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‘That’s Not Right’: Another Child Denied Lunch at School

Some things should just not happen at a public school. Denying a child a meal because his parents have not paid off a lunch balance is one of them, especially when it turns out to be a clerical error.

Yet that is exactly what happened last month at a Washington elementary school.

Xavier is a first-grader at Cascade View Elementary in Snohomish, WA.

“It was a sack lunch. It was in a bag, she was passing it around to everybody.  The lunch lady said, ‘Guess what, you can’t have a lunch.’ She said that.  She said I can’t have a lunch,” the young man told Q13 Fox.

When Xavier got home from school hungry, he told his dad what happened and how he had been denied a meal for his negative balance.

“It made me feel really bad for him.  That’s not right.  That’s like saying, ‘Hey, you don’t have your book bag so you can’t have your education,'” Xavier’s dad Eric said. “You can’t do that.  Feed them.  They need to eat.  They need to concentrate.  They can’t concentrate without eating.  I just don’t want this to happen to any other kid.  It’s hurtful.”

Eric also said he knows exactly how it feels. When he was a kid, he was denied a lunch too and it hurt him a lot.

To make matters worse, Xavier’s family qualifies for free lunch, meaning there was no reason at all he should have been denied a meal. It was all a clerical mistake.

Unfortunately, Xavier’s case is not alone.

Earlier this year, a Texas man paid off the bill of kids with overdue accounts so that they would not be forced to eat a ‘lunch of shame’ or go without a meal altogether. In Utah, parents were outraged when a school  threw away their kids lunch due to overdue bills, leaving their kids go hungry and humiliated.

These stringent policies are the result, in part, to conservative policies that want to reduce entitlement programs, even when they impact children.

At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting, Paul Ryan explained exactly why free lunches should be stopped completely and parents should just be made to provide for their kids on their own or let the kids go without.

Drawing from his childhood (of relative privilege), Ryan said he had a poor friend and that poor friend did not want a free meal at noon.

“He didn’t want a free lunch,” Ryan told the audience. “He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids.”

He then said that when parents provide for their kids, it simply shows they cared.

“He knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him,” Ryan opined, suggesting that parents who aren’t lucky enough to be rich just need to ‘care harder’ to provide for their kids.  “This is what the left does not understand.”

Photo Credit: Screenshot

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.