LETTERS

Send lunch debtors home

Posted

To the Editor:
As a subscriber to the Beacon, I had to write about the article entitled “School lunch debt skyrockets after donations” and make a few comments.
First comment is that the continuation of the article said page 4, but ended up on page 8.
My second comment is the quote from School Committee Chairwoman Karen Bachus. The quote is I am very disappointed that after people found out the people were donating funds, some folks went out and spent up money expecting to have the bill paid if they didn’t need it.
I can’t believe that the School Committee has a chairwoman who cant create a coherent sentence. The run-on sentence is bad enough, but the term spent up money is atrocious. This tells us a lot about who’s running the store.
Last, but not least, is the way this school lunch debt has been handled, or should I say mishandled. A first remedy would have been to serve a sunbutter and jelly sandwich to students who had outstanding debt. The consensus was that this would have stigmatized students and shamed them. Are you kidding me? Non-payment by some of the parents must have consequences, and if those consequences are that your child doesn’t get the usual lunch, then so be it. Others said that the students deserve a hot lunch. What nonsense! I and many of my co-workers have a cold sandwich for lunch and we are able to function for the day.
Either way, I believe serving a sunbutter and jelly sandwich is not a remedy anyway because those items still cost money and students would be getting lunches that are still not being paid for.
My suggestion is that if a student who has lunch debt of a certain amount (scaled for reduced-price lunches), the student gets sent home. This will be an inconvenience to the parent and will prod them to pay their debt.
Did anyone really think that having the debt paid by outsiders was going to help? Of course this makes matters worse. Parents will now think that they don’t have to pay for their child’s lunch anymore because it will be taken care of by others.

Jerry Ferreira
Warwick

Comments

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Get Real

Jerry

Anyone who has seen Bachus in action over the years knows how unqualified she is.

Tuesday, July 9
VoWarwick2017

Sending them home will only be an impact the parents if they care whether or not their children are in school in the first place.

Back in the day (20 years ago) if you owed the school money (usually over-due library books) they would prevent progression to next grade, hold transcripts and/or report cards -- again something like this would only impact parents that cared about the education of their children.

If the school is expecting money from parents for lunches (i.e. the families can afford to pay or are part of a program where they have agreed to pay at least a portion of the expense) then the schools should have the ability to fast track the bill through collection (phone, email notification, good faith efforts to collect before holds on benefits are put in place).

Personally, I never had a problem with the Sun Butter solution, the shame argument is over blown. The kids know which families are poor or struggling and which ones are not, and if there is going to be bullying as a result it will happen regardless of the type of lunch a kid gets.

Friday, July 12
Jerry

VoWarwick2017,

Great suggestions! I agree that those options would work.

Friday, July 12