Jump to content

Menu

Utah school throws away lunches


MSNative
 Share

Recommended Posts

My oldest attended ps for high school and gained 20lb every school year. The junk food there is UNREAL. The money made from the junk food did not go back to the lunch program in Oregon, it went back to the school's general fund. I know this for a fact as I had a good friend who was a cafeteria manager. The things she told me would disgust you completely. My oldest has NO way of regulating what she eats. Even now she is 25 and extremely overweight. She eats for comfort and the junk in the schools was too tempting. She cannot turn down food. All her extra money in high school went to buy this junk. We quit paying her allowance, but she got babysitting jobs and her mother gave her money. She spent at least $100 a month on junk at the school. It was a very sad situation. I know it is not the school's fault that she has no self control, but kids are there to learn and it is not moral, IMO, to make money from them in such a way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 106
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

   Cafeteria manager has one thousand things to attend to and the first lunch shift gets there before she can complete the list.  Panic sets in because they've been told to withhold the lunches, and they make a dumb decision.  

 

 

I'm too lazy to double-check, but I'm fairly certain the article implied that it was someone higher up (not from the school) who made the decision ahead of time. In other words, not a last minute decision from a low-ranking employee. 

 

 

 

 

They do a lot of things differently than when I was a kid because they realized those things were stupid. My mom went to school during segregation, doing things differently is a good thing.

 

 

When I was in elementary school in the 1970s, full price lunch students paid cash. Reduced lunch and free lunch were given lunch tickets. Just in case it wasn't noticeable enough in the lunchroom, the tickets were given out in homeroom, in front of the entire class. ((and 'lice checks' were also done in front of the class, with students being immediately sent out of the room, generally in tears, if they saw something)). Yeah, some change is good! 

 

I don't think anyone is disputing that something needs to be done when students run their account red. It's just that I personally think a little bit of brainpower and forethought could have avoided embarrassed students, wasted food, and unwanted media attention. They know who is in the red. If they are willing to take the food and throw it away, they should be willing to call the parents that  morning and say hey, this is what will happen unless you get over here with some money. Extra work? yes, but not any more than dealing with this mess they've made. 

 

Likewise, if your school chooses to offer a la carte stuff like candy bars in order to make money, you have to sit down and figure out a way to do that that makes sense when young children are your customers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 The thing is, if they are really that short of money, they can get lunches for free or at a reduced rate, if they will just take the time to apply. Or, they can send a sack lunch, which is cheaper yet. But many people just hope if they don't pay, they'll get freebies.

 

 

 

I don't think so. Reduced lunch is about forty cents! You're lucky if you can make a sandwich for that, and cornmeal mush doesn't travel well. 

 

Admittedly, my kids are not in school, but I find it hard to believe that vast numbers of people are trying to scam school lunch. An occasional person, sure, but I think those occasional stories get inflated and exaggerated. I might have to ask some of my teacher peeps. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

When I was in elementary school in the 1970s, full price lunch students paid cash. Reduced lunch and free lunch were given lunch tickets. Just in case it wasn't noticeable enough in the lunchroom, the tickets were given out in homeroom, in front of the entire class.

 

We all got lunch tickets when I was in school and paid for them in the school office ahead of time. They kept very little cash on hand, so I don't think anyone paid for a lunch with cash except for the occasional visitor. The teachers kept all the lunch tickets in the lower grades and passed them out before we went to lunch, and I do remember that some of the cards were a different color than the rest. If we ran out of punches or forgot our ticket at home (in the later grades or HS), we just borrowed a punch from another student and paid them back the next day by double-punching our own card to cover their lunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Likewise, if your school chooses to offer a la carte stuff like candy bars in order to make money, you have to sit down and figure out a way to do that that makes sense when young children are your customers. 

I get this but I also see it a bit different. I view it as a parents job to teach the management of the funds. This was my experience growing up, I have no clue how things are done today. When I was in elementary school (k-6) we were given two options for a meal (a third option of fish was given on Friday) and we submitted our selections in the morning at roll call and money was collected then as well. The only exception was a cookie that was picked up and paid for at the register. I do not remember anyone getting a cookie every day. It was a big deal when someone was given money for a cookie and usually that was on a birthday. It was in grades 7-12 that options really opened up and money was put on an account and the student had to keep track of. My parents didn't care, but then I ate only one thing every day, every year, but most of my friends were given enough to cover a main entree meal, milk or juice and one cookie on Friday. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find this questionable. Is there data on this? I don't know any parents like this, not to say there aren't any.....but many? Eh I doubt it.

 

 

 

As for the news story, my objection is taking the food back and throwing it away.  They should have let it go that day, fixed the system, and not made the mistake again. It was unecessary to shame the kids publically like that. Our local public school gives out a sandwich to kids who don't have the necessary funds in their account.  When the boys were still in school there were a lot of notices that never made it to me. Kids just don't always give them to the parents. I was glad when I could check the balance online.

 

My sister is the lunchroom manager at an elementary school in Georgia. She has lots of kids whose parents don't qualify for free lunch but don't fund the account with enough for the student to eat. Their limit is $10 in unpaid lunches before the student isn't allowed to charge any more and is given a pbj or cheese sandwich, an apple, and milk.  Every time a student charges, my sister generates a paper reminder about it and gives it to the student's teacher to send home with the student.  She also emails a reminder if she has a parent email on file.  Every time the student charges.   And yet when the kid reaches the limit, the parents get upset that their kid had to eat a sandwich and apple for lunch. Or a bowl of cereal if it's breakfast when the kid reaches the limit.   Sometimes the families are on reduced lunches so perhaps the parents really didn't have the money.  She makes more than a dozen sandwich lunches every single day. That's how often a kid is over the limit.   

 

I have no idea how the Utah program works or what the details are of the story, but in my sister's school, it takes a good bit of time to generate those notes and fix the sandwich lunches.  She hates those- the kids don't seem to care at all, but since the parents have to pay for that lunch anyway, she'd rather the kids get the regular lunch since it's already fixed.  But this has curbed the late pay parents. Before they did the sandwich and fruit lunch exchange, it was REAAALY hard to get parents to pay up. They would get so far behind and just never catch up. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My sister is the lunchroom manager at an elementary school in Georgia. She has lots of kids whose parents don't qualify for free lunch but don't fund the account with enough for the student to eat. Their limit is $10 in unpaid lunches before the student isn't allowed to charge any more and is given a pbj or cheese sandwich, an apple, and milk.  Every time a student charges, my sister generates a paper reminder about it and gives it to the student's teacher to send home with the student.  She also emails a reminder if she has a parent email on file.  Every time the student charges.   And yet when the kid reaches the limit, the parents get upset that their kid had to eat a sandwich and apple for lunch. Or a bowl of cereal if it's breakfast when the kid reaches the limit.   Sometimes the families are on reduced lunches so perhaps the parents really didn't have the money.  She makes more than a dozen sandwich lunches every single day. That's how often a kid is over the limit.   

 

I have no idea how the Utah program works or what the details are of the story, but in my sister's school, it takes a good bit of time to generate those notes and fix the sandwich lunches.  She hates those- the kids don't seem to care at all, but since the parents have to pay for that lunch anyway, she'd rather the kids get the regular lunch since it's already fixed.  But this has curbed the late pay parents. Before they did the sandwich and fruit lunch exchange, it was REAAALY hard to get parents to pay up. They would get so far behind and just never catch up. 

 

Well when my boys were in school, I almost never got the notes. My boys didn't actually pass them on to me. Now I didn't get mad if they got stuck wtih a sandwich either....but yeah. I was glad when I was able to access the system online to see what they were buying and how much money they had left.

 

Now I'm glad I don't have to mess with it since we home school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get this but I also see it a bit different. I view it as a parents job to teach the management of the funds. This was my experience growing up, I have no clue how things are done today. When I was in elementary school (k-6) we were given two options for a meal (a third option of fish was given on Friday) and we submitted our selections in the morning at roll call and money was collected then as well. The only exception was a cookie that was picked up and paid for at the register. I do not remember anyone getting a cookie every day. It was a big deal when someone was given money for a cookie and usually that was on a birthday. It was in grades 7-12 that options really opened up and money was put on an account and the student had to keep track of. My parents didn't care, but then I ate only one thing every day, every year, but most of my friends were given enough to cover a main entree meal, milk or juice and one cookie on Friday. 

 

True. And this makes sense for middle school and up, or maybe even upper elementary. But when we're talking about 5 year olds, it's a little different.

 

My experience growing up was much like yours: Dad gave us lunch money every morning (as we got older, we got enough cash to cover the week; we were never on an account system). We got enough for a plate lunch. No extras were sold in the cafeteria, but you could get an ice cream in the afternoons for $.35. If we wanted ice cream, we had to ask for ice cream money. Usually the answer was no, but occasionally it was yes. No money, no ice cream.

 

Now, all of these extras are available to kindergarteners, and as far as they are concerned, no money ever changes hands. They type in their magic account number, and they can take whatever they want. The school's not going to stop them; it makes money off the extras. Your parents and mine could control what we were able to buy by the amount of cash they handed us. But as parents, dh and I had no way of limiting what dd bought on any given day. It's hard to teach money management to a 5yo who doesn't ever see any actual money, KWIM?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A sandwich, apple and milk is a pretty good description of a typical lunch for most students around here... 95%+ of parents pack a bagged lunch every day.  Actually,change milk for a bottle of water and you've pretty much described my elementary school lunch experience, maybe a muesli bar for recess, or the really lucky kids got chips.  We all survived.  Cafeteria was available for lunch orders (ordered in the morning with change in a brown paper bag, chicken nuggets were popular) and some healthy extras which you could choose and pay for at point of sale if you were given some spending money.

 

Sorry, I know that's off topic.  I just find this thread mind boggling!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was going to say, as above, that a sandwich with fruit and milk is a great lunch. My kids get something like that (but with 2 fruit and a veggie) daily, and so do my husband and I. I don't know why anyone thinks they "need" hot food at mid day. That sounds like a great way to raise a generation of fast-food consumers for the lunch hour rush, if they are raised to think of a tasty sandwich as punishment and impoverishment.

 

I don't actually think that schools need cafeterias or lunch programs at all. I don't think many first-world countries have such widespread child nutrition programs. In my opinion it sort if encourages parents to de-prioritize meeting the basic needs of their children. I'd rather see the feeding of impoverished families run through somehow getting more groceries into the home (food stamps, welfare, food banks)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was going to say, as above, that a sandwich with fruit and milk is a great lunch. My kids get something like that (but with 2 fruit and a veggie) daily, and so do my husband and I. I don't know why anyone thinks they "need" hot food at mid day. That sounds like a great way to raise a generation of fast-food consumers for the lunch hour rush, if they are raised to think of a tasty sandwich as punishment and impoverishment.

 

I don't actually think that schools need cafeterias or lunch programs at all. I don't think many first-world countries have such widespread child nutrition programs. In my opinion it sort if encourages parents to de-prioritize meeting the basic needs of their children. I'd rather see the feeding of impoverished families run through somehow getting more groceries into the home (food stamps, welfare, food banks)

 

You should read French Kids Eat Everything. The French school have incredible child nutrition programs with many daily veggies, fish at least once a week.  They encourage proper nutrition, table etiquette,  politeness, a healthy palate. ALL kids eat the same meal and they take their time. It is considered an important part of the education program. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get this but I also see it a bit different. I view it as a parents job to teach the management of the funds. This was my experience growing up, I have no clue how things are done today. When I was in elementary school (k-6) we were given two options for a meal (a third option of fish was given on Friday) and we submitted our selections in the morning at roll call and money was collected then as well. The only exception was a cookie that was picked up and paid for at the register. I do not remember anyone getting a cookie every day. It was a big deal when someone was given money for a cookie and usually that was on a birthday. It was in grades 7-12 that options really opened up and money was put on an account and the student had to keep track of. My parents didn't care, but then I ate only one thing every day, every year, but most of my friends were given enough to cover a main entree meal, milk or juice and one cookie on Friday. 

 

If this school did it that way, they would have fewer problems. You say that it's the parent's job to teach management of the funds, but clearly this is easier with very limited options, cash being collected ahead of time, and a teacher to look over choices. I'm pretty sure a teacher would alert the parent if a kid was buying nothing but candy bars and pudding. You go on to say that an account was opened in grade 7 - what you had was a partnership between home and school to gradually give students more responsibility. 

 

 <snip>  She makes more than a dozen sandwich lunches every single day. That's how often a kid is over the limit.  

 

I have no idea how the Utah program works or what the details are of the story, but in my sister's school, it takes a good bit of time to generate those notes and fix the sandwich lunches.  <snip>

 

That's not a lot of kids at all, though, unless it's a tiny school (and if it's a tiny school, just tell them in person or give them a call!). At my local elementary school, that's about 2% of students, which doesn't seem that bad. Yes, it takes time to handle, but that's the reality of logistics when dealing with hundreds of people. 

 

 <snip> 95%+ of parents pack a bagged lunch every day.   <snip> 

 

No way. The cafeteria could not stay open if that was the case. I'd be amazed if any school hit 50%. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

That's not a lot of kids at all, though, unless it's a tiny school (and if it's a tiny school, just tell them in person or give them a call!). At my local elementary school, that's about 2% of students, which doesn't seem that bad. Yes, it takes time to handle, but that's the reality of logistics when dealing with hundreds of people. 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that is a small number of kids. But that's just the amount who have reached the limit of how much they can charge and have to get the special lunch.  More than 50 kids a day charge a lunch, and that's a lot of letters/emails to generate.  It is just a small part of her job, but it's a time consuming part, made necessary by parents who don't fund their kids' accounts.  

 

 The Utah school needs to move their cashier to the door of the cafeteria so the kids pay when they come in. That would avoid having to throw out trays of food.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

95% is about an accurate number for bagged-lunch packers at my children's school too. The other 5% walk home and eat lunch at their houses (probably cold). There is no elementary cafeteria.

 

The Jr similarly has a strong majority of packed lunches, but it does have a lunch counter that sells soups, snacky lunch-type items, chips and treats. It stays open, serving perhaps 15% of the students an actual lunch, and treats/extras to bagged-lunchers. (This isn't usually a group of students who eat daily, it's a variety if students who are indulged from time to time. It takes cash. Parents are not involved, except in so far as parents are usually the source of children's pocket money. A child who ate daily would be considered lucky -- having quite a large allowance compared to their peers.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In regards to junk food in school, I feel there is a lot less today than when I was in school (graduated almost 20 years ago). I remember my high school classes allowed us to eat and drink in most of them and so I often had a Dr. Pepper and a bag of chips from the vending machines (very few of us had weight problems). Our lunch line was mostly pizza, nachos, french fries, and burgers. You could add nacho cheese to anything (I often had fries with cheese). There were also cookies and sweet tea.

 

In dds' school there are no vending machines at all. The cafeteria serves water, juice or milk. There is some junk in the line. They have Papa John's pizza for sale daily and they have Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwiches once a week. In addition to that there is always french fries and nuggets. There is no ice cream, cookies, pop tarts, etc. Oldest is the only one that buys lunch but she treats her lunch as a snack and just gets something small because she is home everyday by 2:15. So, she has a real lunch here. Youngest takes her food. They are all allowed to have water bottles with them throughout the day and drink from them in class - but only water. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should read French Kids Eat Everything. The French school have incredible child nutrition programs with many daily veggies, fish at least once a week. They encourage proper nutrition, table etiquette, politeness, a healthy palate. ALL kids eat the same meal and they take their time. It is considered an important part of the education program.

I did enjoy their lunch policies when I was there as a child. But contrary to popular belief, there are picky eaters in France too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should read French Kids Eat Everything. The French school have incredible child nutrition programs with many daily veggies, fish at least once a week.  They encourage proper nutrition, table etiquette,  politeness, a healthy palate. ALL kids eat the same meal and they take their time. It is considered an important part of the education program. 

If you read the book or Karen's blog, you'll see wide criticism for their system for a few reasons.  First of all, it is not that exceptional in every school.  Mainly the urban centers have better chefs and food.  Secondly, they do not cater to food preferences or allergies without HUGE hoops to jump through for allergies.  And I do have friends IN France.  That book sugar coats the pickiness of French children.  I'm not saying that all of the French schools are doing poorly.  It's an admirable goal, but reality does not match what it looks like on paper. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why not have lunch tickets/accounts for a regular school lunch, then make kids pay cash for any extras? Would that work?

 

I think the charging up to a certain amount, then offering sandwich, fruit came milk is a pretty good solution. I don't agree with throwing the lunches away after the kids had them in hand, that is particularly wasteful. I don't know what kind of software programs the cafeteria has, but surely they could generate a list of kids with empty/overdrawn accounts and pull them out of line ahead of time or something? I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thought on this whole thing is that if we want kids to do well in school, we need to make nutrition a priority.  We shouldn't punish kids by giving them the "crappy lunch" if their parents don't pay.  Ever.  And I'm sorry, but a piece of white bread smeared with some peanut butter (both of which are half sugar), an apple (with another ten grams of natural sugar and not much else) and a little carton of milk is not nutritious.  Most kids who only have that to eat for a six or seven hour span would probably bounce off the walls for an hour and then crash.  I find it appalling that people think it's okay to feed a kid junk to indirectly punish the parents.  Yes, the parents should have taken care of the bill, or sent a bagged lunch, but in what universe is that the kid's fault?  The worst part is that, in all probability, it's the kids with the parents who don't want to pay or can't afford to pay who probably need what little bit of nutrition they get from a regular school lunch the most. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thoughts on this whole thing is that if we want kids to do well in school, we need to make nutrition a priority.  We shouldn't punish kids by giving them the "crappy lunch" if their parents don't pay.  Ever.  And I'm sorry, but a piece of white bread smeared with some peanut butter (both of which are half sugar), an apple (with another ten grams of natural sugar and not much else) and a little carton of milk is not nutritious.  

Neither are most options that are offered to be honest.

 

-I am looking at the elementary options for my local school district. Those options are nothing but crap. The High School, OTOH is wonderful with an open all you can eat salad bar that is provided by local businesses for no cost to the students. Hot meal items are the only ones with cost. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither are most options that are offered to be honest.

 

-I am looking at the elementary options for my local school district. Those options are nothing but crap. The High School, OTOH is wonderful with an open all you can eat salad bar that is provided by local businesses for no cost to the students. Hot meal items are the only ones with cost. 

 

That's why I think think schools need to focus on nutrition.  Thankfully some are trying, but for the country as a whole, there's still a long, long way to go.

 

With the lunches as bad as they are though, to give kids an even WORSE lunch to punish the parents... well, the idea makes me want to punch something.  But after reading through this post, I seem to be in the minority on that. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's why I think think schools need to focus on nutrition. Thankfully some are trying, but for the country as a whole, there's still a long, long way to go.

In what sense?

 

With the lunches as bad as they are though, to give kids an even WORSE lunch to punish the parents...

I see it as providing *something* to kids who would otherwise get nothing.

 

Understand, I don't like the way our school system is structured. Restructuring would allot more money for proper nutrition and proper lunches. As it is? I don't know what you are suggesting schools do. They don't currently have funding to feed all of the kids (or all of the kids whose parents don't send money, for whatever reason and are *not* on free lunch) for free.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In what sense?

 

 

I see it as providing *something* to kids who would otherwise get nothing.

 

Understand, I don't like the way our school system is structured. Restructuring would allot more money for proper nutrition and proper lunches. As it is? I don't know what you are suggesting schools do. They don't currently have funding to feed all of the kids (or all of the kids whose parents don't send money, for whatever reason and are *not* on free lunch) for free.

 

They need to make sure they provide healthy whole foods to every child, regardless of whether the kid can pay for it or not.  I know, that's not a popular opinion. *shrug*  But with all the crap the government funds, I'd be happy to see school nutrition at the top of the list of what my tax dollars pay for.  I'd love to see our taxes go toward every kid in the country having a free, healthy lunch full of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy protein.  If the provided healthy lunch is free, we'd probably see a lot more kids eat it.  Most parents that I know wouldn't pay extra to have their kids eat junk food over a good, healthy meal.

 

No kid should have to worry that they'll get nothing to eat between breakfast and dinner. If we look at the cost per student, I'm guessing there's not a huge difference between the regular lunch and the milk/sandwich/apple combo, and that the switch is merely punitive.  That rubs me the wrong way.  I'd much rather see the school bill the parents after the fact, and send it to collections if the parents won't pay.   

 

ETA: And to me, it's akin to saying, "Little Susie can't pay this fee, or her parents are late on their property taxes, so we'll take away her textbook and give her this crappy one until her parents come up with the cash."  People would be up in arms over that, but with food, it's somehow okay.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So a sandwich, milk, and fruit is "junk" now?

 

It depends entirely on what the sandwich is made of.  White processed bread and peanut butter made mostly of sugar?  Yep, I'd classify that as junk.  And if it's one of those schools that offers all the kids flavored milk, I'd put that in the junk category, too.  An apple isn't junk,  but it's not exactly a nutritional powerhouse either, and it certainly isn't going to keep a kid going all day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They solved that problem here by just giving everyone free lunch. So now everyone gets free lunch.

 

I don't know that "many" want others to feed their kid though. I don't think I'd take them up on it and I'd make my kid's lunches. I wonder if there is actually any time to eat the lunch if everyone is getting a free lunch.

I will really like to see that. No kids should go hungry... In my district, kids can reduced priced lunch (25 cents) or free lunch if they qualify.

HOWEVER, they also said that those parents have outstanding balance and school did try to contact the parents but got no response. I hate to say this, but I feel the parents are as responsible to this situation as school. And sadly, the kids are the victims.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They need to make sure they provide healthy whole foods to every child, regardless of whether the kid can pay for it or not. I know, that's not a popular opinion. *shrug* But with all the crap the government funds, I'd be happy to see school nutrition at the top of the list of what my tax dollars pay for. I'd love to see our taxes go toward every kid in the country having a free, healthy lunch full of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy protein.

I don't disagree with you, but that is not how things are set up *now*, so being mad at schools who give the kids a bag lunch is misplaced anger, IMO.

 

If the provided healthy lunch is free, we'd probably see a lot more kids eat it.

Strongly disagree. Lots and lots of kids are not used to healthy food. I have served in a lot of volunteer positions that involved food at one point or another and you would be *amazed* at the number of *adults* who don't eat vegetables, for example. My mom works in a child nutrition office. The "healthier" the meal is, the more kids will throw away their free lunches without eating them.

 

Now, I don't disagree there are ways to make changes. But, you can't do it by starting with the system we have now. It wouldn't work.

 

Most parents that I know wouldn't pay extra to have their kids eat junk food over a good, healthy meal.

Are you talking about the ice creams and such? Again, disagree. Loads of parents send money for their kids to have treats.

 

No kid should have to worry that they'll get nothing to eat between breakfast and dinner.

But, they *are* feeding the kids, even if you don't approve of the choices.

 

If we look at the cost per student, I'm guessing there's not a huge difference between the regular lunch and the milk/sandwich/apple combo, and that the switch is merely punitive.

Disagree. Things like bread, milk, peanut butter and a basic fruit are often USDA commodities that the local system pays significantly less for versus the ingredients of hot meals.

 

That rubs me the wrong way. I'd much rather see the school bill the parents after the fact, and send it to collections if the parents won't pay.

So, you are saying that these people can't afford to send/pay for a lunch, but we should send a collections agency after them?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I will really like to see that. No kids should go hungry... In my district, kids can reduced priced lunch (25 cents) or free lunch if they qualify.

HOWEVER, they also said that those parents have outstanding balance and school did try to contact the parents but got no response. I hate to say this, but I feel the parents are as responsible to this situation as school. And sadly, the kids are the victims.

 

It depends on how they tried to contact parents. When my oldest first started school, all of those lunch money emails went to spam under a name I didn't recognize. It doesn't have a name or subject that is affiliated with the school, and there were no phone calls, notes sent home, or other correspondence. When my youngest had her food taken from her, I never received anything. I only knew about it because she told me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't disagree with you, but that is not how things are set up *now*, so being mad at schools who give the kids a bag lunch is misplaced anger, IMO.

 

 

Strongly disagree. Lots and lots of kids are not used to healthy food. I have served in a lot of volunteer positions that involved food at one point or another and you would be *amazed* at the number of *adults* who don't eat vegetables, for example. My mom works in a child nutrition office. The "healthier" the meal is, the more kids will throw away their free lunches without eating them.

 

Now, I don't disagree there are ways to make changes. But, you can't do it by starting with the system we have now. It wouldn't work.

 

 

Are you taking about the ice creams and such? Again, disagree. Loads of parents send money for their kids to have treats.

 

 

But, they *are* feeding the kids, even if you don't approve of the choices.

 

 

Disagree. Things like bread, milk, peanut butter and a basic fruit are often USDA commodities that the local system pays significantly less for versus the ingredients of hot meals.

 

 

So, you are saying that these people can't afford to send/pay for a lunch, but we should send a collections agency after them?

 

I should have said that the parents would tell the kids to eat the provided lunch.  Whether or not the kids choose to eat it is up to them. ;)  I think the problem arises when you try to make the change when kids have been eating burgers up until sixth or seventh grade.  If we start with kids in kindergarten, there would probably be a better success rate.  

 

I was referring to where you said that the school could have given them nothing, but gave them the bag lunch.  I really hope there aren't places where a kid actually gets nothing to eat all day.

 

I'm saying that however the school chooses to try to get the money, they should keep it strictly between the district and the parents and leave the kids out of it.  Like I said, I'd like to see lunches free for all the kids, but if the school has to get the money, there are ways that don't involve punishing the kids.  A collection agency is just one example.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is definately about the embarrassment and not about the nutrition. The school meals include french toast sticks with syrup or cocoa puffs for breakfast, highly processed freezer food and chocolate milk for lunch, balanced by two table spoons of canned fruit. I think the pbj, apple, and white milk are actually healthier than that. I ate the steak fingers from school (we go to the summer lunches to socialize and hit the playground afterwards). It's oversalted grossness and it's the school lunch once a week, those pizza squares too. Did I mention chocolate milk twice a day?

They should have let the kids keep the food since it was already on the plate.

I love that idea posted about the french schools using lunch as a teachable moment. I think the arguement I've seen against it is that some kids who aren't used to eating healthy would throw it away and starve, then be harder to deal with in the classroom. I still think it would be the more responsible choice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should have said that the parents would tell the kids to eat the provided lunch. Whether or not the kids choose to eat it is up to them. ;) I think the problem arises when you try to make the change when kids have been eating burgers up until sixth or seventh grade. If we start with kids in kindergarten, there would probably be a better success rate.

I don't know. It really depends upon how one goes about it. For example, recent changes aimed at healthier meals resulted in calorie restrictions. They had to get rid of the open salad bars in a lot of schools because they had no way of tracking caloric intake from them. Big government decisions often make things *worse*, not better.

 

I was referring to where you said that the school could have given them nothing, but gave them the bag lunch. I really hope there aren't places where a kid actually gets nothing to eat all day.

I am sure there are. I think a sandwich, piece of fruit and milk (which I am sure is plain since flavored costs more) is better than nothing and just as healthy as many school lunches. Not all school lunches are created equal, of course, but many of them are sugar/carb fests.

 

I'm saying that however the school chooses to try to get the money, they should keep it strictly between the district and the parents and leave the kids out of it. Like I said, I'd like to see lunches free for all the kids, but if the school has to get the money, there are ways that don't involve punishing the kids. A collection agency is just one example.

But, in the absence of what we would like to see, what are schools supposed to do *now*? I disagree with how this school handled this specific situation. But, I am fine with kids getting a bag lunch for free, if they aren't on free lunch *and* don't have money for lunch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should have said that the parents would tell the kids to eat the provided lunch. Whether or not the kids choose to eat it is up to them. ;) I think the problem arises when you try to make the change when kids have been eating burgers up until sixth or seventh grade. If we start with kids in kindergarten, there would probably be a better success rate.

I wouldn't count on all parents urging their kids to eat healthy lunches. Some parents have actually protested healthful food changes at schools. I've even seen threads on WTM where posters have derided healthy foods at school lunches as big government and bird seed. Kids are learning to like the junk somewhere after all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know. It really depends upon how one goes about it. For example, recent changes aimed at healthier meals resulted in calorie restrictions. They had to get rid of the open salad bars in a lot of schools because they had no way of tracking caloric intake from them. Big government decisions often make things *worse*, not better.

 

 

I am sure there are. I think a sandwich, piece of fruit and milk (which I am sure is plain since flavored costs more) is better than nothing and just as healthy as many school lunches. Not all school lunches are created equal, of course, but many of them are sugar/carb fests.

 

 

But, in the absence of what we would like to see, what are schools supposed to do *now*? I disagree with how this school handled this specific situation. But, I am fine with kids getting a bag lunch for free, if they aren't on free lunch *and* don't have money for lunch.

 

Yeah, it's tricky, no doubt about it.  There has to be a way to get kids healthy meals that they'll actually eat.  Hopefully, someone figures it out soon.  The obesity rates for children are frightening.

 

I don't know.  It's a crappy situation.  But I think there has to be a solution that doesn't involve punishing the kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't count on all parents urging their kids to eat healthy lunches. Some parents have actually protested healthful food changes at schools. I've even seen threads on WTM where posters have derided healthy foods at school lunches as big government and bird seed. Kids are learning to like the junk somewhere after all.

 

Healthy foods are big government now?  :blink:   That's it.  Our species is doomed.  There's no way to save us from that kind of stupidity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't actually think that schools need cafeterias or lunch programs at all. I don't think many first-world countries have such widespread child nutrition programs. In my opinion it sort if encourages parents to de-prioritize meeting the basic needs of their children. I'd rather see the feeding of impoverished families run through somehow getting more groceries into the home (food stamps, welfare, food banks)

Well, I agree, but this requires that citizens to agree that the right to food is a basic human right. Otherwise, you end up with a big rush to dismantle safety nets and people very concerned that someone somewhere is getting something they don't deserve.

 

When it comes to the school lunch program in America, the context is what's important. We're talking 1946, WWII, and a program that was intended to do more than just feed kids, it was also about agricultural subsidies and providing a market for commodities. Then 1966 comes along and it's part of the push to address hunger in the country. Americans tend to be more comfortable historically with providing in kind benefits which is why things like school lunches and WIC happen. Again, because culturally we're not comfortable with someone doing something with their benefits that we might not like and then get something they don't deserve. But really, the late 1960s and on into the 1970s, we made huge strides as a country in addressing hunger - especially as it relates to children. School lunches were a huge part of that.

 

Where I disagree with you is the idea that food banks are really a good way of addressing what is a larger problem now than it was 40 years ago. When you think about the sorts of foods that are donated to food pantries (particularly when high schoolers are involved - I know when I was in high school there was an over abundance of ramen noodles) and the sheer size of the problem, this is really an inefficient system of getting food to those who need it let alone sufficient nutrition. This also doesn't address other poverty related issues like those who lack kitchens and the chronically under-employed.

 

Until American culture gets over their "bootstraps only" mentality and moves to something like the money benefits that other countries employ, for better or for worse, the school lunch program will be here to stay.

 

My issue with what happened in Utah is that they took food the kids already had and threw it out. That a child should be humiliated among their peers because of their parents is, imo, entirely inappropriate. I have no issue with offering a sack lunch to a child who does not qualify for free or reduced price lunch. I do have an issue with them being othered by adults who should know better and by wasting food. Seriously, that one would care more about balance sheets that they would lose sight of the bigger picture and the human being right in front of them.

 

The only shining light in the entire story was a few lines in another article where they talked about an 11 year old girl who went home that night and made lunches for those kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you read the book or Karen's blog, you'll see wide criticism for their system for a few reasons.  First of all, it is not that exceptional in every school.  Mainly the urban centers have better chefs and food.  Secondly, they do not cater to food preferences or allergies without HUGE hoops to jump through for allergies.  And I do have friends IN France.  That book sugar coats the pickiness of French children.  I'm not saying that all of the French schools are doing poorly.  It's an admirable goal, but reality does not match what it looks like on paper. 

 

When I read the book, my first thought was "but what about food allergy kids?" Obviously, NO system is perfect.

But if you are arguing the French system is inferior to ours--- we will just have to disagree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me assure you, a peanut butter sandwich, milk and an apple or banana are just as nutritionally sound as most hot lunch items.  I went to public school for my entire school career, worked at Head Start nutrition for part of my dietetic internship, substituted in three districts prior to getting my teaching license, and taught at two public and two private schools, so I feel like I have seen a very wide range of school lunches.  Apart from one exclusive private school, the lunches were horrible.  All prepackaged, heat up in the microwave, full of dyes and preservatives.  So while we can dream of school lunches being nutritionally sound, which is determined by calories/fat/protein/carb content not as I think most people would rate food as nutritionally sound, at this point a peanut butter sandwich lunch is just as good.  I mean obviously someone is looking at a Poptart's nutrition information and deeming it as an acceptable breakfast choice, based on calories, fat, protein, and sugar, because I've seen them served at every public school I've ever been in.  

 

ETA:  This is not directed at anyone specific, it just seems that people have romanticized notions of what a school lunch looks like.  Just because the government has set up standards and the programs are adhering to those standards, doesn't mean the lunches are anything you would want to serve your kids.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My kids have grown up in a environment that has always offered fresh, healthy food in abundance.  We very rarely eat processed food, but they are given homemade treats in moderation.  If you let my six year old have the option of candy and Coke, he will take it, I'm about 90% sure.  They eat the fresh, healthy food here because they don't have another choice. I could talk until I am blue about good nutrition, but if I sent him into the lunchroom without me and gave him those options, he probably would choose poorly .  He would for sure eat french fries every day if they were offered, heck, I might even eat french fries every day if someone fixed them for me and put them on my tray :lol: .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some parents have actually protested healthful food changes at schools.

 

Many of those parents—and students—were protesting the school lunch program changes not because they are against healthy food but because the new calorie limits and protein limits (which weren't just per meal but per week) were leaving many students still hungry after eating lunch or before school was out. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Many of those parents—and students—were protesting the school lunch program changes not because they are against healthy food but because the new calorie limits and protein limits (which weren't just per meal but per week) were leaving many students still hungry after eating lunch or before school was out. 

 

That is absolutely NOT what I have seen or read.  More of the scoffing, "my kids won't eat birdseed"  and "I can't believe they're serving lentils!!!" and "It's my right to send my kid soda and twinkies" type stuff.  This is not in response to any federal changes, but local cities deciding to do better. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ETA:  This is not directed at anyone specific, it just seems that people have romanticized notions of what a school lunch looks like.  Just because the government has set up standards and the programs are adhering to those standards, doesn't mean the lunches are anything you would want to serve your kids.  

 

I want to like this 1,000 times. :hurray:

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While some of the fair offered at our school was not ideal, they did offer salads and fruits, etc.  Just not a lot of kids chose to eat those types of things.  But no kid went hungry.  You paid for lunches by the month the month ahead, and selected which meals on which days you would have your child eating at school  for the next month, then paid for it before the start of that month, either in three payments or in a one lump sum.  Lunches were a set price, irregardless of what they ate.  No soda or junk food candy was offered as an option unless there was some sort of fund raising drive, but that was a separate purchase with cash.

 

If there was an emergency (illness, death, whatever) and on a day when a child was supposed to bring food from home and the child did not get to school with food, then a jelly sandwich (no pb because of allergy restrictions) was given to the child along with a glass of milk, no extra charge.  Not the best, but they didn't starve.  

 

If no meals were paid for the following month, the parent was contacted to confirm they did not need any meals provided by the school for the next month.  Basically, we functioned with a sort of pre-order contract and it worked pretty well.

 

Giving a child food, then taking that food away and tossing the food out in front of the child and their classmates sends absolutely the wrong message.  It is wasteful and psychologically harmful.  Absolutely NOT the way to go.  If there is an epidemic in a school system of lots of parents not paying for food when they are expected to (some schools near here have free lunches for everyone, though not all, but either way I have never heard of this being wide spread), then that should be addressed between the school and the parents, not directly with the child and not in front of classmates.  It is not the child's fault and something like this can cause real damage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I read the book, my first thought was "but what about food allergy kids?" Obviously, NO system is perfect.

But if you are arguing the French system is inferior to ours--- we will just have to disagree.

To ours?  Oh lordy, no! I went to public school.  I bet my liver is still trying to detox from that horrific time period. *shudder*  I just was addressing the idealism about their system when there ARE drawbacks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

see, I'd prefer the sandwich & apple because they can go outside and eat on the grass with their friends.  Maybe make the sandwich tomato & cheese.  They can finish quickly & run & play.  Rather than being stuck sitting inside at yet another table for some weird notion that humans must eat 3 hot meals a day!

 

Sorry!  I don't mean to be so judgemental.  In the historical context it's an admirable idea, to try to combat hunger.  But if anyone gave my kids poptarts everyday - then billed me for it! -  I'd be fuming!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

see, I'd prefer the sandwich & apple because they can go outside and eat on the grass with their friends.  Maybe make the sandwich tomato & cheese.  They can finish quickly & run & play.  Rather than being stuck sitting inside at yet another table for some weird notion that humans must eat 3 hot meals a day!

 

Sorry!  I don't mean to be so judgemental.  In the historical context it's an admirable idea, to try to combat hunger.  But if anyone gave my kids poptarts everyday - then billed me for it! -  I'd be fuming!

 

Eat outside? I didn't know there were schools that do this. I know the schools around here do not. My boys went to ps for many years, one all the way through 9th grade, and not even in high school could they go outside to eat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am just in shock that kindergartners get to decide for themselves if candy and a Coke is an acceptable snack. And we wonder why our kiddos are obese.

 

In the schools my kids have attended, they do not have those choices. Parents fill out a form at the beginning of the school year on what they're allowed to buy.  The only way they can buy something that is off the list is with a note from home.

 

 

On a side note, I went to a private school (K-12) where we did not have the choice to bring lunch.  Everybody had to eat the horrific school lunch.  We ate family style.  One person at the table served as a waiter.  I (and many of my friends) would have killed for a PB&J, apple, and milk.  It was some of the most horrible Aramark food imaginable.  Of course, now the school has a private chef, salad bar, and the kids have choices.  Not back then.  When one got to upper school, you could sign out to go out to lunch once per week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...