Is Hunger "a teaching lesson?"

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427
Is Hunger "a teaching lesson?"

Fox News guest: ‘That’s a teaching moment’ when hungry students don’t get school lunches | The Raw Story

A Fox News guest on Thursday argued that hungry students would have a ?teaching moment? if they were refused access in the cafeteria line to school lunches because their parents hadn?t properly filled out the right paperwork.

During a segment on Fox & Friends, therapist and school counselor Thomas Kersting told host Gretchen Carlson that he approved of a New Jersey school district?s plan to reportedly ?throw the meal away? if kids didn?t have enough money to pay for lunch.

?I agree with the superintendent,? he said. ?I think it?s a little harsh. You know, I don?t think they?re going to throw the food out right in front of the kid and embarrass the kid.?

Kersting explained that some parents had allegedly told their children to accept the lunches before the paperwork had been completed and filed, and so the Willingboro School District had decided not to feed students unless their parents had signed the proper forms and been enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch program.
Carlson asked Kersting if he ?had a problem with the fact that the kids ultimately end up being punished in this situation when it really is the parents? fault.?

?Again, I think it is misleading that the kids are going to be punished,? Kersting replied. ?We have more food than any other nation. You know, no kid is going to starve. You know, if one day a kid doesn?t have lunch, right, maybe that?s a teaching moment when that kid doesn?t have lunch. That may sound harsh saying that, but we?ve got to get people to start being responsible for themselves.?

?I can tell you from almost 20 years working in a school district, they?re not going to make the kids starve. That?s just kind of like a big warning to the parents,? he added. ?And I have kids come to me, I give kids money all the time. And I?m broke from doing that over the years. No, I?m kidding.?

Do you agree with the school district's decision to throw away the food rather than let the children eat if their parents haven't yet turned in all of the forms? Do you agree with Kersting that this is a "teaching moment?"

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

This is dumb. Let's waste food as a teaching moment? Moron.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

When I went to school if we forgot our lunch money, we were given a PB&J and an apple. I detoured people from not bringing lunch money on purpose or spending it on something else, but did not leave kids so hungry they could not pay attention in class or get sick.

I think this could be appropriate if the situation was bad enough (What I posted above, not the PP). I know in some schools DH has worked in the cafeteria charges got into the thousands of dollars because they would still feed a child no matter what.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I dont think children should ever be punished because their parents are not doing what is expected in a situation

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"mom3girls" wrote:

I dont think children should ever be punished because their parents are not doing what is expected in a situation

This is it exactly. I get that the parents aren't doing what they need to be doing, and I get that puts the schools in a potentially bad situation. But, I would guess that in most cases the kids have exactly zero control over that situation, and making a kid go hungry all day to punish their parents is AWFUL.

I would be okay with Bonita's solution - a simple but nutritious lunch so that the school isn't losing a ton of money waiting for the paperwork to come in, but the kids also aren't being starved either. The only caveat is that I would hope that the schools could do it in a way that doesn't shame or stress out the kids, because none of this is their fault.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

We don't have a daily hot lunch program here, maybe once a month special thing) but my concern is " I think it is misleading that the kids are going to be punished,? Kersting replied. ?We have more food than any other nation. You know, no kid is going to starve. You know, if one day a kid doesn?t have lunch, right, maybe that?s a teaching moment when that kid doesn?t have lunch. " For some kids this could be their only meal of the day so while North Americans have access to more food then any other nation that does not mean that all kids are being properly fed.

I have a friend whose 6 year old was told that if his mom didn't pay her lunch bill he would be getting no food. This was done in front of everyone and the amount of the outstanding bill $2!!! For two dollars you are going to humiliate a child???

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

Wow. That is unbelievable.

What exactly are they teaching with this "teachable moment"?

You will be punished for your parents' delay in turning in paperwork? You will be a pawn in an adult issue? You will go hungry for a day to see how fortunate you are to receive free/reduced lunch? We are the lunch naz.is - NO SOUP FOR YOU!? We will waste food right in front of you because we CAN!

Our schools' policy is a $10 balance. Up to a negative balance of $10 students will be given full lunch. After $10, students will only get partial (I think it's milk and a side). Seems reasonable.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

DP

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

I don't use food as discipline in my home, and it shouldn't be used at a school either. Most parents have cell phones and debit cards.. call them and transfer the money..easy peasy. I could see if this was a habit to have a discussion with the parents via a councelor to see if there were other issues going on. The majority of children here are on free lunch.. So those that are not on free lunch should easily be able to afford it.. and a simple phone call to their home or cell at work etc, would clear up the mistake.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

I have never seen a school here with a lunch program, you bring your own or pay for tuckshop. If you have no lunch the school has some basic emergency lunches, a vegemite sandwich and muesli bar, often paid for out of the teachers own money. I don't think the OP is teaching kids anything, especially if the forms are required to be filled out by the parent not the child

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I get his point that this likely isn't going to cause starvation like it does in third world countries, but what a stupid point to make. What good is our abundance if we think its okay to ditch a meal and throw it away and send a kid away without lunch?

Thats not appreciation for what we have....at all!

Ridiculous.

I like Bonita's scenario. It feeds the kid, but may help encourage parents to get the forms signed.

Joined: 05/13/13
Posts: 34

"ange84" wrote:

I have never seen a school here with a lunch program, you bring your own or pay for tuckshop. If you have no lunch the school has some basic emergency lunches, a vegemite sandwich and muesli bar, often paid for out of the teachers own money. I don't think the OP is teaching kids anything, especially if the forms are required to be filled out by the parent not the child

Exactly what you've said in what I bolded. How can the child rectify this situation? Aside from a lesson in embarrassment, I can't imagine anything. As someone else has already pointed out, this *could* be the only meal that child has for the day. The principal has no way of knowing for certain what a child's home life is like. Even if this isn't a 3rd world country, and our country has an abundance of food, it doesn't automatically mean that every family has food in their pantry.