A reality based independent journal of observation & analysis, serving the Flathead Valley & Montana since 2006. © James Conner.

2 March 2017

MT school proposes lunch shaming students to punish their parents

That’s the policy the Montana City K-8 school board may adopt, according to a must read report by KXLH’s Mikenzie Frost. Students who made the mistake of choosing parents who are poor or deadbeats, and who have accumulated meal bills of $100 or more, will be fed “alternative meals:”

For breakfast, the “alternative meal” will consist of toast, peanut butter, and either milk or juice. For lunch, students will be given a cheese sandwich, veggie sticks, fruit, and milk as the “alternative meal.”

Although parents rightly call this lunch shaming, Superintendent Tony Kloker disagrees:

Kloker insisted the policy wouldn’t “lunch shame” any student, as the school plans to give students the cheese sandwich discreetly.

“It won’t be in the lunch room in front of everyone, where shaming can happen,” he explained.

How can Kloker possibly believe no one will notice when students condemned to peanut butter toast and government cheese sandwiches are treated differently? Asserting that such a policy can be administered discreetly is an exercise in Trumpian mendacity.

Kloker says he relied on information and advice from the Montana School Boards Association. From that admission, we can make two inferences: (1) Kloker either doesn’t recognize a bad idea when he encounters one, or lacks the courage to oppose a bad idea, and (2) the MSBA is offering advice that amounts to recommending child abuse.

Children have rights and deserve better. They never should be singled out for derision and contempt — which is the official intent of a shame them with cheese sandwiches policy — in order to punish their parents.

All school meals should be paid for by progressive taxation, not by having children pony up lunch money in the cafeteria. That’s the only fair policy.