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No lunch for you! Only cheese sandwiches!

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TravelingGal

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I''m posting this in ATW instead of hangout because, well, I have a feeling people are going to have opinions on this one.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29385572/

Parents can''t pay for lunch. So schools give out cheese sandwiches for those that can''t pay. Parents and kids aren''t liking it (the method and the actual sandwich).

I gotta wonder, what are they feeding the kids for dinner. Is it not possible to give pack them a bit of lunch so they don''t have to eat the cheese sandwich?

Is this another case of self entitlement, i.e., my kids deserve better than a cheese sandwich even though I can''t pay for it. Or should we take better care of our poor?
 

steph72276

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They also give them fruit and milk to go along with it, so they are getting some nutrients. I too was wondering what they get fed for dinner too though.
 

Beacon

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They should be grateful for getting anything for free. I wish I got free lunch.

Hey, what was that I learned a long time ago: there is no such thing as a free lunch.

People are remarkably selfish. These same people probably want the government to pay their mortgage for the next five years too. And they probably have a bigger house than I do. Can''t stand this stuff.
 

brooklyngirl

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What jumps out at me about this is that these children are being singled out, and taken out of the lunch line in front of the other children. I think the cheese sandwich is perfectly fine, but the way it''s being done is probably making these children be the object of ridicule, which is never good.
 

Haven

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I don''t understand complaining about a free lunch. If our students don''t have their lunch money, and they don''t qualify for free or reduced lunch, they don''t eat. I bet they would welcome a cheese sandwich, milk, and fruit.

This reminds me of an experience I had in London. A teenage girl came up to me begging for spare change, so I said "A group of us is going to eat in this restaurant over here, want to join us?" She asked me which restaurant, and when I replied she said that she was a vegetarian and they didn''t have anything they liked there.
 

vespergirl

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A cheese sandwich, fruit and milk is a nutritious lunch, and is in fact what I give to my own son many days because he likes it. Beggars can''t be choosers - it''s sad that those children are poor, but they should be grateful that they get anything. The school system''s responsibility is to educate children, not feed them. Feeding children is a parent''s responsibility. I am appalled that these deabeat parents are complaining about the charity they are receiving. Try being ashamed of yourself for having more children than you can feed instead of complaining about the taxpayers'' generosity towards your children.

This is why I think that we really need to eliminate social programs. Maybe people will stop having more children than they can take care of if they realize the taxpayers are not going to be taking care of their responsibilites. Perhaps seeing their children "suffer" through eating a cheese sandwich that they don''t like will motivate some of them to try harder to provide for their own families. As bad as I feel for poor children, the complaining parents in this article disgust me, and are teaching their children to be ungrateful for the charity they are receiving - rearing another generation of the poor with the entitlement mentality.
 

elle_chris

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Like Brooklyngirl, what bothers me the most is that the children are getting singled out. That does nothing for a childs self esteem. As far as the parents, can''t they garnnish their pay? They do it to dead beat dads all the time.

Why not do it to moms too. If the parents aren''t working but are getting some kind of state aid, some of it should be set aside to pay the schools for lunches directly so this won''t ever need to happen.
 

Maria D

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When I read the article this morning and saw the picture of the grade school children that accompanied it, my first thought was that bread, cheese, fruit, and milk were about the ONLY things my daughter ate at that age! She was a very fussy/bland eater.

At the high school I teach at, if you don''t qualify for free/reduced meals and you don''t have money to pay you don''t get lunch. Many more kids qualify for free/reduced meals at my school than actually apply for it. While some may feel stigmatized others don''t want to provide the personal information that the application requires and still others simply don''t like the cafeteria food so they don''t bother applying. This is a problem because schools with a higher percentage of students qualifying for free/reduced meals get higher federal funding. For this reason, we are told to strongly encourage students who qualify to apply even if they wouldn''t use it. Obviously, this is a tricky thing to do without embarrassing the student. The incentive the kids have is it''s the only way to get a free lunch if they need it, but if they''d rather just bring something from home even though they qualify, what can you do?

According to this article, parents were notified last fall of the change in policy. (The change seemed to be that instead of being able to "charge" lunch if you didn''t have money, a student would get an alternate lunch instead.) Now that the change is in effect they''ve collected $50K from parents and identified 2,000 students eligible to receive free/reduced. That''s a huge number of students! It sounds like the school dept accomplished their goal: get the parents who can afford it to pay up and get the parents who balked at applying (for whatever reason) to get that application in. Now they can get federal lunch funds and other federal funding. Good job Albuquerque!
 

NewEnglandLady

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I feel like the school district is going above and beyond to try to create a solution and that should be commended.

I don''t understand why the kids would need to be taken out of the lunch line, that seems uneccessary, and pretty easy for them to fix.

I think there seems to be an obvious solution: if a child wants a free lunch and qualifies for it, then that child is free to get his/her cheese sandwich, fruit and milk. If the child would rather not eat than be seen eating the "poor kid" cheese sandwiches, that''s fine, too.

If I were a parent in this situation--stretching every single dollar that I had--and a service like this was available to me, I can imagine I would feel extraordinarily grateful. And if my 7-year-old came home saying that she didn''t want to go back to school because she was given a cheese sandwich and it was embarrassing it would probably a.) make me feel guilty for not being able to afford a lunch for her that wasn''t embarrassing and b.) make me realize that my child was ungrateful, something I would need to work to improve.
 

JSM

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I just wanted to say that I ate a cheese sandwich, fruit, and milk for lunch every day for about 10 years. It was just what mom sent us to school with - and that was what we ate! But I do like cheese. :)

I agree with those who said that it seems like a good policy, but hate that kids are being singled out. That is the last thing you want as a child, and I''m sure very very embarrassing.
 

brooklyngirl

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Reading some of the posts, it really surprises me that some schools will let kids go without lunch. It seems to me that if a student doesn't qualify for the free lunch program, and at the same tmie can't pay for the lunch, something is wrong with the qualification criteria.

Kids need to have some sort of lunch so that they have enough energy to pay attention in class for the remainder of the school day. It's the reason lunch programs exist in the first place.

I think the district in question did a great job as far as resolving lunch debt, getting FL applications in, and feeding the kids at the same time (although I wish they wouldn't take the kids out of the lunch line -- I don't see the reasoning in that). It sucks that this money has to be spent by the district, but the children are the bigger picture here, it's nice to know that someone cares enough to make sure they're fed, since their $h!t-for-parents obviously don't.

As for applications, wouldn't it be easier to require that every student submit an application for the lunch program? How do the educators on this thread know that more students qualify for the program, even though they haven't submitted the proper application?
 

Maria D

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Date: 2/25/2009 6:02:36 PM
Author: brooklyngirl
Reading some of the posts, it really surprises me that some schools will let kids go without lunch. It seems to me that if a student doesn''t qualify for the free lunch program, and at the same tmie can''t pay for the lunch, something is wrong with the qualification criteria.


Kids need to have some sort of lunch so that they have enough energy to pay attention in class for the remainder of the school day. It''s the reason lunch programs exist in the first place.


I think the district in question did a great job as far as resolving lunch debt, getting FL applications in, and feeding the kids at the same time (although I wish they wouldn''t take the kids out of the lunch line -- I don''t see the reasoning in that). It sucks that this money has to be spent by the district, but the children are the bigger picture here, it''s nice to know that someone cares enough to make sure they''re fed, since their $h!t-for-parents obviously don''t.


As for applications, wouldn''t it be easier to require that every student submit an application for the lunch program? How do the educators on this thread know that more students qualify for the program, even though they haven''t submitted the proper application?
We can''t require every student''s family to submit an application because the application asks for income information. We do send an application home with each student. The district knows that more families qualify for free/reduced lunch than actually apply because they get that information from other social service agencies.

When the forms are sent home at the beginning of each year I tell all my students that the higher our percentage of F/RL students the more federal money we get. I encourage them all to submit an application and point out that the household income that qualifies may be higher than they think. For example, a family of four with monthly income of $3269 qualifies. I tell them that the feds do more than just subsidize lunch, the higher our percentage of students in need the more money we get for things like technology, books, etc. But if a student doesn''t generally eat the school lunch they may balk at filling out a form that asks for income information.

I don''t know, when I think back to my own high school days of mystery meat (they called it "country steak") and wax beans that cheese sandwich sounds pretty good. It is awful to single out a grade schooler though.
 

Haven

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Date: 2/25/2009 4:39:01 PM
Author: vespergirl
A cheese sandwich, fruit and milk is a nutritious lunch, and is in fact what I give to my own son many days because he likes it. Beggars can''t be choosers - it''s sad that those children are poor, but they should be grateful that they get anything. The school system''s responsibility is to educate children, not feed them. Feeding children is a parent''s responsibility. I am appalled that these deabeat parents are complaining about the charity they are receiving. Try being ashamed of yourself for having more children than you can feed instead of complaining about the taxpayers'' generosity towards your children.


This is why I think that we really need to eliminate social programs. Maybe people will stop having more children than they can take care of if they realize the taxpayers are not going to be taking care of their responsibilites. Perhaps seeing their children ''suffer'' through eating a cheese sandwich that they don''t like will motivate some of them to try harder to provide for their own families. As bad as I feel for poor children, the complaining parents in this article disgust me, and are teaching their children to be ungrateful for the charity they are receiving - rearing another generation of the poor with the entitlement mentality.
Ditto vespergirl. I''ve never thought this way before about social programs, but I''m starting to agree.

And FWIW, I ate cheese sandwiches and drank milk for most of my formative years, and I turned out just fine. In fact, I didn''t eat meat, poultry, or fish until I was 19, and as I said, turned out fine.
 

brooklyngirl

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Thanks for explaining, Maria!

ETA: That cheese sandwich does sound good. Man, would I have been happy if my parents allowed me to eat cheese sandwiches as a "substitute" for meals. I want a cheese sandwich now!
 

Haven

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brooklyn--Yes, I agree that if a student doesn''t qualify for the program and his parents still can''t pay for lunch, something must be wrong with the program. OR, the parents spend more than they earn on non-essentials and they assume that someone at school will just take care of their kid. OR, the student pockets his lunch money every day for extra cash on the weekends. I teach high school, and I''ve seen all of the above happen.

As for worrying about the kids being singled out, that''s an easy problem to fix.

It looks like this school has gone above and beyond by offering these cheese sandwiches, and shame on the parents for looking a gift horse in the mouth.
 

brooklyngirl

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Date: 2/25/2009 8:07:26 PM
Author: Haven
brooklyn--Yes, I agree that if a student doesn''t qualify for the program and his parents still can''t pay for lunch, something must be wrong with the program. OR, the parents spend more than they earn on non-essentials and they assume that someone at school will just take care of their kid. OR, the student pockets his lunch money every day for extra cash on the weekends. I teach high school, and I''ve seen all of the above happen.

As for worrying about the kids being singled out, that''s an easy problem to fix.

It looks like this school has gone above and beyond by offering these cheese sandwiches, and shame on the parents for looking a gift horse in the mouth.
The yellow hilighted is just awful, and I have no words


I think when we talk about high school age, things are a bit different. I doubt a teenager will be go hungry to save money for weekends, though. I guess if they''re that age, and decide not to have lunch, they aren''t really hungry, or got a snack from somewhere else. When they''re older, they have more of a choice.

The school has done a good deed, for itself, the children, and the parents, while making sure their young pupils are still fed. I wish more public entities would have enough forsight to solve their financial problems in a way that doesn''t harm those who use said entities.
 

TravelingGal

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Interesting posts all...

I always though that cutting off programs like this to push people to be self reliant was a very republican way of thinking.
I don''t want to see anyone starve, but it should be top priority to feed your own children. I know some people are very poor - wouldn''t they get food stamps? I''m sure if they eliminated this cheese sandwich program, these children would get something else to eat in a hurry. I think most people take advantage of this because it''s there, not because they can''t afford the basics of feeding.

It was the self entitlement in this article which just really disgusted me. I agree that singling out children is not kosher...I remember being embarrassed by things that wouldn''t both adults, but it bothered me. Children do have to be handled with a bit of care.

And all day, go figure, I''ve been craving a cheese sandwich too, lol.
 

TravelingGal

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Oh, and we took part in free lunch briefly when my parents had no work, I think. If I told my mom I didn''t like what they were giving me, she would have yelled at me to be grateful for such a program. She would not go to the school and complain I should be getting something better.
 

vespergirl

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Date: 2/25/2009 8:05:43 PM
Author: brooklyngirl
Thanks for explaining, Maria!

ETA: That cheese sandwich does sound good. Man, would I have been happy if my parents allowed me to eat cheese sandwiches as a ''substitute'' for meals. I want a cheese sandwich now!
That''s good to hear - I thought I was the only one getting hungry reading this post
 

packrat

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Date: 2/25/2009 10:29:49 PM
Author: vespergirl
Date: 2/25/2009 8:05:43 PM

Author: brooklyngirl

Thanks for explaining, Maria!


ETA: That cheese sandwich does sound good. Man, would I have been happy if my parents allowed me to eat cheese sandwiches as a ''substitute'' for meals. I want a cheese sandwich now!
That''s good to hear - I thought I was the only one getting hungry reading this post
No, definitely not the only one..I''ve been sitting here thinking of making some toast with butter and putting a slice of cheese on top..my "I''m so lame I don''t know how to cook" version of a grilled cheese, hahahaha
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 2/25/2009 10:48:28 PM
Author: packrat

Date: 2/25/2009 10:29:49 PM
Author: vespergirl

Date: 2/25/2009 8:05:43 PM

Author: brooklyngirl

Thanks for explaining, Maria!


ETA: That cheese sandwich does sound good. Man, would I have been happy if my parents allowed me to eat cheese sandwiches as a ''substitute'' for meals. I want a cheese sandwich now!
That''s good to hear - I thought I was the only one getting hungry reading this post
No, definitely not the only one..I''ve been sitting here thinking of making some toast with butter and putting a slice of cheese on top..my ''I''m so lame I don''t know how to cook'' version of a grilled cheese, hahahaha
Don''t feel bad...a proper grilled cheese sandwich is an ART.
 

Haven

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Did someone say grilled cheese?

TGal--the sense of entitlement in the article rubbed me the wrong way, too. Since when is it not enough to simply be given a free meal?
 

TravelingGal

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Date: 2/25/2009 10:50:53 PM
Author: Haven
Did someone say grilled cheese?

TGal--the sense of entitlement in the article rubbed me the wrong way, too. Since when is it not enough to simply be given a free meal?
No kidding. This kind of stuff rubs me the wrong way. Makes me think: I want my part of the government pie too!

OK, I''m being a bit silly. I suppose being responsible in life (I''m not just referring to this article) is its own reward.
 

partgypsy

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I think there is some confusion in some of the posts, saying that if a family doesn''t qualify for the program yet they can''t afford lunch there is something wrong there. As Maria D. states:


Many more kids qualify for free/reduced meals at my school than actually apply for it. While some may feel stigmatized others don''t want to provide the personal information that the application requires and still others simply don''t like the cafeteria food so they don''t bother applying."

That is, the families are most probably eligible for the reduced/free lunch, just that the parents are not completing the paperwork for it, due to shame, misunderstanding, or not wanting to give out that kind of information.

It sounds like the cheese lunch program did what it was intended; got those parents to apply for the assistance and resolve this.
 

crown1

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it''s a sad day when the school is faulted for feeding the children sandwiches, fruit and milk because the parents did not pack a lunch or send lunch money with the child. if you can or will not provide for your own children do not complain that what is provided for them for free is not good enough. the children were not given bread and water and made to eat outside. it sounds as if they were simply told since you did not bring lunch money today we will serve you sandwiches if you come with us. i am worried for our country.
 

strmrdr

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This is how it worked here back in the day and likely today:
When you applied for free lunch you got 2 tickets each good for a week for free.
That always was enough to last until the decision came in.

In grade school if you didn''t have money for lunch or a ticket you could use a lunch chit.
Basically they wrote down your name and the parent was called.
The parent was expected but not required to pay this back.
If you used it twice in a row then the parent was required to come to school and meet with a councilor. If it was a money issue the councilor helped with the paperwork to apply for free lunch and the 2 free lunch tickets were given to the parent right then. They were free even if the family didn''t qualify once the paperwork was done.

You were allowed 10 chits a year but I know of no one that was denied lunch.
The lunch room staff made sure everyone had food.

In middle and high school if you didn''t have a ticket or money you by the rules didn''t eat... But there was an informal system like the grade school one in place if a teacher or staff noticed or a student asked.

I would have much preferred a cheese sandwich to the regular lunch on many days in school.
 

KimberlyH

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In the district where I work the students have accounts that work as credit to pay for lunch. They punch a number into a machine and $ is deducted from their account. A few students pay with cash, but most use the prepay system. My guess is their pulling the students from line as they approach the cash register, which is done after selecting lunch, because there are no funds available and the student doesn''t have cash, to give them their cheese sandwiches, fruit, and milk. I highly doubt their reasoning involves shaming the child, it''s simply the only way of providing the child with the appropriate meal, based on ability to pay. At some point in line, before or after they get their food, it has to be known that the child doesn''t have funds to cover the meal. It shouldn''t be up to the lunchroom worker to sneak a child a lunch, and would likely not be possible. And even if there is a better system, other students would still notice the children eating different lunches than were provided in the regular lunch line. There''s really no good way to do what their doing, if the goal is to make sure no one else notices.

I think it''s appropriate to provide these children with the meal discussed but I am so disturbed that so many children need the assistance.
 

Italiahaircolor

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I don''t have an issue with the free lunch option...many kids love cheese sandwichs with fruit for lunch, my neice often has asked me to make that for her (although I tend to grill the cheese).

My issue comes in with the singling out of the "poor" students. I don''t agree with them being pulled out of the lunch line in front of other students, because things like that can stay with children for a lifetime. I think the school system needs to come up with a better, more socially conscious way of feeding the kids that will not identify them or label them. Such as handing them bagged lunches outside of the classroom, which would allow the students to blend in much easier.
 

fieryred33143

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Its simple. You apply for the status of your meal cost (at least in public schools). Based on the family income, that is what determines whether you get free lunch, reduced, or full price. If there was a change in your financial situation, then you re-apply. If not, then you have to either provide your child with the appropriate amount or send them to school with a packed lunch. I agree that singling them out is not right but I think those schools are rare. They don''t put them in another line. They just say do you have the money and if not they give them the pb&j. The cafeteria workers know who are the students that have to pay, who get free lunch, and which children end up being sent to school without money.

Also as a side note based on what Haven mentioned, for high school students yes...they don''t eat. You can''t do that for elementary school students (can you imagine having a 5 year old go an entire day in school with absolutely nothing to eat?).
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Date: 2/25/2009 4:34:34 PM
Author: Haven
I don''t understand complaining about a free lunch. If our students don''t have their lunch money, and they don''t qualify for free or reduced lunch, they don''t eat. I bet they would welcome a cheese sandwich, milk, and fruit.


This reminds me of an experience I had in London. A teenage girl came up to me begging for spare change, so I said ''A group of us is going to eat in this restaurant over here, want to join us?'' She asked me which restaurant, and when I replied she said that she was a vegetarian and they didn''t have anything they liked there.
there''s something wrong with the system here. If parents can''t afford to send their kids to school with lunch or pay their lunch bills, then they need to be able to qualify for assistance. Kids need to eat. It''s a proven fact that kids who do not eat do not do well in school. That being said, there''s nothing wrong with the lunch their being given, cheese sandwich, a drink, and fruit isn''t bad. Being pulled out of line and singled out is not the way to go about it.
 
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