At Barber Middle School in Dickinson, Texas, a child was forced to watch as his breakfast was thrown in the trash, all because his lunch account was 30 cents short. After dumping the food in the bin, the child was told to call his parents if he wanted to eat, and even after his mother told school officials she would come and pay for her son's food, they refused to serve the boy any food until after they had received their 30 cents.
If your like me, you might read this and think "that's awful! But surely this is just an isolated incident, right?"
A school in Massachusetts threw out the lunches of as many as 25 students in one day, because their accounts were short, forcing may of the kids to go hungry for the day.
Willingboro school district in New Jersey stunned parents by sending a letter informing them that they would no longer provide "humanitarian meals" to children whose accounts were in arrears. Their rationale for denying poor kids a meal? To prevent "parents [from] taking advantage of the reduced lunch and taking away dollars for instruction" and "holding parents accountable", according to the Superintendent.
Yup, they want to deny children a meal - for many low-income kids the only proper meal they will eat that day - to save a few bucks and teach parents a lesson.
Unsurprisingly, there is one political party in the US that is on board with this idea, and it isn't the Green Party. Last year, House Republicans proposed legislation that would boot 280,000 children off the free/reduced lunch programs, and just last week the government enacted massive cuts to the SNAP programme, impacting the food security of as many as 45 million Americans.
The reaction to this from Republicans? Unbridled glee. Take, for example, a "school counsellor" named Thomas Kersting, who was a guest on FOX News to discuss schools throwing out kids' food.
"I agree with the superintendent. I think it's a little harsh. You know, I don't think they're going to throw the food out right in front of the kid and embarrass the kid… I think it is misleading that the kids are going to be punished. We have more food than any other nation. You know, no kid is going to starve. You know, if one day a kid doesn't have lunch, right, maybe that's a teaching moment when that kid doesn't have lunch. That may sound harsh saying that, but we've got to get people to start being responsible for themselves. I can tell you from almost 20 years working in a school district, they're not going to make the kids starve. That's just kind of like a big warning to the parents."
If this guy is really a school counsellor, then he should lose his job. How anyone could think that taking food away from a low-income child is a "teaching moment" is beyond me. Not to mention the fact that he's so out of touch that he thinks that there are no starving kids in the US - 15.9 million children live in food insecure households (and that number is rising).
Of course, we can't finish without a quote from our resident-asshole and drug-addict Rush Limbaugh, who stated that feeding poor children instead of letting them go hungry "turns them into wanton waifs and serfs dependent on the state", and followed up with the unassailable logic that "If you feed the children three square meals a day during the school year, how can you expect them to feed themselves in the summer?""
Good job, GOP.