas. It’s like the argument against universal health care. A decent lunch should be guaranteed a kid every day that kid is in school. We would be better off even if the lone incentive for a child to attend school was the guarantee of a decent neal.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Plus it’s the parent’s responsibility to take care of their kids.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Hell for many parents the lone incentive is free daycare. They could care less if the kid learns anything.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And for those children whose parents can’t “cut the mustard?”

stanleybmanly's avatar

So should the children be deprived of that daycare? Do you ever wonder how many children would prefer the prospect of living at school or daycare to living at home?

jca2's avatar

In the county I work in, our assessments are strength based. What if the mother sends the kid to grandma’s house for dinner every night? Is that not allowed because it’s not the mother’s money that’s feeding the kid? We call that “resourceful.”

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Of course the kids shoulde not be deprived of school. Not sure why you even went there. For many of them it’s the only thing they can trust.

The question is are the parents taking care of them?
The school is saying that not paying the bill could be a warning flag.

jca2's avatar

The other problem with this letter is that school should be a safe haven, a place where you can trust the staff isn’t going to stab you in the back.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

It goes both ways…assuming you’re referring to the parents getting stabbed in the back.
BTW I think who ever dreamed this horrible letter up is an asshole but I see the point.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Thinking of the letter as a practical matter, can you imagine the state of Pennsylvania acquiring the burden of caring for all of those children who cannot cough up lunch money? If the letter is meant as a shaming tactic, it simply does not recognize that it is THE KID who is shamed. It isn’t the parent who shows up at school to be humiliated.

jca2's avatar

It’s also a lame scare tactic, because they don’t have a leg to stand on as far as CPS goes. PLUS can you imagine the CPS unit getting dozens of new reports for these kids? Who pays for that when they’re working overtime to see all the people within the required time frame? Everyone’s taxes. Over something stupid. SMH.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I know @jca2. But aren’t they bound to investigate any reports of possible neglect?

jca2's avatar

Yes, that’s why it would mean tons of overtime for the staff. They have no choice but to investigate it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Schools are mandatory reporters arent they??

There are plenty of homes that could bear investigating, and food as a child is pretty important. I dont care about a warning for shitty parents, maybe its a wake up call.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

So in the end the DCF and the judge make the call.
MOST parents aren’t delinquent so it’s not like every kid in the school would be investigated. But man. If they can’t be bothered to feed their kids at school then what else can’t they be bothered to do? Too many parents use school as a welfare train and it’s wrong.
They are the same ones who bitch about the school system the loudest.

Stache's avatar

Just throwing this out there. Look how France treats their children. All of their children.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14845/what-french-kids-eat-for-school-lunch-it-puts-americans-to-shame.html

stanleybmanly's avatar

The link provided gives notice of some illegal procedure. Check it out.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Wow…that is a LOT of food for little kids to eat! They must have a ton of food they throw away.
I blame our obesity problem on parents who let their kids play video games 8 hours a day and who feed them “snacks” constantly through the day, instead of maintaining an eating schedule, and forcing them to eat when they aren’t hungry.
None of my grandkids are overweight except for one. His father created eating issues for him.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Dutch It’s tough to blame the public for surrendering to conditioning. How many commercials or advertisements can you remember pimping a juicy “little mac” or the less than 3 gallon drink?

hmmmmmm's avatar

Christ.

I agree with @Darth_Algar said. It should be universal free lunch.

@KNOWITALL: “I’m saying that like many of the Dems replied on free college or wiping out student loans, do we want the system to benefit the rich or the poor?”

This is a big misunderstanding and disagreement between the left and right (and liberals). The right and liberals want to means-test everything and make vulnerable second-class programs for the poor and working class. Universal programs are the least vulnerable because they help everyone, don’t require the poor to jump through hoops or humiliate themselves, etc.

We have public K-12 in the US. While this is mostly a regressive tax system because it’s built upon property taxes, which has all kinds of inequities built it, the children of the rich and the poor in a town have access to the same public schools and resources. You pay for the rich’s kids’ educations. And few people have an issue with this because it’s universal.

Note: It’s worth pointing out that many rich people still send their kids to expensive private K-12 schools. But this is an important point when discussing expanding public education to include public colleges and trade schools. Recall Clinton’s completely disingenuous opposition to Bernie Sanders’ free public college plan.

@KNOWITALL: “It really makes no sense to burden the taxpayers with the cost of free school lunches for kids who have money for their lunches.”

I agree. Tax burdens should be placed on the wealthy – not working people and the poor. But if you read above, you’ll likely agree that you probably have little issue with collective taxes paying for rich kids’ access to public K-12.

You can make an objection about the progressive/regressive nature of taxation. But the mere universality of a program, such as school, police, fire, roads, and feeding children shouldn’t suddenly introduce this issue if it weren’t there to begin with.

kritiper's avatar

Wow! PB&J for lunch? I wish I had it that good back in the first and second grade! But PB&J could get expensive, so why not settle for some dry dog food?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Bravo to the ms. That is the crux to all of these left vs. right issues. Where does the money which should feed any kid who wants it— where does it head instead? Why are the states broke while the fool claims the best economy since the depression? What is wrong with this picture? Is it my failure to factor in the caravans of murderers and rapists?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Ok. You all lost me. Parents are responsible for paying their kid’s school lunch, or packing it to school with them.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yes, but the remedy for the parents who fail for whatever reason—the BEST possible remedy in a place with more food than we can eat is to feed everyone. I mean how much thinking is required to arrive at that conclusion? It doesn’t matter if the parents are unable or irresponsible. The food is THERE. Feed the fkn kids!!!

Stache's avatar

I see no reason why school can’t provide lunch for all children.

JLeslie's avatar

I would hope this isn’t the first reminder letter that the bill needs to be paid. I wouldn’t be assuming the child isn’t eating at home. Is the kid skin and bones? I think it is warranted for the parents to be investigated if there is good cause, but I am not so sure not paying a bill indicates that. Plenty of people don’t pay bills, but still make sure their kids are fed. It sounds like the children are not being denied food at school. Not that I think school is enough, the children need dinner.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@hmmm While I can acknowledge your scenario, I think @Dutchess and I are talking about reality, here and now.

My areas fire, police, etc..would be dealing with issues your city doesnt. There is not a one size fit all solution imo.

Our local school district is well funded. All of us pay additional taxes for our kids willingly. We have a food bank and churches that help, too. Theres a clothing bank at school and counselors connect the kids in need with the help they need. In big cities, I’m sure its more challenging, but here we do take care of our own and as I help bring in more businesses, it gives the school more tax money. Thats how it works.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL “It really makes no sense to burden the taxpayers with the cost of free school lunches for kids who have money for their lunches.”

The taxpayer pays for the food whether it’s eaten by rich kids, poor kids or not eaten at all. The food is paid for, at taxpayer expense, the meals are prepared regardless and any uneaten food is thrown away. The lunch money the kid takes with them to “pay” for their lunch is instead used by most schools as a kind of general slush fund.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@Darth_Algar I need to research how it works more, but one of the reasons they take lunch call with roll call is to estimate how much food to make that day. If I don’t put my name in for a school lunch in the morning I can’t get one.
In other words, they don’t automatically make enough food for every kid in the school.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Our area also has community funded backpack programs, for kids to get food for the weekends, funded primarily by community fundraisers and sponsorships.

Springfield had a man pay off all outstanding balances on lunches, too.

Good people investing in our future generations is key.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_111: my daughter’s school has no such thing as lunch roll call. When they do attendance in the morning, nobody asks or pays attention to whether the kid is getting school lunch or brought lunch.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well every district I’ve taught in does, so they can prepare for lunch. Makes perfect sense to me.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Also, recently they’ve been offering two different lunches. A regular lunch and an alternate lunch. Again they take a poll.to get an idea of how much of each kind to make.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

You wouldn’t want to make 300 pizzas if only 20 kids wanted pizza.

jca2's avatar

I get that @Dutch, I don’t know how they do it. I guess they probably have a set number of servings of each thing and if something runs out, then it’s out. I just know that nobody asks who’s buying lunch today.

Darth_Algar's avatar

They never took lunch call at my school district either, but then I haven’t been in school in well over 20 years.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL

Yeah, we get it. Your community is wonderful. That’s great, really. But what the folks in your community may do doesn’t really address the larger issue here.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@jca2 if they just “run out” then a kid doesn’t eat and the shit hits the fan.
On the other hand they don’t want to be throwing out hundreds of dollars of food after every meal, either. Especially when they offer 2 full lunch options. There has to be SOME way to estimate from day to day. Did you ask your daughter if they take lunch count, or are you assuming they don’t?

I tried pulling up a school menu for your area but had no luck. Does her school offer an ala cart station where they can choose fresh fruits and veggies?

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_lll: Yes, they have a salad bar and stuff like that, in addition to the regular hot meal. In her seven years of school, she has never mentioned being asked if they are eating lunch, I’ve never heard other parents discuss it. I will ask her. I also am friends on FB with someone who was in food service in one of the high schools and I will find out how they figured out how much to cook.

When I said if they run out of something, they’re out, I meant if they run out of one item. So if they run out of pizza, the kid may still be able to choose a sandwich or a salad, but there will be no pizza.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

What reason would she even have for telling you?
I’d be really interested in what your food service friend says. I’ve been thinking of becoming a lunch lady instead of teaching.

jca2's avatar

She would discuss it with me the way she discusses everything else.

jca2's avatar

I pm’d the lunch person, not sure how often he looks at FB – it could be an hour or five. I am going out in a bit so won’t post response for a few hours anyway.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

But there is nothing to discuss! It’s not the least bit interesting or the least bit note worthy. It’s a minor part of the day. Just the brief morning routine.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “Our area also has community funded backpack programs, for kids to get food for the weekends, funded primarily by community fundraisers and sponsorships.”

That’s fantastic – and depressing. We shouldn’t be celebrating the failures of an economic system that relies on private charities. We’re talking about food. In this case, we’re talking about children having access to food.

If we didn’t guarantee public education, not many people would celebrate how the poor kids get to have some second-tier education thanks to the generosity of private donations. It would be an indictment on the entire economic system and the society that allowed it to happen. But because we don’t currently guarantee food for children, you see this as something “extra”. This is precisely what I was talking about above re: universal programs vs means-testing. You take K-12 education, fire services, police services, roads, etc for granted. But feeding children is over the top for some reason.

@KNOWITALL: “Springfield had a man pay off all outstanding balances on lunches, too.”

This is not the heartwarming story of generosity that you feel it is. Corporate media loves to sell poignant stories of someone paying for a stranger’s needed surgery or helping a homeless person or providing food for the homeless during a holiday.

The failure of the the US and capitalism should be the headline here – not the generosity story. We have more than enough money to pay for everyone’s surgeries and healthcare, to provide housing and food. These “inspirational” stories should spark unrest and demands of economic justice – not lull us to sleep.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Finally found example lunch menus!.

Looks like having a choice between 2 or even 3 different full lunches is pretty standard.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca2 you ever hear back?

jca2's avatar

He responded yesterday and said he’s asking someone he knows who is a chef now at the school. The person I asked used to be in food service at the school, now is a school bus driver. I’ll pm him again.

jca2's avatar

Just found in the magazine The Atlantic: article about what it means to be a bad mom and get your kids taken away. It goes way beyond lunch money.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/07/sharon-lambs-not-good-enough-mother/594502/

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar @hmmmmmm Boy you two are such Debbie downers. I was just saying how OUR community solved the issue internally without relying on the govt to feed our hungry locals. Any community can make changes by paying attention and getting involved.

You guys go ahead and wait for the govt to solve all your issues. I call that lazy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca2 thank you very very much for the article. Here are some of my thoughts on it: They didn’t say how old the child was or whether she could swim. So without that information Mom running into the water without the child is neutral,although not something I probably would have done without trying to talk them into going with me. But they don’t mention whether or not she tried to do that.

Also, if it were me, packing food to the beach, or not packing food, would not factor in at all.

…child protective services is the final net that catches them. Exactly. Not providing school lunch is just a flag, nothing more.

“Mothers who don’t protect are always worse than fathers who abuse,” she writes.”…at least, that’s how the system seems to view it. How odd.

“It’s interesting to think about who has a right to be verbally abusive to their child, and it seems like with money, you do have that right,” she says.”

Ultimately, family courts have to determine whether parents will provide adequate care for their children.

…those parents could themselves be “parented in a foster home while their kid was being parented in a foster home,” she says. It might be the only way to help these traumatized and struggling parents get to “good enough”—and beyond. A mother who messed up, used drugs, failed to come to appointments, or kiss the hurt finger, Lamb says, “needs that kind of love.”

Sharing. Thanks again! And I’m going to get the book.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “Boy you two are such Debbie downers. I was just saying how OUR community solved the issue internally without relying on the govt to feed our hungry locals. Any community can make changes by paying attention and getting involved.”

If someone is a victim of an economic system that needs people to suffer like this, taking away something heartwarming about a single individual getting a little assistance instead of being outraged at the injustice is bizarre. The term is called “perseverance porn”, and its a feature of corporate media. Here’s a recent article on it.

@KNOWITALL: “You guys go ahead and wait for the govt to solve all your issues. I call that lazy.”

That is a nonsensical statement.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@hmmmmmm Gandhi said it best, be the change you want to see in the world.

If you really don’t get that, it’s very sad.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@KNOWITALL

Are you seriously this clueless?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Darth_Algar If you’re sitting on your ass pontificating about what the govt should do while children are hungry in your area, I have zero respect for that stance.

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Dutchess_lll's avatar

It depends on the situation. In this case it seems like the parents aren’t doing everyrhing they can to take responsibility. Stop racking up charges for $3 lunches you can’t afford, and send a sandwich for a few cents with the kids. You can bet the parents are eating just fine.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_lll We have so many crackheads, others have to step up or the kids just suffer in silence. One kid told the teacher that he loved lunch, she started asking questions, it was the only food the child had for days at a time. Parents just got high and forgot I guess. You wouldn’t believe the stories from a friend at DFS.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

And those households need to be investigated. If the kid isn’t eating for days at a time they need to live some place else.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Back to the Q….not paying the bill is a flag that will go unnoticed if someone pays it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s true. But the truth is that there are people who have no business being parents, and there can also be dozens of reasons (other than neglect) that the bill isn’t paid, including the fact that if your existence is so close to the wire, you might stiff the state if you can be reasonably assured that the school will feed your kid anyway, particularly if the money due the school might be required to feed the kid dinner. The gruesome fact is that foster care or state maintenance of kids is invariably a dismal solution for a kid. Few kids would volunteer to accept such a solution to their plight, regardless of circumstances. Meantime, the kids must be fed

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Again, people that close to the edge qualify for foodstamps and free lunches. Starving to death is the least of their worries. Not being able to brush their teeth or stay clean is much harder.

@jca2 can you post the.pic of the Federal income guidelines I shared with you on FB?. I’m on my phone :(

jca2's avatar

Link for all the info: (you know I go right to the source)

https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/fr-050818

Dutchess_lll's avatar

The thing about those federal guidelines is they apply across the board, whether your state’s minimum wage is $15 an hour or, like in Kansas, $7.25 an hour.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll “Again, people that close to the edge qualify for foodstamps and free lunches.”

Not necessarily. Plenty of people make more than the government feels they should make to qualify, yet they still struggle with barely a spare penny left at the end of the day. I think many people, even those who claim to have been poor at some point in the past, fail to understand just how fine an edge many American families today must try to balance on.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Then the kids can skip lunch and wait for dinner! Don’t rack up a bill you can’t pay.

Darth_Algar's avatar

No. My tax dollars are paying to educate the kid. I want that kid to be able to focus on his work while he is at school. A hungry kid cannot focus. Also, punishing the child over what the parent has or has not done is nothing short of malice.

Stache's avatar

Damn, that’s harsh Dutchess. I’m surprised you would suggest punishing a child for a parents hardship.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well I don’t consider missing lunch to be a punishment.
Until your tax dollars pay for lunch automatically we will continue to have a problem that the parents are responsible for.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll “Until your tax dollars pay for lunch automatically…”

Uh, yeah, that’s kinda what I’ve been arguing for.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Dutchess_lll: “Well I don’t consider missing lunch to be a punishment.”

What would you prefer to call it? A crime? Class war? Child abuse perpetrated by the government?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I agree with that sentiment Darth. But until it happens there isva problem.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I call it missing lunch. It won’t kill them.

Stache's avatar

It won’t kill them but the child will feel shamed and be hungry. Hungry children can’t concentrate on schoolwork. Not feeding them at school is punishing them for a parents hardship.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And we’re not generally talking about a single meal.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

If they’re missing more than one meal or not eating outside of school it’s time for DCF to get involved to help the kids.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll “I agree with that sentiment Darth. But until it happens there isva problem.”

No shit?

wiscoblond's avatar

Hi @Dutchess_III. There were a few weeks a few years ago when my husband and I had a hard time because he missed work due to illness. We couldn’t pay for our son’s school lunch. He was fed at home. You know me personally. At least from here and on Facebook for the past ten years. You know my husband and I aren’t bad parents. We had a hard time due to medical issues. We owed the school for our son’s lunch for 3 weeks. (we never did pay them) Should we have been visited by DCFS? Should our son have been denied school lunch and shamed because we were burdened by medical bills and lack of income due to illness?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@wiscoblond if they had visited you they would have quickly determined there was no need for any further action. Temporary hard times is not what we’re talking about. Chronic neglect is a whole other thing.

jca2's avatar

@Dutchess_lll: Once they visit, it opens up a whole can of worms. Believe me, a whole can of worms. How is the kid doing in school? How is the kid’s attendance? What about the parents? Are they drinking? Are they doing drugs? How much do they drink? Do they have problems with their housing? Is there food in the refrigerator? Why or why not? Who watches the kid when the parents go out? Do those people have their own child welfare issues? If so, they can no longer watch the kid. How is the house? Is it clean? Is it safe? How is the child disciplined?

Let’s look in the refrigerator. Let’s look at the whole house. Every family member has to be interviewed (more than once). Let’s send the parents for an evaluation (mental and/or chemical dependency). Parents sign releases so the worker can talk to the school and the doctor(s). Let’s look at the kid’s medical record, school attendance, report cards. The household is visited more than once (at least in the county I work in, that’s the way it is, even with there being no problem they worker will come a second time). Let’s talk to whoever it is that watches the kid when the parents go out or if the kid is pre-school age and has a babysitter during the work day.

It’s not like a knock on the door and then they leave. Having done it for over ten years, it’s a can of worms, and all that (resources plus aggravation) because of a lunch bill?

Plus like @wiscoblond said, the kid is shamed over it?

Plus the kid is denied lunch? “Not a big deal?” Kid is hungry. Kid isn’t concentrating. Kid is embarrassed because “why aren’t you eating?”

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll ”@wiscoblond if they had visited you they would have quickly determined there was no need for any further action. Temporary hard times is not what we’re talking about. Chronic neglect is a whole other thing.”

But the kid can skip lunch, right? Afterall, he/she shouldn’t rack up a bill he/she can’t pay.

hmmmmmm's avatar

@Dutchess_lll – I’m not sure if you’re being serious.

Keeping this thread on topic and only school lunch related (rather than food insecurity overall), are you saying that condition A is preferred over condition B?...

A) Some children (many children) come from families that do not have enough money to provide regular lunches to their kids. The state of low food security has many negative effects on children and their ability to learn.

B) All children have access to plenty of food and snacks at public school, regardless of income. This is funded by making federal income taxes more progressive. In other words, the “burden” of feeding children is the very rich.

Again, I ask you if A is preferable to B.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s what’s troubling. The districts confronting problems like this aren’t in the Hamptons or Beverly Hills. It’s just what we should expect as rural and rust belt America becomes ever more defined as hardscrabble country. Here’s an idea. Folks living in these places have yet to recognize that the fallout from economic decline mirrors more or less accurately the pathology attributed to inner city living for better than 60 years now. Regions laid low by economic blight just happen to be bubbling hubs of the opioid & meth epidemics—crack for white folks, and this along with all the other lessons from inner city deprivation should be taken to heart. Rather than attempt to sort the parents who are broke because they’re jobless from those who are broke for whatever other reason, we must accept that the situation is a reflection of hard times. If the people are broke, the states are deprived of revenue, so who is left to feed the kids?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I had DCF called on me once. Dude came to my house and proceeded to make a pass at me. So I had him by the shorthairs! Nothing came of either incident.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_lll

And I’m sure everyone else has just that experience with them.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I wasn’t referring to anyone else. I’m sure it can get ugly. But they are trying to help the children.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Ah yes, “just trying to help”. The road to Hell is paved with “just trying to help”.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

There are kids who desperately need help, Darth. Should we ignore them?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Not what I was saying. But I do not believe that “just trying to help” is sufficient justification for, well, anything. Too many people are too concerned with trying to help that they never stop to consider whether or not they actually are helping or just making things worse. With DCFS/CPS it is quite often the latter.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I understand what you mean. But it’s all we have.

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