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Legislator calls for employee to be fired for humiliating students

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 6:25 p.m. MST

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Seek to understand
Sandy, UT

We are in such big trouble when everyone, including our media, believes it is the responsibility of the state to feed our children. This is one GIANT step toward the big brother state that leads only to dependence and then oppression.

We must return the responsibility for children back to their parents to feed, clothe and shelter them. Like everything else, if we take away that responsibility it WEAKENS our families.

Are there others who feel this way? I am beginning to panic. It appears everyone believe it is the state's job to feed our children. What is next?

Way of the Warrior
Arlington, WA

It may be wise for the school district to give kids with insufficient funds a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and carton of milk (or some alternative for those with allergies) instead of a regular lunch until their accounts are replenished.

soccer coach
Taylorsville, UT

Seek to understand, I agree with you. Education is taking on the role of parents way too much. I receive weekly emails about my child's account balance and when it is low daily emails. I don't get lunch at work unless I pay for it. Let's take away the parents lunch and give that to their children.

West Bountiful, UT

Why were Salt Lake School District officials doing there in the first place? What jurisdiction do they have?

Provo, UT

If any argument can be made that the State has a responsibility to educate its citizens (especially children), then there is no reason why education should be attempted on an empty stomach. In short, as long as there is public education, there must be funding for feeding students.

Feed these kids!

Salt Lake City, UT

These are liberal educators who think that by denying food to these kids is a in your face for their 1% parents...problem is these parents are Libs too who think that the real 1% ers do not live in Harvard Yale area and hate the 1% too.....these people deserve each other.....

Barb Wire

From what my son tells me, the students are not getting the bang for our buck when it comes to school lunches in Utah. He says they are sometimes undercooked, stale and just disgusting. Many students end up throwing away a lot of their food and wasting their parent's money anyways. Maybe it's time for all students to start brown bagging it and do away with all the problems associated with school served lunches. Let high school students go off campus and get fast food. Problem solved...

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

So the lunch must be balanced before the transaction is finalized unless we decide to throw their lunch away and give them an unbalanced substitute.

In the old days there were lunch tickets in elementary school. You knew if you had a ticket or not before you got the lunch. Now we have computerized systems but it's too hard to use these amazing computer systems to create reminder for the kid to take home the day before that the account is empty?

We have some excellent teachers in our Utah schools but too many administrators have no compassion or common sense.

Potsdam, 00

It does not matter what the legal system will come up with, kids should never be involved in that matter, and given them a sandwhich instead is hurting even more for an unequal treatment.

This is not good, like children suffer under a fight between parents, so they do in School over lunch. And thrown away is like telling them, waste food as adults do?

This cannot be Utah, not for the sake of all those Christians living.

For this kind of bad behavior, they should get lunch free for healing wounds.
And for those Libs/Reps, legal fights ought to be never in school over children learning.
Why this kind of payments anyhow, should have been done way back, not during school periods.

Albuquerque, NM

I don't think anyone can learn if they are hungry or humiliated. Also, who thinks a milk and an orange is going to help that much? Mixing dairy and citrus will lead to an upset stomach for many.

St. George, UT

Not a great PR move, Utah. You just had a rally at the capitol where you claimed that you were opposed to gay marriage because it harms children, even though the research indicating this harm turned out to be bogus. I think the research is pretty clear, on the other hand, about the effects of denying children lunch and throwing food away right in front of hungry children and all their peers in order to shame them for unpaid school lunch balances.

How anyone could defend the actions at Uintah Elementary is beyond me. They talk about hearts waxing cold in the last days...

Stop The Nonsense
El Paso, TX

There are many ways that the government spends money that I disagree with, but providing free or discounted lunch at school to children who would otherwise go hungry is not one of them.

Wasilla, AK

This is ridiculous. Just raise money the traditional way and "diagnose" these kids as having ADHD and the school will get more then enough money from the Feds to pay for the school lunches and an extra administrator for the school district besides.

JoCo Ute
Grants Pass, OR

The self-serving pontificating posts from right-wing zealots and self-proclaimed experts are really no surprise. It's easy to talk about the role of government and that helping hands weaken families when you have a full stomach.

Every single study on educating children notes that hungry kids do not become educated kids and the cycle of poverty is continued. Economics 101 teaches that the small amount of money invested in school lunch programs now pays for itself many times over in future taxes paid by educated citizens.

BTW The Uintah School is in Salt Lake City.

Eagle Mountain, UT

Those situations are hard on the children. I have had students that have only received milk and a cheese sandwich because they owed too much money and I know it was embarrassing for them. I have even given students granola bars from my classroom. However, someone has to pay for the lunches. If they don't qualify for free lunch, parents are responsible to pay for their child's lunch. The school cannot provide free lunch to all of the children whose parents don't pay the bill. The children are given something to eat, just not the full lunch. If the parents truly did not receive notification then that is a problem. It is also unfortunate the students were given lunch and then had it taken away. That probably should have been handled differently. Perhaps they can determine if the child has enough money in the account before they give them the full lunch.
Alternatively, if we want to make sure every child gets a free lunch every day, and parents don't have to worry about feeding their child, then we can always increase taxes. Food isn't free. Someone has to pay for it.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

So a bunch of legislators show up to grandstand and pretend they actually care about our children. Give me a break...

Tucson, AZ

An unfortunate incident, but I think Weiler is off base. People make mistakes. If we were to fire people every time they make a mistake of this magnitude, we wouldn't have a single legislator. Help the person learn from this mistake and then move on. You don't take away someone's livelihood for a just one mistake like this one.

Ontario, OR

I don't know how many of the hard-nosed comments on here are by LDS people, but for those who are: "Are we not all beggars?" Please re-read Mosiah 4. The ugly side of conservatism shows up on a regular basis in the DN. Hurray for these two legislators!

Draper, UT

I worked in the elementary cafeteria many years ago. At first, I was told that my job was to enforce the previous rules. I soon found that many of these rules were ridiculous, and asked to be able to "reform" them. I found that the manager saw her responsibilities only as a job, instead of an opportunity to change the lives and outlook of the children she "managed". The basic rules remained the same, however, I implemented a compassionate and respectful attitude, and the entire lunchroom atmosphere changed! I brought 2 extra tables in where anyone could sit as long as they respected everyone else there. The children were no longer made to "hurry" by being yelled at, and they were able talk and relax as long as they did not impead the other children coming in behind them. After several months of a more relaxed, and enjoyable lunchroom, even the managers attitude changed! She saw the difference of gaining respect by giving respect! It really is very simple! I have yet to enter a Jr. High with this attitude! Is it really any wonder why the children "HATE" school!? RESPECT the people you have been asked to educate educators!!!

Oh My Heck!
Vernal, UT

This should not become a political issue, in my opinion. Obviously, the way this was handled was not appropriate. It is never appropriate to humiliate or embarrass a child in front of his peers, or even in private. It is not the child's fault that the lunch payment was behind. And yes, as Cookie999 stated above, mixing milk and an orange can be pretty upsetting for the stomach. A better choice would be an apple, or a peanut butter sandwich. I have worked at both middle school and elementary school in my town, and sometimes the school lunches are pretty good, sometimes not so good. Too much pre-packaged food and not enough freshly made food. In the school I worked at in Nevada, the school lunches were very good, so I know it is possible. The head cook cared, and that makes a difference.

Sending notices home with children, especially elementary aged, is not a dependable way to notify parents, either. Regardless, I say feed the child, deal with the payment afterwards. Not a good example to just throw it away.

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