13 responses to “What I Would Have Added on Fox News This Morning”

  1. Gwen

    I’m one of those lazy, imperfect parents. A couple of times, we forgot to re-up our daughter’s meal card. You know what happened? Nothing. They gave her food and sent a note home. My husband and I smacked our heads and refilled the card. We went on auto-pay after the second or third time. No harm. No foul. (Meagan, I don’t even know what I would do if someone threw my child’s food away in front of her while she was hungry. That’s sadistic, wasteful and wrong in every way.)

    But not all parents have a credit card that can link to an account to feed their children. If a hungry child is standing in front of you and every fiber of your being isn’t screaming to give that child food no matter what the cost, there’s something wrong with you. “A little shame” heaped on a hungry child? Anyone who thinks that’s okay should be ashamed. And one might argue that being denied food and sent to a school cafeteria empty-handed is more than “a little shame.”

    Nancy L. thank you for weighing in. And thank you for providing for those kids.

    In other news, Boston just made all of its school lunches free to students. Not saying that’s the answer. But at least they got one thing right: No one is going hungry in school because they can’t afford a school lunch.

    In this nation of such food abundance, it is so hard to believe this is even an issue.

  2. Jennifer L.W. Fink (@jlwf)

    The world is bigger than just my family. Yes, I have a responsibility to care for my kids, but if for some reason I can’t, I sure hope someone else will help them. Beyond that, what happens to our kids — to the kids in our schools, our community, our country and our world — affects all of us. Kids need food, love, safety and education, and it up to ALL OF US to make sure that kids have what they need to grow up to become healthy, contributing members of society. If kids don’t get what they need, we all pay the price eventually.

    Re the shaming. Robin wrote, “If we never make anyone uncomfortable than there is never any reason to change our behavior, is there?” In this particular instance, the one you’d be making uncomfortable is a child, a child who has done nothing wrong. It’s not even the child’s behavior you’re trying to change. It might take longer to contact a family to try to determine why the lunch money isn’t there, but ultimately, that’s an action will address the root problem.

    Kids should never be put in the middle of adult conflicts.

  3. Nancy L

    As a former elementary school aide, I can vouch for the fact that many school employees pay for student lunches and bring in extra snacks for those who may have forgotten, or whose parents are unable to provide.

    I’d be more than willing to pay higher school taxes if it meant every child would have the option to eat (and for the record, I no longer have any children in public school, they are all in college.)

  4. Heather

    It’s a tough problem, and I sure don’t know what the answer is, but it certainly is not the child’s fault if their parents don’t pay the bill. That comment about “a shaming moment” — why does the child deserve to be shamed? Ridiculous.

  5. Robin H

    Really? Do you think they make an announcement to the whole school? Maybe put the kids up on the stage so all the other kids can get a better look at them? Do you really think they can’t do this in a respectful way? And the reality is, there will probably be an administrator or teacher that gives them the money. And you know what? A little shame never hurt anyone in the long term. It is a powerful tool. If we never make anyone uncomfortable than there is never any reason to change our behavior, is there?

    1. jen singer

      They take their lunch trays and dump the food in the garbage. Then they send the kids to the lunch tables empty-handed. If that happened to adults in the work cafeteria, there would be outrage.

      “A little shame” is why girls develop eating disorders and alcoholics don’t seek help. Misplacing that shame on the offspring of the people who deserve it surely would cause damage because children have little control over their parents actions.

      Finally, if we are going to expect teachers and lunch aides to pay for children’s lunches, we should pay them a lot more money.

  6. Robin H

    If parents are too dumb, stupid, fearful, whatever, to make sure their kids are being fed, I’m sorry, but that’s not every one elses responsibility. If my kids go into a McDonald’s and don’t have money they’re not going to leave with any food. Why do we expect schools (taxpayers) to foot everyones bills? Many districts use outside companies to provide the food service. Our district uses Chartwells and they do a very good job of providing fairly good food at reasonable prices. If they continue to loose money on the kids that don’t pay, well guess what? The prices will have to go up for all of us, which leads us to a worse place. And here’s where the kids can learn compassion. How about offering the kid that didn’t get lunch part of yours? Oh wait! Many of the schools have banned sharing due to the fear of food allergies.

    1. jen singer

      So then you support shaming children for their parents’ shortcomings?

    2. Lily

      Isn’t the food already paid for by the school? Meaning the food is there and paid for (the child pays for it indirectly), and then a mean lunch lady chucks it into the garbage? Isn’t the system the issue? Or a mean lunch lady who lacks morals the problem?

      There is probably a lot of food thrown away at the end of the day. Just give the kid his lunch. Be a little bit of a sympathetic person, Robin. It will take you far and earn you more karma.

  7. Melanie Davis

    Excellent points, Jen. For too many kids, breakfast either doesn’t happen or is insufficient to keep kids awake and alert ’til lunch. That lunch in the trash could be a child’s only meal of the day.

  8. jen singer
  9. Meagan Francis

    YES to the shaming thing.

    As I shared, I was horrified last year to find out that my son’s lunch lady had been throwing away his lunches in front of him. It happened several times.

    Now, here’s the part where I admit it was my fault, at least partly. We have an online payment system that is tied to an email account I rarely check. By the time I figured out what was going on, he was over $20 in the hole. I generally paid for his lunch at the beginning of the month, but for whatever reason had forgotten that month. So a confluence of circumstances – him not communicating what was happening right away, me being disorganized – led to this happening to him several times in a single week.

    so, yeah, my fault.

    However. What on earth good did it do to THROW HIS FOOD AWAY?

    It didn’t save the school money.

    It didn’t teach my son any “lessons”.

    I would have paid the bill anyway, when I found out about it one way or another. As, I’m assuming, most parents who actually HAVE THE MONEY would.

    On the other hand, as you point out, sometimes parents who don’t even qualify for free or reduced lunch can find themselves in a financial jam. What about those kids?

    If anything, if you’re going to deny some kids food (which I still think is heinous) why not come up with some system that keeps them from having it thrown away in front of them?

    The whole thing is so ridiculous and gross. Good for you for addressing it.

  10. Jennifer L.W. Fink (@jlwf)

    Agree with all of the above (and love that you have and are using your own forum to elaborate your thoughts!)

    I’m glad you brought up the shaming issue. School is tough enough. There is absolutely no good reason to publicly shame a child. Besides, aren’t we all in agreement that we want to teach our kids to be good, decent humans? Teaching them to respond compassionately (and discretely!) to others would further that goal. Dumping their lunches will not.

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