School lunch should be a very simple process in New Jersey. You put money on an account and your child is allowed to buy as much lunch as is on his or her card. If you have a problem with that, or can't afford it, you go to school and work something out. They are more than willing to do so. The problem arises when deadbeat parents let their accounts lapse putting their children in an embarrassingly awkward position.

In Cherry Hill, things have gotten so bad that they thought of giving tuna sandwiches to those who couldn't pay. That caused parents to claim "lunch shaming" which is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. There's no shame in lunch, any lunch. The shame comes in children being embarrassed by their parents because they sent them up for food without lunch money.

Enter Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and State Senator Theresa Ruiz. They want to make the reduced price lunches free. Going by the logic behind the tuna sandwich, wouldn't that be "shaming" for the child that takes the lunch too?

Why not get a major restaurant or fast food chain to provide the lunches in exchange for advertising rights throughout the school and events? Wouldn't it be like grooming your customer base? Perhaps they can sell sponsor signage to local businesses as well to supplement the cost. Why not have farmers donate their excess crops to the school for tax deductions?

Of course, if you consolidate the school districts all kinds of money can be freed up for students to not only have lunch but dessert as well. Perhaps if those whose jobs could be eliminated if such a thing were to happen to treat this like it could, then the lunch problem would be solved.

If New Jersey wants to provide free lunch to its students there are ways of doing it, I think they should all be explored before they come reaching for our tax dollars which always seems to be their first option.

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