A Lesson In Compassion (From Within A “Family Values” State)

Nothing says the dignity of humanity; nothing says kindness; nothing says how a high level of public religiosity makes for a better society than literally ripping  food out of hungry kids hands, and, in front of them, throwing it away:

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.

Max_Liebermann_Kindervolksküche

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

Eleven years old!

I’m a dad, as y’all probably know.  My kid is 13 now.  He’s a total pain in the ass about food right now — won’t touch most stuff, including his school’s cafeteria fare.  He takes food from home and we top him up when he gets home.  But he used to get some stuff there.  I remember topping up his account once or twice when I dropped him off — we’d either crossed over into the red or come too close to it.  No one at his school would have dreamed of grabbing his bagel; we’d get a note asking for another five bucks for the system.  That’s how you do it.

If anyone had stopped my son in the middle of the cafeteria line, grabbed his tray and dumped his lunch?

I can’t imagine what I’d have done and said.  I can imagine what that experience would do to my child — to any kid.  Public poor-shaming –turning some little kid, with no power, no agency, no ability to defend or deflect or do anything, into nothing more than your prop in some twisted morality play about the undeserving proles.  I’m sorry about the run-on there. The rage and refracted sorrow/sympathy for the chidren some asshole(s) decided it was OK to hurt just overwhelms my ability to calm down my syntax.  But you get the point:  this  is no way to teach an 11 year old anything.  Or rather it’s just the right way to learn both that child and all her or his peers how to be the worst we can be.

One more thing:  I’m slamming on Utah in the headline, because I’m sick of sitting here in godless Massachusetts listening to folks from the religiousist corners of our country tell us how we all need to emulate the values in which such places are alledgedly rich.

But I take this personally too.  This isn’t just Utah.  An action like this is the logical endpoint of a culture that frames all things as the battle of the individual against society.  I like living in a social setting.  I think the genius of American democracy in the abstract is that it provides a once-novel way of mediating between levels of association from village on up and the individual.  So when  I hear the words “American exceptionalism,  I’d like them to have some other meaning than that we are exceptional in our capacity to be cruel to hungry children.

Image: Max Liebermann, Kindervolksküche, 1915

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82 replies
  1. 1
    Linda Featheringill says:

    In Elmer Gantry, there’s a line where a [real] preacher asks: “Mr. Gantry, why don’t you believe in God?”

    Friggin rat bastards.

  2. 2
    BGinCHI says:

    As much as I’d like to condemn a large portion of Utah, I’m guessing this is the work of one giant asshole principal or lunch room commandante.

    Wondering if any teachers were there to stop it.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    They are the “Uintah Unicorns.”

    Irony fail.

  4. 4
    jl says:

    I’m very concerned about hysteria and hateful persecution I see on the left of mean-spirited and pointless spite.

  5. 5
    Tom Levenson says:

    @BGinCHI: I’m sure (or mostly so) you’re right. But (a) economic fundamentalisms track (somewhat) other ideological commitments and (b) there is, IMHO, a special obligation for those places and people associated with calls for public morality to show some. So I think I can call it out.

    I’ll revise the above if the community around it — if the state — shows a lot of condemnation. Then I’ll be wrong and will say so.

  6. 6
    BGinCHI says:

    Lunch menu:

    http://schoolmenu.com/menu/ut/.....ry-school/

    Pretty good fare.

    Principal looks like a nice lady:

    http://uintah.slcschools.org/F.....ncipal.php

  7. 7
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: Love the motto on the school website:

    Safe, Responsible & Respectful!

  8. 8
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    As Robertson Davies once said, some people like nothing better than to do a mean thing for a holy reason.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tom Levenson: I’m with you on the outrage, Tom. SLC is not like most of the rest of the state, though. I don’t know, maybe we have some locals here who have a better idea of this.

    The idea of shaming those kids is fucking terrible and I agree it’s symptomatic. You know the fuckers on the right who will heh-indeedy that move as building character.

  10. 10
    pacem appellant says:

    @Tom Levenson: I think you should apologize to MSNBC immediately and be banned from Twitter for disparaging all of Utah. What are you trying to do, make Reince Priebus cry?

  11. 11
    KG says:

    never had a school lunch account, just got lunch money at the start of the week in jr high and high schools. had I been in the position of these kids, in jr high or high school, there’s an even money chance that I’d have probably been involved in a physical fight with the person trying to take and trash my lunch. 11 is what, 5th grade? might not have at that point, but by high school, there’d have been an administrator with a broken nose and black eye…

  12. 12
    Keith says:

    I remember a particularly painful experience in my first year at a boarding school. Less than five minutes late for the six ‘o’ clock meal, the prefect at head of the table decided that the proper means to discipline tardiness was to refuse to serve me, while all the other twenty kids at the table were served and ate their meals.

    I was quite certain I was going to be denied food, and have nothing to eat till the next day.

    Anyone who takes food from a child is simply a miserable person, hurt inside in a manner I cannot begin to understand.

    At evening break from homework the dinner hall staff – all ladies from the village, still outraged by what they had seen unfold in front of their eyes just six feet from the serving hatch – coughed up a plateful of fare for me, which I had to scarf down in back of the kitchen. So the day had both good and bad in it.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    @WaterGirl: Two out of three ain’t bad?

    Yummy. Meatloaf.

  14. 14
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI:

    You know the fuckers on the right who will heh-indeedy that move as building character.

    You know, that sounds a lot like the tweet that just lost someone their job at MSNBC.

    Edit: I can hardly wait for the thread Cole puts up once he’s banned you from the website. :-)

  15. 15
    jacy says:

    It’s also important to remember that, for some kids, the food they receive at school is the ONLY food they get during the week. We have programs down here in Louisiana that send kids home with packed food for the weekend, because there is literally no food at their home.

  16. 16
    elftx says:

    I posted on their FB page how wonderful a lesson it was for the school to be teaching the takers all about their betters.

  17. 17
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: Hmm, they are 0 for 3 by my count!

  18. 18
    burnspbesq says:

    The word “incomprehensible” is in danger of overuse, but it surely applies here.

    I simply have no ability to understand what would motivate anyone to do this.

    Good luck explaining this one to Saint Peter when it’s time for you to be judged, y’all.

  19. 19
    Manyakitty says:

    Well. This just about sums it up.

    I spent some time this morning reading about Leviticans, courtesy of ever-insightful John Scalzi: http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/002675.html and Phil Plait: http://blogs.discovermagazine......-our-laws/.

    Seems like these god-botherers are living it to the letter.

  20. 20
    Manyakitty says:

    @jacy: That’s more like it.

  21. 21
    Eric U. says:

    In a just world, whoever was responsible or went along with this would be looking for a job, preferably away from children

  22. 22
    WaterGirl says:

    @Eric U.: These stupid people keep their jobs after disrespecting and humiliating children, and letting them go hungry, while someone loses a job at MSNBC for pretty much making a statement of fact about the likely response to a cheerios commercial.

    Un-fucking-believeable on both counts.

  23. 23
    BGinCHI says:

    @WaterGirl: Well at least I’d get more work done on days I’m here exercising my feeble wit.

  24. 24
    Cassidy says:

    But NSA and police state. Yeah.

  25. 25
    Trollhattan says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    .
    I opined elsewhere that in the case of Utah, there is little that goes on not in the control to some extent of Mormons. Not even in Gawd’s Own South is a single religion so monolithic. But hey, here’s their chance to do the right thing and fix this.

  26. 26
    StringOnAStick says:

    From what I read, a supervisor not from that school had noticed that it had a higher level of in-the-red lunch money accounts, so she (I think) showed up and made them do this. So, it was the boss from up the food chain coming down to the pond to kick some little kid ass basically. I am also not discounted some intended religious/monetary shaming, because SLC tends to have a lot of non-Mormons, and you’re either in or your not, period. They don’t call it Behind the Zion Curtain for nothing.

  27. 27
    Calouste says:

    @BGinCHI:

    It’s no one from the school according to the linked article.

    Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said the district’s child-nutrition department became aware that Uintah had a large number of students who owed money for lunches.

    As a result, the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches to deal with the issue, he said.

    So apparently the way to deal with child nutrition in the Salt Lake City School District is to not give them food.

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    @Calouste: For fuck’s sake. That person has to get fired.

  29. 29
    Kylroy says:

    @burnspbesq: Seriously. Want to grab those kids and have them perform a quick version of “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” for the staff.

  30. 30
    RaflW says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’m guessing this is the work of one giant asshole principal or lunch room commandante

    In that case, the swarm of angry parents should know exactly which office to stage their nonviolent sit-in strike. These shit-heel punish-the-poor folks need to be confronted in swift but non-aggressive fashion.

  31. 31
    Baud says:

    47% of 11 year olds think they’re entitled to food.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    Compassionate conservatives only doing what they were trained to do.

  33. 33
    elmo says:

    @Baud:
    That would be hilarious, except that “food” was specifically one of the items that RMoney included in his “people think they’re entitled” rant, which is (for me at least) what sent it hurtling from self-parody into bitter, evil malice.

    And by the way, the comments at Freeperville are exactly what you’d expect about teaching the moochers a well-deserved lesson.

  34. 34
    MomSense says:

    I really struggle to Understand this type of behavior. I think that people who tend to be liberal place more value in nurturing than in authority. And I think people who tend to be Republican or neo conservative place more value in authority and tend to assume that poverty is the result of fault or punishment for bad behavior. I wonder to what extent there is major denial at work here. If one accepts the extent to which we have had a systematic program to shift wealth to the top 1% and to undermine workers rights and the safety net, it would lead to feeling disillusioned, betrayed, and incredibly vulnerable. It seems like it is far preferable for some, and encouraged by some religions, to blame the poor even the children.

  35. 35
    Gex says:

    @Tom Levenson: Agreed. How many years has “think of the children” concern trolling been a huge export of Utah’s? Almost two decades worth on the marriage issue alone. If you’ve spent billions to protect children from gay marriage, I’m not sure there should even be an issue with children who can’t afford lunch.

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @elftx: Did you see the post before the apology? Help fight child hunger through the Souper Bowl of Caring! Child poverty and hunger are reaching alarming levels in Utah.

  37. 37
    srv says:

    with no power, no agency, no ability to defend or deflect or do anything

    Isn’t that what public school education under thuggish unions is all about?

    If this had been a charter school, the kids would have known what to do.

  38. 38
    scav says:

    I can just see the disciples checking the voucher cards before handing out any of the loaves and the fishes and turning away the truly destitute because of insufficient funds. Yeah verily, that parable is clearly handed down to us on tablets of gold.

  39. 39
    WaterGirl says:

    @BGinCHI: Yep. And, I think, the person at the school that didn’t stand up to the nutrition person. Someone from within that school should have fought for those kids. Of course, if they had, that person might be out of a job today along with the cheerios tweeter from MSNBC.

  40. 40
    gelfling545 says:

    Im my district, at least at the time I retired and who knows now with Carl Paladino on the school board, all the kids got free lunch, everybody. A whole lot of them qualified anyway and, so I heard anyway, it was determined to be cheaper just to feed them all rather than to support the mechanism for collecting info, making determinations & policing the system. It also removed any “free lunch kid” stigma. Prior to that, teachers & aids on lunch duty paid for at least some of the kids’ lunches every day as there was no “account”, just cash in hand.

  41. 41
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @Eric U.:

    In a just world, whoever was responsible or went along with this would be looking for a job

    Or their teeth.

  42. 42
    Anniecat45 says:

    ” I’m sick of sitting here in godless Massachusetts listening to folks from the religiousist corners of our country tell us how we all need to emulate the values in which such places are alledgedly rich.”

    This, this, this. I’m so bloody sick of so-called religious Red Staters shouting about their values while not living up to them.

    From the moment I moved here, I found more caring and community involvement in the People’s Republic of San Francisco than I ever did in the northern-Florida/Bible Belt town I got out of.

  43. 43
    the Conster says:

    Being from Massachusetts I’d like to think that such a thing would never happen here, but alas it did just recently. The difference is there was a shit storm about it.

  44. 44
    JPL says:

    @the Conster: Utah representatives are calling it an abuse of power. Hopefully the person responsible will be fired and denied food stamps.

  45. 45
    Joshua Norton says:

    godless Massachusetts

    My family’s been there since there was a Massachusetts. I live in San Francisco now, but whenever I hear someone piss and moan about “Taxachusetts”, I just tell them we had our fair share of assholery, but we managed to do it a couple hundred years ahead of everyone else and found out it doesn’t work.

    (I mean, hanging people as witches all the way up to books and plays that were “Banned in Boston” is pretty much a right wing wet dream, isnt’ it?)

  46. 46
    Jeffro says:

    Before people read too much more into this situation…save your anti-red-state, anti-Utah, anti-GOP, anti-whomever outrage for another day. And I say that as a very progressive Dem who also happens to be a former principal of an elementary school.

    This kind of stuff happens from time to time everywhere, unfortunately. A fair number of kids anywhere are already on free lunch, so they’re not the ones at issue – they can’t charge the good stuff, i.e. ice cream and chips – but they’re not going to go through this crud.

    The kids who aren’t on free lunch still have parents who forget to restock the account or the kids themselves forget to take home the “your kid’s account is overdrawn” reminder slip (sometimes 2, 3, 10 times). The cafeteria manager’s held responsible by district office for making sure they aren’t running in the red. And the cafeteria workers are just doing what they’re told. Parents and kids are very forgetful, and cafeteria workers/managers(who are usually on the serving line themselves at some point) are serving hundreds of kids a day.

    So to avoid this kind of humiliating stuff, responsible principals and and cafeteria managers usually work together (ideally, talking in advance about such things) and arrange for one or the other (or both) to call home until they get someone on the line about the account. Worse comes to worse, the principal can buy a lunch for an overdrawn kid and THEN call home about the issue, mentioning the ‘loan’ as a brief aside. And if it never gets paid back, who cares? I mean, it’s $2 or $3 out of pocket versus a kid having to go through this kind of thing when it’s the parents who’re supposed to be keeping things funded. Pretty easy call in my book, one I made dozens of times.

    (Automated payment/replenishment systems help too – I mean, if you can sign up for EZ Pass, you can sign up for SchoolLunch.com right? =)

    So in short: yes, it’s terrible that this happened to these kids. There’s an awful lot of human error and not malice involved, in all likelihood. It’s pretty easily fixable without overreacting. And stuff like ‘giant asshole principal’, ‘lunch room commandante’, and all the over-the-top comments about heavenly judgment and all really don’t help or do anything to keep it from happening again.

  47. 47
    kdaug says:

    @KG: Yep

  48. 48
    MCA1 says:

    Why can’t people fucking communicate better? Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick. There are so many readily obvious ways to deal with this incredibly minimal problem that don’t involve the waste of food and the public humiliation of students not responsible for the situation, that it’s almost unfathomable that they chose this one. I trust the silver lining in this is that the district “Child Nutrition Manager” is right now having the worst day of his/her life, and it won’t be getting better soon. The District’s being publicly shamed across the nation right now, and they’re probably holding emergency meetings right now to figure out how to fix a colossal p.r. clusterfuck of their own making, so I’m certainly happy about that. Good on whatever parent called the SLC Tribune, and good on the reporter for digging into it. Local news reporters actually go and, you know, report shit.

  49. 49
    les says:

    @Jeffro:

    And stuff like ‘giant asshole principal’, ‘lunch room commandante’, and all the over-the-top comments about heavenly judgment and all really don’t help or do anything to keep it from happening again.

    Maybe, maybe no. Obviously at least one person didn’t think this behavior was too assholish to be acceptable, and they need to know. It’s not enough to get a calm message that, management wise, it’s ineffective to punish kids for shit out of their control, but reasonable compassionate people don’t behave like this. Yeah, yeah, it’s complicated; but one individual acted, dude.

  50. 50
    tBoy says:

    Bullies are cowards. Always.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jeffro:

    What really worries me about the whole story is that apparently there was a recent software switch in the program they use for parents to sign up, so it’s entirely possible the affected parents had NO IDEA that the account was in the red because they’d never gotten the email alerts they were supposed to receive from the system.

    So if a goddamned software screwup was responsible for kids being denied lunch, heads absolutely should roll for this.

  52. 52
    MCA1 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Insert CGI joke here.

    Even if parents were getting notices via e-mail or whatever, if it’s a legitimately serious problem, then CALL THE PARENTS. You know damned well none of them are intentionally trying to stiff the school district for lunches. And there might be some who are not aware of alternatives or subsidies or free lunch programs if they’re really having difficulty paying for this.

    Of course, the fact that they didn’t call and actually speak to parents indicates that it’s not a legitimately serious problem, so the response was incredibly disproportionate to the actual issue.

  53. 53
    elftx says:

    @Jeffro:

    I can understand what you are saying, but to serve the kid a lunch then take it away at the register is so far out of bounds I see nothing redeeming about it.

  54. 54
    scav says:

    Removing food from children that already had it, food that otherwise would be and was wasted is not even a misguided and possibly benign solution to a mixup in billing or whatever (which on it’s own could be a simple whoops or a bunch of individual parental whoops). Actively going out of one’s way to take food from kids that clearly are not going to get to eat otherwise is needless, vindictive bullshit and shouldn’t be blandly swept aside as well, happens all the time and let’s not make a big thing out of it. We’re not talking mistakenly handing out valuable gemstones here.

  55. 55
    Jeffro says:

    @les: Yup, totally agree and that person should hear from the district person (food service director, superintendent, whomever) that it’s totally unacceptable – that person should have to apologize to the kids and their families pronto, no argument.

  56. 56
    Jeffro says:

    @elftx: Strawman. I wasn’t saying there was anything redeeming about it. People clearly made mistakes and put their ‘department directives’ (for lack of a better term) ahead of these kids’ well-being. That’s why they should apologize profusely and commit to always following directive #1 in my school (and most): “students first”.

    It tended to clarify people’s thinking on a range of issues and save a lot of b.s. excuses, whether it was instructional issues or running the school. One of the few ways that righteousness automatically makes you right. =)

    Side note: Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s book “Decisive” is a great read for anyone looking to make better decisions in life, work, etc. The first thing they do is encourage people to widen their options when trying to make a decision. Sounds like this school/district could use a few copies before the next time they go straight to “lean on the kids and dump their lunches…or not”.

  57. 57
    mdblanche says:

    I first heard about this from a relative of mine who was shocked and outraged. This was the same relative who was shocked and outraged about the Zimmerman verdict, and then passed on to me the latest racist, homophobic crap about the President later that same day.

    I feel sorry for the children, but I just can’t bring myself to feel sorry for their parents. I know I should, but I’m burned out from having to deal with people who have compassion for some and vague loathing for the rest, people who can’t figure out or won’t admit that what when you think that’s what you’re voting for what you’re going to get is cruelty for some and murderous cruelty for the rest.

    And so I can’t stop wondering how many of these parents voted for this type of thing to happen, are only upset that it happened to them, and haven’t learned a damn thing from this. Given that this is Utah, it’s a safe guess that it’s a majority.

  58. 58
    Jeffro says:

    @Mnemosyne: I hear you but sometimes parents even let the e-mails slide, software glitch or no. I’m thinking of calling Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein to see how to ‘nudge’ these people (make lunch account autopay the default perhaps?)

  59. 59
    cckids says:

    @WaterGirl:

    And, I think, the person at the school that didn’t stand up to the nutrition person. Someone from within that school should have fought for those kids

    This. The principal should have been summoned immediately (if she wasn’t there), and put a stop to it. I mean, they threw the food away!! I don’t even agree with the “give them milk & fruit” fallback they use if the account is too far in arrears, but throwing food away rather than letting poor kids eat it? What a failure, all around.

    Of course, from my perspective here in Mormon-ish Southern NV, one of my first thoughts was “the principal was a woman, I bet the administrator was a man, & she wouldn’t stand up to him”. Could be.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    @cckids: Interesting thought in your last sentence. I wonder.

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jeffro:

    I think you missed my point — if it wasn’t the parents’ fault due to the software glitch, then what possible justification is there for doing this other than sheer assholery?

    ETA: Just to be even more clear, if you suddenly have a large number of parents who haven’t paid soon after doing a software update to the payment system, your first instinct should be Is the new software working?, not that a large group of people suddenly decided to become deadbeats.

  62. 62
    efgoldman says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    He takes food from home and we top him up when he gets home.

    Oh, Professor Levenson. You are in for it. Sometime in the next year or less your son will become a more perfect eating machine than even the shark in Jaws. Your grocery expenses will exceed your monthly utility bills, totaled. You will have to add a new room for temporary storage of food, said room will be topped up and emptied roughly every 48 hours.
    There is nothing in the world that’s a more feared consumer than a teenage boy.
    True story: my daughter’s first boyfriend (~15 years old) would often have dinner with us, then go home and eat what his mother made for dinner – or sometimes the other way around. And he was a beanpole who even today has less than a 30″ waist, 1-17 years later.

  63. 63
    Cervantes says:

    @the Conster:

    Being from Massachusetts I’d like to think that such a thing would never happen here, but alas it did just recently.

    Exactly. Nothing to do with Mormonism.

  64. 64
    LibInUtah says:

    @mdblanche:

    I just can’t bring myself to feel sorry for their parents. I know I should, but I’m burned out from having to deal with people who have compassion for some and vague loathing for the rest, people who can’t figure out or won’t admit that what when you think that’s what you’re voting for what you’re going to get is cruelty for some and murderous cruelty for the rest.

    And so I can’t stop wondering how many of these parents voted for this type of thing to happen, are only upset that it happened to them, and haven’t learned a damn thing from this. Given that this is Utah, it’s a safe guess that it’s a majority.

    I’m so damn sick of people thinking that red states are so politically monolithic and homogeneous. I live a block and a half away from Uintah Elementary School. It’s in what we like to call the “LCZ”—the Liberal Containment Zone. It’s a solidly democratic and even liberal part of SLC, which is a solidly democratic and liberal part of the state.

    I’ve lived in both deep red and deep blue states. Never thought everyone living anywhere all voted as a block. How many damn times does this have to pointed out? How thick are you?

  65. 65
    Cervantes says:

    @Jeffro: Yes, there’s no defending what was done to those kids, but you’re right.

  66. 66
    Cervantes says:

    @BGinCHI: Well, I thought it was hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.

  67. 67
    LibInUtah says:

    And yes, I’m outraged by what happened at Uintah. It’s completely unacceptable. I don’t fully understand what happened yet, and, with the rest of the outraged community, am eagerly awaiting further clarification and an announcement of how the offending parties will be punished.

    Last I heard the nutrition counselor, or whatever their job title might be, was digging in their heels. That’s not going to fly. If they want to save their job they need to change their tune (and some policies) ASAP. This is not a community that will let something like this slide.

  68. 68
    Cervantes says:

    @mdblanche:

    Given that this is Utah, it’s a safe guess that it’s a majority.

    Actually, given that it’s Salt Lake City, that’s not a safe guess at all.

  69. 69
    efgoldman says:

    @MomSense: Shorter MomSense: What fucking assholes!

  70. 70
    Cervantes says:

    @Joshua Norton:

    I live in San Francisco now, but whenever I hear someone piss and moan about “Taxachusetts”, I just tell them we had our fair share of assholery, but we managed to do it a couple hundred years ahead of everyone else and found out it doesn’t work. (I mean, hanging people as witches all the way up to books and plays that were “Banned in Boston” is pretty much a right wing wet dream, isnt’ it?)

    Maybe, but don’t forget that the first thing we tried in Plymouth Plantation was communal ownership — being a commonwealth — private property was not allowed.

    (Didn’t last, of course.)

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @the Conster:

    Plus it sounds like the school in Massachusetts was slightly more generous with the “alternative meal”:

    Kids with a negative balance usually receive “a cheese sandwich, a fruit and vegetable, and milk.” Then the company contacts the parents about payment.

  72. 72
    Ripley says:

    Know your capitalist scolds. I count at least four in this thread.

  73. 73
    TS says:

    @Jeffro:

    So in short: yes, it’s terrible that this happened to these kids. There’s an awful lot of human error and not malice involved, in all likelihood. It’s pretty easily fixable without overreacting. And stuff like ‘giant asshole principal’, ‘lunch room commandante’, and all the over-the-top comments about heavenly judgment and all really don’t help or do anything to keep it from happening again.

    There was malice in bucketfuls from the person who did this – no doubt on that whatsoever.

  74. 74
    Joshua Norton says:

    @Cervantes:

    The Plymouth colonists were Pilgrims and communal living was pretty much needed in order for everyone to survive. My family were all Puritans and came in the Great Migration in 1639. They were founders of Newbury and other towns and each family was given their own lot of land. Of course, everything was still strictly theocratic but they obviously had developed different attitudes about property.

  75. 75
    Tehanu says:

    @BGinCHI:

    That person has to get fired.

    Fired? Firing is too good for them. My entrepreneurial plan to open a shop specializing in tar, feathers, and portable lampposts is beginning to look better all the time.

  76. 76
    reality-based says:

    @Cervantes:

    oddly enough – that’s the first system they tried in Utah, too. It never does last.

    http://themormonworker.net/pas.....on-church/

  77. 77
    mclaren says:

    America remains a sick twisted society focused on causing torment and preventing pleasure. Anything that can torture people, especially small children, is judged good and worthy in America; anything that brings people joy is a crime, an abomination, an atrocity to be condemned and excoriated as loudly as possible.

    Shithole America is a nation of Morlocks, drunk with hate. America is a nation of wannbe Jeffrey Dahmers, lusting to torment the weakest and most defenseless among us.

  78. 78
    Paul in KY says:

    @Calouste: Cause you know all those kids have loads of money on them…

  79. 79
    brantl says:

    Why in the hell wouldn’t you have a setup to have the kids account pull off of a checking account? I don’t understand this, a kid should get food. That just bites that they didn’t even give the kids the food that they already had in their hands. What kind of douchebag could bring themselves to take it out of their hands?

  80. 80
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    Every now and then, as a forgetful parent, my kids lunch accounts ran out, but at least in elementary school, they were never denied a lunch. Never, not EVER, would any one allow my kid to get the meal and then have the disgusting and cruel audacity to actually REMOVE IT OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THEIR FORK.

    Oh, I’d get a couple of notes then a phone call to remind me. Similarly, in middle school, they’d get three “freebies” then were told “Ok, now Mija, tomorrow you won’t have any more lunches so bring your money” by the lunch lady. And even then, if for some stupid reason they didn’t have the lunch check the next day, she’d say “Ok now, Mijo, this is the LAST time…”. Then she’d call me up and be kinda grumpy, like I deserved, and make me feel guilty.

    Why? Oh, maybe cuz she actually had a heart inside her chest, not a rotting TURD?

  81. 81
    tavella says:

    @efgoldman:

    Oh, Professor Levenson. You are in for it. Sometime in the next year or less your son will become a more perfect eating machine than even the shark in Jaws.

    My mother had to join Costco and get a second fridge for downstairs when my brother and his three best friends turned into teenagers. She could bring home two gallons of milk and find it gone the next day.

  82. 82
    COB says:

    This is the result of a certain mentality adopted by cold callous people. Yes, many of them are of a certian political party – many are also of a certain religious cult (it is in Utah). Put them together and you get food snatched from the hands of hungry school children and thrown in the trash. And they want to run the country, forever.

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