Are Students Entitled to Free Lunches Just Because?

When I was in public school, you had three choices for lunch.  Pay for lunch at the school cafeteria, bring your lunch from home or go hungry.  The school was not responsible for feeding a student who forgets their lunch or didn’t have money to buy one.

It was called ‘responsibility.’  Students and their parents were supposed to be responsible for providing for themselves.  For most of my public school days, I got up early enough to fix my own lunch.  The days I felt lazy and too tired to pack my own lunch, I went hungry.  I was responsible for my lunch, not the school.  Whenever I was given money to buy lunch at the school cafeteria, I thought I was living the good life.

In today’s world of entitlements and liberal sociology, it seems that it’s everyone’s responsibility to provide for a student when they and their parents fail to do so.  Students are no longer being taught responsibility and evidently, neither are their parents.

Case in point is what happened at Coelho Middle School in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  The school covers grades 5 through 8.  On Tuesday, the school denied lunch to as many as 25 students because they could not pay for the meal or their pre-paid lunch cards were out of funds.  Some students in the cafeteria line received their food, but when they got to the cash register, they were told that they could not eat it because of lack of funds.  In most cases, the meals were tossed in the garbage, because they had already been served and could not be put back according to health codes.

It was reported that some students actually cried when they were denied a free lunch.  One parent reported that her son offered to share his lunch with a girl in line with him who began crying when she was told to dump hers because of lack of funds.  Another parent, John Greaves was incensed that his daughter was told to throw her lunch away because she had no way of paying for it.  He said that people in prison get fed but that his honor student daughter was going hungry.

Whitson’s Culinary Group is the company that runs the school cafeteria.  The local site director for Coelho Middle School was placed on administrative leave because of what happened.  Pia Durkin, school superintendent said that the cafeteria workers failed to follow policy of providing a cheese sandwich and glass of milk to any student that can’t pay for a lunch.  She promised that no student will ever go hungry again.

So what does all this teach the students?  When you can’t pay your own way or not responsible enough to pay, you should expect the system to pay and provide for you.  If John Greaves was so upset because his honor student went hungry, I question to him is why didn’t you provide your honor student with the funds to pay for her lunch like a responsibly parent should?  Where does he get off expecting the school to do be responsible when he’s not?

The school district says that they currently have a deficit of $1,800 for delinquent student accounts.  At a time when so many school districts have to make drastic financial cuts including laying off teachers, every dollar is precious.  I hate to see kids go hungry, but blame the parents and the students, not the school.  If the parents don’t have the money for the cafeteria lunches, then they should see that their kids pack a lunch like millions of us have done for years.