Thursday, February 26, 2009

AMERICAblog: Chris in Paris

Chris in Paris asks, "What miserable bastards treat kids like this?"  And, I want to know, too.

When I taught in the public school system most of the schools where I had been assigned had policies enacted that took measures to insure that the kids who needed free or reduced-price lunches were not singled out in any way.  Everyone got in the same lines and received the same meals.  When I was a kid we bought lunch tokens for hot lunches at the office and nobody knew when you went through the lunch line that your token was free, reduced, or fully paid.

Why the hell any school district would single out and punish kids for their parents sudden poverty is beyond me.....

Shame on the Albuquerque Public Schools.

"Faced with mounting unpaid lunch charges in the economic downturn, Albuquerque Public Schools last month instituted a "cheese sandwich policy," serving the alternative meals to children whose parents fail to pick up their lunch tab.

Such policies have become a necessity for schools seeking to keep budgets in the black while ensuring children don't go hungry. School districts including those in Chula Vista, Calif., Hillsborough County, Fla., and Lynnwood, Wash., have also taken to serving cheese sandwiches to lunch debtors.

Critics argue the cold meals are a form of punishment for children whose parents can't afford to pay.

"We've heard stories from moms coming in saying their child was pulled out of the lunch line and given a cheese sandwich," said Nancy Pope, director of the New Mexico Collaborative to End Hunger. "One woman said her daughter never wants to go back to school."

Some Albuquerque parents have tearfully pleaded with school board members to stop singling out their children because they're poor, while others have flooded talk radio shows thanking the district for imposing a policy that commands parental responsibility."

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