So, this article from Gawker hit me via Facebook a while ago, a few minutes ago. I don’t really get it. Apparently a school in Utah gave kids their lunches, realized their parents were late on paying their nutrition bills, so took the food and threw it out. First point of fact: Didn’t the parents lay out the initial seed money via taxes, in the first place? I’m willing to bet their taxes have gone up at some point, no? So it’s not like someone hasn’t already paid for all this stuff, at least once or twice through. But, instead of maybe sending a note home with the kids that their parents had better send them in with cash or they won’t eat tomorrow, they just took perfectly good food from the children and threw it out? Thus leaving them less capable of learning, and wasting perfectly good food at the same time?
Was there anything resembling an education, here? I’ve heard people frame this as a lesson in not being dependent on government, or maybe as a lesson on things government shouldn’t be doing? I don’t get it. To the latter, I’d say it’s a very rough lesson; to the former, I’d simply argue that this isn’t teaching independence from government, it’s teaching that people can be mean. It’s bullying.
Wait, it gets dumber. This school took food from some kids, but they couldn’t give it to others (probably due to health laws) so they ditched it, right? Well according to the Salt Lake City Tribune, those whose food was taken were given an apple and a milk. That makes it alright, right? No, but even more than that – these kids wounds up getting more food than they would have gotten in the first place! Hey, this is elementary school! Maybe they were trying to use apples to teach math? I guess that explains their logo!
Seriously, I can’t even come up with a good focus keyword for my SEO optimization program, here, and I’m probably more than a little incoherent. As a professional educator, or an educational professional – whichever – I’m pretty incensed by this. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Jack Kingston (R-Ga) suggesting that poor kids could do extra chores or pay a little extra money for their lunch. Maybe, instead, all kids could have to do some chores – and all kids could have access to a free basic meal. At least that would be fair, and it would certainly teach all kids to respect the institution that is trying to help them. After all, schools take the little ones from their parents’ care for eight-ish hours a day, and that’s certainly a better lesson than, “if mommy doesn’t pay the bills, I’ll blame her while starving you!”