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Comments about ‘School lunches being thrown away leads to threats, officials say’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 3 2014 6:25 p.m. MST

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bdjedi28
West Jordan, UT

The food is getting tossed because if the workers don't take the lunch the government auditors will take their jobs. It is unfortunately not the lunch workers fault. It is a result of the mandates from the federal government. Reduce the level control the government had on this. The poor lunch workers are doing a job of policing that wouldn't be in their job description if Big Brother didn't demand it. The policy needs to be looked at and changed rather quickly.
With that said I also feel that it isn't all the governments fault. If our kids have a negative balance then we need to do something about that. Blame so often is only thrown out one way. Let's do what we can to help both side improve instead of blaming everything on just one side.

K
Mchenry, IL

Not every parent has email or internet access. I got a warning about a negative balance and I send my kid lunch. It is suggested that every parent out $10 in the account anyway and where there is $5 you get an email. I have no idea how my son could have taken anything out. We don't even have a lunch code set up. Which brings us to basic human error. Obviously I paid for someone's stuff. A number of parents claim they were never notified of a deficit. Mistakes are made. Garbage in garbage out.

Hey It's Me
Salt Lake City, UT

I worked in an elementary school in another state. The kindergarten kids that stayed a whole day, had to take a school lunch. I had to make sure they took the lunch and milk. I don't know why the government says they have to take a pathetic lunch of greasy cold food that's supposed to be hot. guess how many of those went straight into the garbage on the way to their tables. The government can't make them eat it, they can make them take it. Every kid in my class but maybe 5 threw them away. What a waste of money. One mom came in to get her son for an apt. and she said how awful his lunch looked and I told her he never eats it, so she said she would start packing. I bet if the parents saw and tasted and felt how cold the hot lunches are they would all pack their kids lunch.

katy
salt lake city, ut

Seems to me this could have all been avoided if the district hadn't changed the way payment for lunches is done. In the past, kids brought $ to school weekly to pay for their lunches. If families can't afford to pay the $2.00 for lunches there is a free and reduced lunch plan they can sign up for. Schools then don't have to deal with students building up credit deficits because parents don't send money for their kid's lunches.

The bottom line is parents are lax or forgetful in tracking the amount a student has in his lunch fund. Although from my experience, notices are sent/mailed home when the lunch fund no longer has any money in it.

It's not right for elementary students to be embarrassed by having their lunches dumped. It's not their fault their lunches haven't been paid for. Parents should be more responsible.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The action of depriving people of food because they have no money sounds like a mindset created by conservatives.

PhotoSponge
nampa, ID

This is a perfect example of why you don't want the Fed. Government involved. The whole education system needs to be turned back over to the states; including the lunch program. The way it is now, the children don't get enough to eat by what is served them in the cafeteria anyway. And yet they continue to charge them $2 for their inadequate lunch.

Parents, get on the ball and pay for your kid's lunch! Why aren't you doing it? If you are a working parent, I'm sure you're eating lunch somewhere. If you're not a working parent, then get up and make your child's lunch. Be the grown up here....

Eliot
Genola, UT

Yes, GaryO we can see where you are trying to take us with your logical fallacy. Here is an argument for a mandated lunch program. Feed the children so they will have healthy brains and learn to reject such muddled thinking while at the same time rejecting their status as helpless victims of an uncaring system.

Heidi T.
Farmington, UT

The Federal Government has always been involved in the school lunch programs across the nation and, the more the Federal Government regulates and governs our schools on every level, the more rules and regulations we encounter from Washington. Too bad it's too late for our State governments to take back what should be theirs--the education of our kids in neighborhood schools. We should be holding government and parents responsible in this situation...The Federal Government for their control and mindless rules and the parents for keeping track of their children's lunch money while becoming involved in the schools where their children attend.

PookyBear84010
KAYSVILLE, UT

You know, the kids probably would get over this in no time flat is their parents would simply quit inflating it beyond all proportion. The school made a foolish mistake. They are trying to fix it. Everybody stop having a cow. I find it very ironic that a story about how students shouldn't be publicly shamed results in school personnel begin publicly shamed.

JBQ
Saint Louis, MO

The school district made a big mistake. The mistake was not to deny but on how it was handled. It has been documented that no letters of warning were sent out. The school district is a business. However as someone who has worked in many school districts, I sense the problem. Certain groups of children receive free lunch through government assistance. Other groups cannot receive the same aid based on ethnicity. This is causing friction and frustration. Because of this, there are militant groups building up who are based in the Northwest. These groups have legitimate gripes based on governmental policies. However, violence is troubling and threats are a type of violence. Police officers are a visible symbol of government. They are being shot at an alarming rate by elements of the drug culture which now passes through all ethnic realms of society. There are no jobs and men are turning to selling drugs to support wives and families.

dwayne
Provo, UT

FREDISDEAD,

"You don't go to McDonalds and expect to eat without PAYING for it."

The difference is that the school is not a fast food restaurant and her taxes cover much more than the co-pay that is expected and if she could not truly afford to pay for her own child's lunch she would qualify for free lunch for her child. The fact is the school did not inform her there wasn't any money on her child's account ahead of time and not only did they treat her child badly but they misused our tax money by providing food before payment and instead of charging $2.00 to her child's account followed by a notification of a negative balance that would need to be made up threw it away so she doesn't have to pay or her it now and we do.

Second, unlike McDonald's who does not make the food we order before we pay this school district is flushing tax monies down the drain. Third, had he gone to McDonald's with a debit or credit card it is likely that the $2.00 would have been processed as an overdraft.

dwayne
Provo, UT

SlopJ30,

"The dumbest thing about this is that no-one can claim they were taking these lunches as a money-saving measure, since they tossed the food in the trash. If savings wasn't the motivation, the only other way to look at it is that it was punishment. Bad idea."

You are correct. They could have done it differently. They could have:

1) done it like fast food restaurants and take payment before preparing food

2) done it like sit down restaurants and provided food and allowed them to eat before payment

If they are going to have account balances and lunch accounts they could have allowed parents to opt for overdraft protection like banks. They could set up a system that directly charges to the checking or credit cards of parents when there are insufficient funds. Both of these options are available. The technology is widely available.

As for threats. It is wrong to threaten people but I'm not crying over the saps who are getting them. Maybe if they weren't bad people they wouldn't be getting other bad people threatening them.

1covey
Salt Lake City, UT

Firstly, hot lunches: Meals are not cooked at the school, as they were in my day-years and years ago; Meals are "warmed" at the school. Secondly, this problem would go away, if the meal were paid for prior to serving; schools have the information on who is paid up; meals could be paid on daily or whatever basis; but paid prior to service. Reduced meals-fruit and milk are available to those unable to pay. Paying prior to being served used to be the policy. It needs to be re-instituted. Throwing away food! Bad enough when the kids do it. Unfortunately, this seems to be an American tradition. I have seen it too often.

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

Traditionally parents were responsible for their children, that included food at school. You could pack/brown bag or buy the lunch. Yes I realize the "traditional family" is now a minority and a memory but it did work to provide for the children without much interference from the Federal Government.

So what do we do now? Let the Federal Bureaucracy lull us into carnal "security" by providing everything they tell us we need/want? A possible solution would be to not accept the Federal dollars, thereby relinquishing Federal control. Let the district devise their own lunch system and if you don't like it, pack your own. The district could simplify the menu, dump the flash frozen, warmed up high carbohydrate artery clogging fare for sandwiches and fruit and milk/juice. It's a lunch folks.

Tattered and mangled families and their offspring do need help, so do ignorant parents (ignorant meaning uneducated as to their role) but we have a social service system to help them, or at least I am told that is what Social Services are for.

What we see here is the Law of Unintended Consequences in action, "No good deed goes unpunished."

cjb
Bountiful, UT

We provide free education, perhaps its time to consider free lunches so poor parents aren't stressed out and this kind of thing doesn't keep happening.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Re Strider303

If families were all responsible for their own children, there would be no public schools.

LivinLarge
Bountiful, UT

When I was a student we paid for our lunches a week in advance. What is wrong with this concept?

anneray
Kosciusko, Mississippi

To take food from children and throw it away should be a major criime. I am ashamed of those adults(?) who did that. Shame on them. No, I don't live in Utah but I do have, at the present time, 5 greatgrandchldren who do live there. If this happened in MS parents of those children who were embarrassed would be at that school in a heartbeat and woe to those who participated. Milk and fruit is not a meal so children went hungry. Saying 'sorry' is not enough. This frightens me and makes me cry.

nanato12
Spanish Fork, UT

In my day (admittedly a long, long time ago) we didn't have school lunch until we got to junior high. We actually went home for lunch, since our moms were usually home. If on the rare occasion we had to eat lunch at school, we packed a lunch and the teacher had to sit in the classroom where we ate our lunch. Life was so much simpler then. If you don't like the system, pack your kid a lunch. It's not that hard and you will probably have better luck with him eating it.

mp_wood
Candler, NC

Budgets are an issue here, but so are the reasons the balance is not being paid. That's the real story and the solution that needs to be investigated. There are so many reasons that could be happening starting from slack parents to poverty. My question is why school systems aren't referring these students to a counselor when this happens? You wouldn't talk about any other discipline or personal issues in front of their peers - so why is this ok?

You need a trained professional not a lunch lady to handle the wide variety of issues that could be the reason for the delinquency. Parents would step up if they felt like they were going to get in trouble but they aren't with this system - only the kids. And if there's a financial need, parents can be helped to navigate available support systems or agencies.

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