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Petitioning US Congress

We shouldn’t punish children who can’t afford lunch!

by Eddie Emerson September 21, 2019

18.642 NEEDED

TARGET 20.000 SIGNATURES 1.358 supporters

Not being able to buy your own lunch should not be a reason to be ashamed – sadly, in Rhode Island, this is exactly what’s happening.

Warwick Public Schools will be giving students with school lunch debt a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and nothing else, until their accounts are current. In my view, the notion of school lunch debt sounds absurd, abhorrent and should be scrapped right away. For starters, half of U.S. students actually get free and reduced lunch, while others have access to nutritious hot meals at very low rates thanks to cost subsidies. But sometimes that's not enough: It can be hard to afford school lunch, especially with add-ons that can make the price creep up. Across the U.S., kids get into arrears on their lunch accounts, and the response from adults is not great. 

However, to my total surprise, some district will not allow children to enjoy their lunch unless the debt is repaid, while others will be given special meals that will clearly show they are different, inferior children. As if singling out children in the cafeteria was not enough, some districts withhold diplomas and other important documentation until kids pay. Or, to be more precise, until their parents come up with the necessary funds. And, according to many parents in Rhode Island, the district is going after ridiculous levels of debt – such as a nickel or a couple of dollars.

No child in America should be made to feel bad because they can't afford their lunch. I hope everyone can agree with this matter.

We must stop shaming children at school and ensure a better environment for the children with limited financial possibilites. 


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