To the Editor:
I am soon to be 66, a bachelor, and never married. But I am also vice president of the town council in Hopkinton, as well as chair of the local town committee of the Republicans.
The school lunch issue payments are not an issue limited to the Warwick school system. The Chariho Regional School District, for the towns of Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton, are dealing with this issue.
The editorial in this paper, of Thursday, May 9, 2019, titled, "Let them eat facts: A cautionary lesson in outrage culture." Underneath the heading it says: "Important context missing in public response to school lunch policy.” Frankly, uninformed people will always exist, and many if not most, are fully informed. We need to, in public discourse, be a fully or reasonably informed on any issue. That currently exists on all levels of government. Then you add the biases and prejudices that go with that. The editorial mentioned Facebook. I do Facebook. It is best to get multiple opinions and information if you can. But never accept an opinion as necessarily correct. Know the source of your information.
The editorial states about small claims court "which is a whole other issue for another day." I believe the small claims court should be considered a serious option, for scofflaws who do not pay their children's lunch debt. This should be a last resort for sure, but if there is an issue with the family the judge can ascertain that. Otherwise, the inconvenience of going to court may make parents and guardians "pay up.”
This is an issue of responsibility, a value that needs to be taught by example. It is commendable people or businesses might want to help out. But that does not solve the problem of parents and guardians who ignore their children’s dietary needs at school.
I do not feel students should be punished in regards to school activities if their meals are not paid for. Let's hold the parents and guardians responsible for the meal cost. If they think their child may be eligible, or school officials do, that should be done preferably before the school year starts. That could always be modified with changes in each family’s situation. In addition, it appears a look at those families just over the threshold of free or reduced lunches should be made.
Scott Bill Hirst