What Are We Teaching Our Children?

Recently there was an incident in one of our local schools that has caused me to wonder about what we are teaching our children in school–both in textbooks and in experience.

On April 5th, WCVB Boston reported the following:

Outraged parents said some students at Coelho Middle School cried when they were told by a worker for the district’s food service provider they could not eat on Tuesday because they couldn’t pay or their pre-paid accounts were short on funds.
The on-site director for the company, Whitsons Culinary Group of Islandia, N.Y., was placed on administrative leave by Superintendent Pia Durkin, who has ordered cafeteria workers not to deny any child food.

Today, the Attleboro Sun Chronicle reported:

News that dozens of students at Coelho Middle School were denied lunch for a lack of cash touched off anger among parents and the public, but an anonymous unseen feeding frenzy of outrage launched against school administrators via the Internet was far worse coming with personal threats.

Superintendent Pia Durkin said Wednesday that she and her family were threatened, as was Coelho Principal Andrew Boles.

What in the world is going on?

It is unfortunate that students were denied lunches because their lunchroom accounts were empty, but I don’t understand why the people working in the lunchroom were held responsible for taking a common sense approach to the matter.  Would you expect to eat at a restaurant and not pay for your meal? There are a few obvious solutions to this situation that I believe should have been in place to prevent this incident. First of all, what is the procedure for notifying parents or students that their accounts are low? Haven’t Middle School children had enough basic experience with money to know that when you buy something you pay for it? Why isn’t there a Plan B in effect that says if your account is empty and you can’t buy lunch, the cafeteria gives you a complementary soy butter (I believe peanut butter is not allowed in schools these days) and jelly sandwich and a carton of regular milk and sends you on your way. You don’t go hungry, but you don’t necessarily get the lunch you really want.

What are we teaching these children? How is it fair to the children whose accounts are paid and up to date that other children get the same lunch without paying for it? How in the world are the cafeteria workers responsible for providing lunch for students that have not paid?

It is truly unfortunate that the cafeteria workers were fired over this incident. Do they have a union? If so, why is that union silent? I can’t imagine someone in a retail store of any kind doing anything different. The way this incident has been handled will only contribute to a ‘gimme’ attitude on the part of the students and an entitlement attitude among their parents. This does not bode well for the future of our country.

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This Is Not Going To Win Any Friends, But It’s A Great Idea

Like the rest of the country, Massachusetts is looking at tax increases in the coming year. Today’s Attleboro Sun Chronicle reported a suggestion from Representative Dan Winslow.

I am not sure how serious a suggestion this is, but I love it. The Sun Chronicle reports:

Winslow says the solution to the tax talk is simple — make politicians dig into their own pockets first.

 Winslow, R-Norfolk, is proposing a 25 percent tax on leftover campaign money at the end of each election cycle be poured into state coffers.

“There is more than 20 million dollars sitting in war chests after campaign season,” he said. “Why not tap into that?”

Winslow said that if politicians were taxed on their campaign treasuries, $5 million would be subtracted from the additional amount individual taxpayers might be hit with.

“On Beacon Hill, there has been talk from the Democrats that there will be an increase in retail revenue and that we will be charged a penny for mileage along the Mass state highway,” he said.

The reason for potential tax increases is desperation and poor leadership, Winslow said.

What a great idea–tax the politicians first!

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