North Texas Daily

Students should not be punished for lack of lunch funds

Students should not be punished for lack of lunch funds

Students should not be punished for lack of lunch funds
October 29
17:32 2019

A New Jersey school district by the name of Cherry Hill has passed a new policy that prevents students from attending school activities such as prom if they have outstanding school lunch debt that exceeds $75, according to an article by NBC News. Earlier this year in August, the same school district was scrutinized for proposing to give students tuna sandwiches who had more than $10 in lunch debt and no food at all to students who had more than $20 lunch debt.

Apparently the Cherry Hill school district thinks that kids do not deserve to eat if they owe money or that they should be punished for having their lunch debt exceed a certain amount. This school district covers elementary to high school level students, so if any of these students have their lunch debt exceed these values, they would all in turn receive the same punishment no matter the grade level of the student.

These high school students may be able to cover some of their now lunch debt, but this could only really be possible if they have a part-time job. While it may be good to have a job during your high school years, it should be the sole responsibility of the school district to aid in the lunch debt issue and not rely  on these high school students to handle it on their own.

One of the more absurd things about this entire thing is enacting the same punishment on elementary and middle school level students who quite possibly cannot pay off their own lunch debt by themselves. If a lunch debt of one of these students in this level exceeds upwards of $75 or even $2o, this seems to be an issue on the parent’s fault for letting it get that far, so the kids should not be punished for it.

However, there are many parents who simply cannot afford school lunch for their kids everyday and they should not be punished for it, either.

There are many lower income students who go to public school and even if their parents may not be able to afford school lunch for their kids, they still deserve to eat when they are at school and that simply should not be something to be argued about.

Preventing students from going to prom and other school activities as well if their lunch debt is in excess is also another terrible policy this school district thought to enact. Those events can be highlights of a school year and this would rob these students of the memories they could make there. These school activities, especially prom, are once in a lifetime events for these students to have, and robbing them of the experience would be unfair to students who will have those memories for the rest of their lives.

This is a very elitist viewpoint that will only do harm to those involved, except the school district.

Frankly, students should expect lunch provided to them when they attend school no matter the grade level they are in or if they have issues with payment. As for the school districts, providing meals for the students who attend the schools should be a prime factor in their policies.

In 2017, the Cherry Hill school district wiped every student’s lunch debt and set their balances to $0. While the ballooning debt may be an issue each year, the district should proceed with erasing the debt of each student so they can have a proper meal at school. Eating lunch during the school day is essential for the growth, well-being and health of students and this policy would utterly deny students of these necessary stimulants to help them get through the day.

The Cherry Hill school district along with any other district thinking of setting a policy as ridiculous as this one should immediately rethink their decision and set their priorities straight to focus on the well-being of the students who attend their schools.

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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