Add “lunch shaming” to the list of all the various “shamings” we’re not supposed to do for fear of permanently damaging people. A school cafeteria worker for the Canon-McMillan School District near Pittsburgh has resigned in protest of a new policy aimed at people who have the ability to pay for their child’s school lunches but refuse to do so.
Stacy Koltiska, who worked for two years at an elementary school in the Canon McMillan School District, told KDKA some students are being denied hot lunches to get parents to pay for overdrawn lunch accounts.
She says the policy, which was passed over the summer for grades K-6, replaces the hot meal with a cheese sandwich if $25 or more is owed; she says older kids get no lunch if the debt is $25.
The policy allows students in kindergarten to sixth grade to run a tab if their lunch fees aren’t paid. If their tab reaches $25 they are given a sandwich, fruit, and milk instead of the usual hot lunch. According to the district’s website a lunch costs approximately $2.50, so reaching the $25 limit means the parents have not paid for their child’s lunches for at least 2 weeks.
Lunchlady Stacy took her cause to Facebook because that is what people do when faced with outrageous things like expecting people to pay for goods and services.
In Rule 808.1 it says that children in K through 6 will be provided a “Sandwich” what You don’t know is that they are being given One Piece of Cheese on Bread. This isn’t even being toasted. Yet they are still being charged the FULL PRICE of a HOT LUNCH that is being DEINIED to them. The first week of school on Friday, I had to take a little first grade boys chicken and give him this “cheese sandwich”. I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears.
The main problem with this policy is that ruining children’s enjoyment of lunch is supposed to be Michelle Obama’s job. Undercutting her authority is racist and churlish. Also, the boy wasn’t crying for chicken. He was crying because he just learned that the lunch lady loves him more than his parents do. Rather than “lunch shaming” I think this would be more accurately called “you-have-bad-parents shaming.” Someone check to see if the deadbeats’ Netflix account is paid up, like that’s even in doubt.
Keep in mind though, children whose parents haven’t paid for two weeks straight are still getting food, just not the best food. When you think about it, they are giving kids the wrong message because not paying for food in real life normally results in not getting food at all.
The school district, no doubt still reeling from Stacy’s resignation, released a statement (also via Facebook naturally).
The purpose of Policy 808.1 is to resolve what has become a statewide issue at our local level. It is to address accountability for deficit lunch accounts accrued by families with the ability to pay for their child’s school meals. There is no impact on students who are eligible for the national school breakfast and lunch programs. If you have any questions about eligibility or need an application please see your building principal or the district business office.
Before policy implementation, the school Board of Directors adopted the policy in compliance with all state requirements. Publicly advertised meetings occurred and were open to public comment. Those meetings occurred on:
May 26, 2016 – Policy Committee Meeting
June 16, 2016 – Board Agenda Meeting
June 23, 2016 – Board Voting Meeting
No public comments were provided in any of the open meetings.
Prior to the start of the 2016-2017 school year, all school district parents received notification about the changes and the policy. All food service personnel received training on August 12, 2016 with an agenda including an overview of the implementation of Policy 808.1.
Am I callous for thinking the do gooders are mad at the wrong people? Parents were notified of the new policy and they’re certainly being notified that they have an outstanding balance due. Yet they’re still playing chicken with their child’s pizza day and daring the school to cut their kids off. This is really a case of government schools reaping what they sow. If you tell people that public schools are responsible for the care and feeding of their children rather than just their children’s education, parents will expect the government to feed the kids whether mom and dad pay for it or not.
That cheese sandwich doesn’t sound too bad, actually.