Originally posted by BlackOps719
Link to story
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A cold cheese sandwich, fruit and a milk carton might not seem like much of a meal — but that's what's on the menu for students in New Mexico's largest school district without their lunch money.
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 are supposed to be able to pay for some or all of their regular meals but fail to pick up the 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 children with delinquent lunch accounts.
Critics argue the cold meals are a form of punishment for children whose parents can't afford to pay. Parents who qualify for free meals are not affected.
"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.
Second-grader Danessa Vigil said she will never eat sliced cheese again. She had to eat cheese sandwiches because her mother couldn't afford to give her lunch money while her application for free lunch was being processed.
"Every time I eat it, it makes me feel like I want to throw up," the 7-year-old said.
I do realize that school systems and states in general are suffering from budget shortfalls and in serious need of cost cutting measures. However, in this instance Im not sure this is the right approach to saving a few bucks.
Doesn't it seem wrong to single out and humiliate elementary age school children because of the inability of the parents to pay? Yes I know what many heartless types will say, they are deadbeats and as such deserve no sympathy.
But isn't that the whole point here? Does it not fall on the parent to shoulder the blame for not having the ability to pay? Isnt it a bit cruel and unusual to humiliate young children for the short comings of the parent?
Can you imagine the ridicule that a youngster would face, being singled out and pulled aside in front of an entire cafeteria full of their peers and forced to eat a welfare cheese sandwich in shame.
I can see the point of view of the school officials on one hand because yes, parents should pay their fair share of the cost. But on the other hand I feel bad for thse children and see them as an innocent victim here. No doubt the stigma attached for a young child to be mocked in such a way will carry over to their adult lives.
Couldn't they find a better way to handle the problem than resorting to public humiliation of the children?
[edit on 2/25/09 by BlackOps719]
Originally posted by marg6043
So I don't get it, I guess in NM it seems like something new, but trust me here in Ga they do it all the time.
Originally posted by Trauma
I'd have to say that just the FRUIT is pretty amazing. At my high school all you could get were burgers, fries, hash browns, chocolate milk, soda, and poutine. The closest thing we had to fruit was fuzzy peaches.
Originally posted by marg6043
reply to post by staple
You are right the do serve peanut butter sandwiches also, how can I forget about that one.
I think all schools do that to save money.