When a student is either denied lunch at school or offered only a ‘basic’ lunch, different from what’s being served to the other kids, because the parent hasn’t paid their lunch bill, it’s called lunch shaming.

It’s controversial. Do you know what ought to be more controversial? Not paying for your kid’s meals for months and arrogantly expecting the free ride to continue.

This has reared its ugly head in Deptford. The Board of Ed there just this week rescinded a policy of what some would call lunch shaming but I would call common sense. After repeated contact with deadbeat parents about making good on their kid’s lunch bill goes ignored, they had been not offering lunch or giving out a bare-bones lunch of a peanut butter sandwich or a cheese sandwich.

The problem becomes other kids quickly learn what that ‘basic’ lunch means and it is argued it can be a stigma for the child.

father and little daughter go to school or daycare, education and learning

Emails had recently gone out to parents informing them that Pre-K and Kindergarten kids with unpaid food bills would still receive breakfast but only a basic lunch, 1st through 5th graders would receive a basic lunch but no breakfast and 6th graders and up would not receive any meals. Plus parents were warned the accounts could be turned over to a collection agency.

Of course, Gov. Murphy’s office had to overreact. Spokesperson Christi Peace said, “The Governor and his Administration will not stand for policies that ostracize and harm New Jersey students, especially those who may already come from a family struggling to put food on the table.”

If they were struggling that much then they would already qualify for the free lunch program and wouldn’t be expected to pay. Who are we kidding here?

Also, ostracize and harm? Sorry, parents who make enough to not qualify for free lunches need to feed their kids. Let’s stop blaming school boards for things that ought to lie squarely at the feet of parents who are taking advantage. If you’re worried about the stigma of a cheese sandwich and your kid being ostracized, then how about trying to raise them?

Awesome one-of-a-kind old school eatery in South Jersey

$450 million in school construction funding approved by NJ

These are the $1 billion in projects and the state funding shares announced by the New Jersey Department of Education on Sept. 7, 2023.

School projects include essential building systems upgrades, building code problems, 320 HVAC systems, 79 boilers or water heaters, and 211 roofs.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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