School lunch programs have always been a little disappointing from a culinary standpoint, but for many millions of American children they may be the only nutritious meal they get to eat all day. Unfortunately, political concerns often affect what should be a no brainer, and these programs suffer poor funding, contrary guidelines, and other problems that make it difficult for local schools to provide a much needed program. Well, we just found a story about a father who has drawn a line in the sand as far as his son’s school lunch is concerned.
One father in Alabama recently noticed that his son came home from school one day with an ink stamp on his arm. The stamp read “I need Lunch money,” and had a smiley face as part of the design.
Bivens’ son attends school in Gardendale, Alabama, where the school issues refillable charge cards for their student lunch program. When the card is depleted, parents are expected to refill it so that their children can buy lunch without carrying actual cash.
On the day in question, Bivens’ son had attempted to buy lunch, only to have the transaction declined for lack of funds.
The father, Jon Bivens, was livid. Instead of a nicely typed letter in an envelope, he felt they had branded his third grade son. He felt that is was an attempt at public humiliation on the part of school officials. Bivens began to wonder about the possibility that his son could become the target of bullying and ridicule among his classmates as well as suffering a blow to his self-esteem.
Many people have taken to social media and websites to share their opinions on this incident, saying things like:
“I would have marched down to Walmart first, made my own custom stamp that said: “ELITIST” and proceed to slam it into the principal’s forehead. Repeatedly.”- J.A. Russo
“They put a “scarlet letter” on the kid.”- Doug Jones
“It’ not up to a child so young to remember this it’s the parent’s job. And it is a big deal. A letter text or phone call would have been better than to humiliate this child.”- Loriene Love
“I don’t get what the big deal is? This happened to my kid 3-4 times a year during grade school. I appreciated the reminder. Do you really expect a 2nd grader to remember to give you a note? My family is the standard middle class so there have definitely been those hard times. But come on. There are bigger issues to worry about than this.”- Kristal Lilly Beat
“Your school needs a better system. Here all of our kids get free lunch. All kids should have a meal, even if they can’t afford it. I don’t have to send money or remember to reload a card, my kid gets breakfast and lunch everyday. that’s the way it should be everywhere.”- Crystal Cook
How do you feel about school lunch programs? Are they a vital service that all public schools should offer to ensure that children are healthy enough to learn, or are they a drain on public resources and people should learn to take care of their own children instead of expecting the rest of society to do it for them? Please share your thoughts with us here.