City And You Thought the Edmonds School District Policy Was Harsh…
posted by September 12 at 15:13 PMon
Updated at 3:15 on Friday.
As several local papers have reported, the Edmonds School District has rescinded its policy denying hot lunches to kids whose parents owe more than $10 in lunch money to the district. (They received a cold cheese sandwich instead). What outraged parents and readers might not know, however, is that Seattle Public Schools actually has a more onerous policy, at least for kids in grades 6-12: If they can’t pay, they don’t get any lunch at all.
An official school-lunch calendar provided by Seattle Public Schools’ nutrition services division (and, digression: I would not want to be a teenage vegetarian in Seattle schools; Cheese Pizza Munchables, anyone?) states the district’s policy as follows: When an elementary-school student fails to pay for lunch (which costs $2.25) three times, he or she “will receive a substitute meal of a cheese sandwich and milk.” After three cheese sandwiches, “your child will no longer receive a meal.” Moreover, “students in 6th-12th grade without funds [lunch price: $2.50] are not provided substitute meals.”
SPS spokesman David Tucker says the district’s calendar misstates the district’s policy regarding lunches for elementary-school children. “We continue to provide those students with a substitute meal, and that doesn’t end,” Tucker says. “We want to make sure that those children get hteir nutritional needs met.” He adds, “What is in the calendar is not accurate.” The calendar does accurately state the district’s policy for kids in grades 6-12, who Tucker says have generally “been in our system for quite a while; there’s insitsuttional knowledge about how our system works. … We want to focus on the younger students and ensure that they get fed.”
I understand the need to recover losses in tough economic times, but punishing kids—even those who know how the district’s electronic-payment system works—for their parents’ failure to pay by taking away their food seems a little harsh.
(Thanks to Slog tipper Sara for the calendar).