A school district in New Jersey is penalizing children that owe $75 worth of lunch debt. At first, officials attempted to solve the issue by banning children from receiving proper lunch. Instead, they would be fed a tuna sandwich. That policy was condemned by many as ”lunch shaming,” which caused the board to change it. Now, children who are suffering from lunch debt can enjoy their lunch meals, but they’re banned from participating in extra-curricular activities, such as prom and field trips.
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If you’re wondering why millionaires or billionaires are not getting involved… they tried. Steve Ravitz, owner of a Cherry Hill supermarket chain actually attempted to settle the debt, but his request was denied by the board. He said he would be glad to solve the issue, but then later reported, “I understand that the board has decided to NOT accept any significant donation to help with the ‘lunch’ issue. Strange.” There are 19 schools in this district and from 11,350 students, only 20% are eligible for cheaper or free meals.
School board president, Eric Goodwin stated, “Simply erasing the debt does not address the many families with financial means who have just chosen not to pay what is owed.” He’s basically claiming that parents are choosing not to pay and that a one-time donation wouldn’t solve the underlying issues. Maybe that one-time donation could nevertheless solve the main issue of lunch debts, and give low-income parents more time to focus on their pressing financial problems. Do you guys think the board’s policy is fair?