Bullied Child Goes Home Crying After School Puts Sticker on His Chest About Low Lunch Balance

school-lunch-stickerSchool lunches have been a fairly hot topic lately, and bullying is always a topic that can quickly enrage people.  So when you mix the two, it can really become a volatile situation.

Well, that’s what happened in Stewartville, Minnesota when a child (and several other students) were more or less “branded” with a sticker stating that their school lunch balance had fallen below a certain level.  After all, what could go wrong with an elementary school student walking around for half of the day with a sticker on him publicly displaying a private matter?

If you guessed the kid went home crying because he felt the staff and other students were picking on him, then you would be correct.

But it’s okay, because the school says the student doesn’t have to accept the sticker.

I’m sorry, but that’s no excuse.

If the students don’t have to accept the sticker, then why even have it as an option?  Who in their right mind thought this would be a good idea to start with?

And don’t give me this nonsense that it’s “up to the student.”  The adults at this school should know better than to put a decision such as this in the hands of small children.  

I understand wanting to inform parents that their child’s lunch account is below a certain level, I really do.  But it’s 2014.  You’re telling me with email, texts and cell phones that there’s not a better way to do this?

Here’s an idea: Give the student a sealed piece of paper to give to his or her parents.

Yes, it’s really that simple.

Now, if the school has emailed, called, texted and sent a private letter to the parent’s home about this issue, and nothing had yet to be done, then I could see having to explore other options.  Though I can’t see many parents blatantly ignoring all forms of communication for something that pertains to their child.

And under no circumstances should “branding” the child with a sticker displaying private information be an option – period.

But this isn’t the only pathetic news regarding school lunches from the state of Minnesota.  Many Minnesota schools deny lunches to students who can’t pay for them.  In some schools, students have even had their lunches taken from them and thrown in the trash just because their lunch accounts showed a deficit.

According to the Star Tribune:

“Some school districts send students home with a verbal warning for their parents or a hand stamp visible to all that says “LUNCH” or “MONEY.” Others hand children a bread-and-butter sandwich and carton of milk in lieu of a hot lunch.”

Because nothing screams “let’s single students out!” quite like giving them a bread-and-butter sandwich with milk while other students have access to a regular meal.

While I agree that this falls on the parents to comply with certain rules, and I know not all parents are always responsible, can we at least agree that the public embarrassment of children in front of their peers isn’t acceptable?

According to Legal Aid, which did a poll about Minnesota school lunches, 46 Minnesota school districts said that they immediately or eventually refuse to give students lunches who have insufficient funds in their lunch accounts. More than half the districts in the state, 166 schools in total, provide some form of alternative meal, often something like a cold cheese sandwich, once funds run out. Another 96 school districts provide a normal lunch regardless of whether or not the student has funds in their account.

It’s really hard for me to grasp the fact that as a modern society we’re still having the issue of students in our public schools going without regular meals.  And no, “alternative meals” aren’t acceptable either.  Telling a student, “Sorry, you’re too poor to eat warm food, so we’re going to give you a butter sandwich with milk” is not a decent alternative.

School is difficult enough for a lot of students, especially those who live in poverty at home, so adding more difficulty to it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

And again, while I know in some of these instances the parents are at fault, it’s the students who are the ones being embarrassed at school.

So while I know we can’t agree on much in this country, can we at least all get on the same page in supporting the policy that no matter what, we’re not embarrassing students in school because of something they have absolutely no control over?  This is absolutely ridiculous and it needs to stop.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Linda Lutz

    Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota is asking for funding so that all children in Minnesota have access to school lunches.

    • Sideswiper

      The governor can ask all he wants but if he’s got a GOP legislature it will stop there.

  • markpetersonii

    Kids need to grow up and stop being coddled. When I didn’t have money for school lunches, I didn’t eat. Period. I would rather have had a butter sandwich and milk than nothing. What a bunch of complainers…

    I also had late homework stapled to my shirt by my teacher, because I was always forgetting it. Guess what? I never forgot it again.

    This generation blows.

    • Rebecca Kleitz

      Do the world a favor and drink bleach, will ya?

      I will be sooooo happy when all the old greedy fucks like yourself are DEAD AND GONE.

      • markpetersonii

        LMFAO I’m 26, hardly old. You have plenty more of me to deal with!

      • Arminger

        doubtful you will probably accidentally off yourself within the next decade

      • WebAntOnYouTube

        May you accidentally shoot yourself in the head cleaning your gun.

      • P Cullen

        Then, your ignorance is due to lack of maturity and any real struggles in life!

      • markpetersonii

        Did you even read the first thing that I posted? I went through the same struggles that they are complaining about.

        The fact that you are insinuating that I don’t have the experiences is utterly ridiculous, as you don’t know how I was raised or where I come from.

    • Kevin Daugherty

      YOU blow Mark.

    • Neil

      So, you’re going to punish a kid that has no control over their parents actions or financial situation? Fuck you dude. Letting a kid eat is not coddling.

    • ‘Ibrahim M Shabazz

      yeah, and you turned just great didn’t you? the very picture of humanity. not a trace of contempt or bitterness towards children. well done, asshat.

    • Ian Davis

      For many kids their lunch is the only decent meal they get all day and you want to deny them that too? Feeding children is not coddling them, especially when we are the richest nation on earth and have more than enough resources to do so. Why don’t you grow up and develop some sense of fellow-feeling and empathy for those around you? Or are you too busy watching Faux News and asking yourself why all those black folks are complaining now that they ain’t slaves no more? If you want to live in a non-coddling world, then go to CAR and help them recruit boy soldiers.

      • strayaway

        Why do schools need to have staffs and facilities to process hot meals when nutritionally, milk, fruit and, sandwiches would be adequate? Serving restaurant style meals is expensive and comes out of the educational budget. That money could better be used to hire more teachers.

        What percentage of kids nationally do you think have parents who are unable to or choose not to feed their children?

    • WebAntOnYouTube

      Soulless right winger. Hopefully we will vote your ilk out of office in November.

    • P Cullen

      We are talking about small children!! Feeding a hungry child is not coddling; the human brain doesn’t function well on a starvation diet! Maybe you should try a compassion diet and do some studying in child psychology!

  • Kevin Daugherty

    Whomever is responsible for this policy should be summarily fired. Period.

    • Sherri Lucas-Gibson

      Why fired? Have we grown so intolerant we no longer allow mistakes? What will that teach our youth?

      • CommonSense

        I’m guessing it will teach them to not be idiots and to not make absolutely stupid decisions or there will be consequences. Life doesn’t always give you a second chance like you’re mommy and daddy will. It’s a good lesson to learn lest we raise a generation of children who think they can do no wrong.

      • JamieHaman

        We already have a lot of zero tolerance policies for children. Some actions are automatically considered criminal, and police are called. Sometimes tickets are issued, sometime children go to the police station, sometimes children are restrained with zip ties, or cuffs.
        It doesn’t work. Other children see this, and still the same behaviors occur.
        It does however teach them that they are always going to be failures.Or that the price of stepping out of line is too high. Teaches them to be sheep, or rebels, or afraid. None of these is good.
        Children have poor, and or unreliable judgement. It’s why we don’t allow them to marry, get birth control, buy houses, or a thousand other things without parental consent.

      • Photo Witch

        This is not a child we are talking about. This is an adult, or several adults, who think bullying children because they don’t have enough lunch money is okay. When did this sort of behavior become acceptable? What sort of society have we become when shaming and embarrassing a child become more acceptable than a simple phone call and discreet note to a parent?

      • P Cullen

        It’s only acceptable because there’s a message out there, mostly Right Wing, that people who have nothing, need something, or are poor, don’t deserve anything from us because they’re dregs on society.

      • MidgardMortal

        ….and how “Christian” is that…. most Right Wing, folks?

      • P Cullen

        My point, exactly, but they are the ones who demonize the poor by calling them lazy takers of our society, all while quoting bible verses!! I’m sure there’s a few left wingers in the mix, but it’s mostly the right who wants to cut programs and keeps trying to convince the voters that the poor are responsible for the economic decline in this country. It’s been going on since Reagan and has only gotten worse since the corporations have been calling the shots! It wasn’t my intent to infer that they were Christian, at all!

      • JamieHaman

        lol, No it isn’t a child who put the sticker on his own shirt. I was talking about what zero tolerance teaches our kids. It FAILS to teach Judgement, which is probably one of the most important things we can teach. Also fails to teach nuance. You know, those gray shades between right and wrong.

      • Sideswiper

        It won’t teach them not to be idiots because the kids would never come to know why anybody gets fired due to management/employee personnel privacy policies.

      • republic84

        And if this were your child parading around the school with a giant sign that stated I’m poor. How would you feel? Feel free to reply to this comment with your current checking and savings account info and your credit score. Perhaps some medical records? Since its OK to single people out and clearly publish private information, you shouldn’t mind ..right?

      • MidgardMortal

        Being cruel to a child, in your care, is “a mistake”?

      • amyetkind

        It’s not a “mistake”, it’s POLICY!

      • kmocs

        That was not a mistake, that was evil.

  • Frustratedmom

    There Are some schools now that are getting information wrong and denying children lunch when they don’t owe anything and have a credit balance in their account

  • WebAntOnYouTube

    Only sick right wingers would think this kind of mess is okay. SMH

    • Sherri Lucas-Gibson

      Bad policies are not a right left thing.

      • LindsayCA

        No they’re not, but if you think it’s ok to give them all second chance, maybe we should remove the zero tolerance policy too! Or just implement them on schools adults because adults DO have better judgement!

      • FlSam

        That’s hard to believe, since the majority of people fighting for ALL kids to have access to the same school lunches regardless of whether the kid’s parents have enough money in the account or not are called “socialists” by the right…..

      • Dee

        ALL kids do have access to the same school lunch. If the parent can’t afford to pay, there’s the free lunch program. It’s not the school’s business to give a free ride to every kid with lazy parents.

      • SCVMalcolm

        There is a difference between “lazy” and “poor”. They are NOT synonyms!

      • Ashley Lynn Black

        i hope you realize that even if they apply for the program, they have to be accepted. my mom is a single mother with 3 kids and we werent accepted . she “makes to much” which is bull . she barely makes enough to pay everything on top of school lunches. but she does work her ass off. i can not believe you even used the word lazy . that is such bullshit . people are still having rough times ! they can not help it . my mo works her ass off everyday to provide for us kids . and it is people like you that piss me off beyond belief . ya, im not from a rich family, but i will do anything to defend my mom . you dont even know what is going on in other people’s households, therefor you have no room to state that they are lazy .

      • Ashes

        A kid with lazy parents? What if the parents live paycheck to paycheck and the kid runs out of lunch money on a Tuesday and they don’t get paid until Friday? Is the kid supposed to starve? As someone who as a child dealt with this…and I was given a PB&J Sandwich and milk by staff…which did lead me to get bullied for it. This is bull, kids shouldn’t be held responsible for life issues that are beyond their control.

      • lefty

        That’s the pro life spirit!

      • Cindy

        Dee STFU

  • strayaway

    The humiliation is wrong. I went to a school where parents were expected to pack a lunch. I’ve never really understood why lunch has to be “hot”. I doubt that most children are served hot lunches by their parents when they aren’t in school. Imagine all the money that could be redirected toward educating kids if cafeterias involving food preparation, cooking, and washing dishes were largely eliminated. Why not just have milk, fruit, and sandwiches available?

    • zac

      What’s wrong with soup, mac and cheese, steamed veggies, etc???

      • strayaway

        Sounds good and such food items can be sent to school in small thermos devices. However, I once worked as a janitor in a high school cafeteria and was in charge of an assembly line dish washing machine after lunch. State law still required that only a man could operates such a dishwasher. Four women scraped and stacked incoming dishes. Then everything in the room had to be scrubbed down. Someone had to pay for five people to work for about 1.5 hours just to clean the dishes. The commercial dishwasher in 1967 cost $35,000 and building enough floorspace to house this operation and heating that space even more. Then there is the hidden cost of hiring a bureaucracy to run lunch programs running from Washington to the school. Wouldn’t most tax payers rather have their educational tax dollars spent improving math and reading abilities?

      • LindsayCA

        Yes! But in a lot of areas in California (and I don’t doubt elsewhere in our country) there are some students who live in the poverty line and the district sometimes has grants to receive free lunches because sometimes this is the only healthy lunch the kid will get! Now these I would allow! But what Minnesota is doing is HORRIBLE and SHAMEFUL!

      • strayaway

        California can do what it wants. After all, the 10th Amendment gives states a lot of latitude on legislating whatever powers are not specifically given to the federal government. Today, I heard, that legislation was being proposed in California to expand Medical coverage to illegal aliens California chooses to harbor. So of California has money for that perhaps it also has money to provide to people who have more important things to spend money on than feeding their children given the huge increase in “food stamp” recipients in this Country.

      • LindsayCA

        FYI, I’m a food stamp recipient, I’ve been jobless for two months now and finally got a job, I go to school and the minute I start getting my check I will quit the food stamp program even though chances are I still won’t make enough and will qualify for them. This huge area in which I live in which is Republican dominated is full of poverty! And unless you’ve lived in an agricultural community, I doubt you know the trouble of putting food on the table when the crops aren’t going well due to lack of rain and heat or it freezes! I’ve worked in the fields once, it’s hard, and for all those ours it’s not enough to feed a family if I had to sustain one! If I had children I sure would be grateful for a good healthy lunch! Ironically good food grows here but guess what…. We can’t touch it! And hooray for those immigrants with health insurance, if you were in their shoes (and please don’t say you wouldn’t cross because you would!) and you got sick or suffered a work injury you’d be scrambling to get medical treatment! I work hard for myself and its not enough to get a vehicle even when I worked full time in a restaurant! California is expensive and if it’s hard for me, I can’t imagine others!

      • strayaway

        Move to North Dakota if you want work and the illegal aliens have driven down you pay scale to the point you aren’t motivated to work in California. If 8.1M illegal aliens were removed from the labor force, there would be such a labor shortage that farms would be paying $25/hour to motivate you to work. That’s basic supply/demand. A head of lettuce might cost a quarter more and I’d be glad to pay that. I spent many years on a farm and can tell you a lot of stories. So sorry, but you suggest having a sense of entitlement. Meanwhile, if you want illegal aliens to share your California health funds you can pay for it or at least get whomever is paying for your school to pay for it. The reason California is expensive is that it votes for Democrats and has a caste system with foreign workers at the bottom and the rich, including Nancy Pelosi, making rules to benefit themselves. Move to North Dakota if you want to get out of your rut. Of course, you will be expected to work hard there too. Nothing is perfect.

      • amyetkind

        THAT starts with NUTRITION. If you’re hungry, you can’t concentrate.

      • strayaway

        amy, You are speaking in cliches. I’m all for NUTRITION. Something like milk, fruit, and sandwiches would meet that goal without sacrificing educational dollars. I’m not for squandering educational dollars on expensive restaurant type operations that drain educational coffers of resources better spent on education. I tried to lay some of those expenses out for you in my previous post. Other local government agencies already handle social and child neglect problems. I’m suggesting that schools get out of non-educational businesses and that lunch bills be paid out of different ledgers. For instance, welfare checks could automatically pre-pay a needy child’s school lunch. That, in itself, might have prevented this child from being humiliated although the school shouldn’t have done that anyway.

    • Photo Witch

      Imagine all the children that would go hungry if school cafeterias were “largely eliminated.” There are so many children in this country who would go hungry if they couldn’t eat at school.

      • strayaway

        It’s amazing that the kids you mention don’t starve to death over summer vacation since the school doesn’t feed them for three months.

      • justthebest

        That is actually a pretty big program and they are trying to address it in parts of the country. Many children do go very hungry over the summer. Why do you sound so doubtful of this?

      • strayaway

        Photo Witch commented that, “There are so many children in this country who would go hungry if they couldn’t eat at school.”

        I sound doubtful because I don’t read any reports of children starving to death over the summer. I don’t see photos of emaciated looking kids starting school in September.

        But my initial remark was not about letting anyone starve. I just noted that nutritional food could be provided for kids at a much lower cost. The humiliation was uncalled for sure but I was questioning something larger. There will always be some kids who forgot their lunch, have negligent parents, parents who squander resources on the wrong things, or who come from homeless families who have nothing. Courts can deal with negligent abusive parents as they always have.

        It’s too bad that the parent who can afford to feed their children but don’t aren’t the ones being humiliated instead of their kids.

        King Sei-Jong of Korea ended hunger in his kingdom hundreds of years ago. He signed an edict that if anyone starved to death in Korea, the governor of the state in Korea where the person starved would be put to death as a punishment. Starvation ended. Of course that isn’t allowed in our system of government but there is a lesson in there somewhere.I suspect though that feeding 80% or all of the kids subsidized hot lunches has more to do with larger contracts and less to do with actual hunger.

      • Ally

        I live in a very low-income city, and there’s a summer lunch and breakfast program to address the fact that kids would go hungry otherwise.

      • Betsy

        There are programs in many (if not all?) areas for helping with this – government and private both. Locally I’ve seen drives for child-friendly foods to pack into backpacks and other containers to see to it children can eat during breaks and other things. There are also summer events in some areas that will provide free food to people, and some organizations (usually religious ones) sometimes have week long or longer summer events (like camps) that children can go to for free (either the event is free, or things are done to see to it children who can’t afford to pay can get in anyway). People learn to work around even horrible conditions and take advantage of many things available – that is NOT an excuse to leave them without food during a school day.

        Also, just because you don’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist – do you really trail around to all the lower-income school districts and watch to make sure there are NO children who look like they’ve wasted away over the summer? None that have fallen through the cracks of the programs designed to prevent those relying on school meals from becoming malnourished during breaks? Do you even know how to identify signs of them being malnourished BESIDES becoming unexpectedly thin (the stereotypes don’t really match the reality of what would generally happen in a short-term situation of reduced intake and quality – they show the effects of near no caloric intake, and even often do that poorly).

        All that being said, the idea of the school providing milk, maybe juice, and definitely water along with fruits and sandwiches isn’t necessarily horrible – as long as there is no systemic shaming of those eating it, as long as it’s left as an option for anyone who wants to eat it not assumed to be proof that there’s something wrong with the student (“forgot” or “can’t afford” to bring food, for instance).

      • strayaway

        There are those households where there is, or should be, adequate money to feed the kids but the money is spent frivolously. Where has the law gone with regard to negligent parents? Instead of humiliating their kids, perhaps government should insist on parental responsibility instead of subsidizing irresponsibility and making that the norm. Family courts demand all sorts of performance out of divorced fathers while absentee fathers seem to get off the hook too often. Perhaps welfare checks could have some money designated for school lunches if it is presently being misspent. If necessary, transfer the hidden costs of educational programs paying for school lunches to the welfare department to free up educators. The cost would remain the same but the kids should get better educations.

        There is a huge gap between the occasional bad parent, perhaps an alcholic or psychotic, who fail their kids and government programs that suggest that huge percentages of kids could allegedly not exist without school restaurants serving hot meals. The extravagant cost of the latter eats away at the educational purpose of the school. So, my contention has been that something less fancy like providing milk, fruit, and sandwiches is a middle road freeing up resources for education while providing nutrition for kids from dysfuntional homes and even kids from homes where both parents have to scurry off to work in the morning and would gladly pay for someone to make a sandwich for their kid. The latter group provides cover for the needy; a concern you mentioned.

      • Betsy

        If you read what I said, I actually said I didn’t have a problem with the idea of healthy but not necessarily hot foods like sandwiches. I’m not arguing with the initial point so much as the unfortunately prevalent and definitively incorrect idea that these problems don’t exist here. Children DO go hungry, both from neglectful or abusive parents AND from lack of access. There are children who do experience malnutrition during breaks or rely on different programs (some of which also working through schools) to ensure they have food during breaks.

        Then you go through and start talking about welfare checks as if there’s enough there to cover everything. There’s not. It’s provided as a form of assistance, not the handout people accuse it of being. In fact all the federal programs for the poor combined with a part-time or near-full-time minimum-wage job (which is unfortunately all a lot of people have), without scamming the system (lying about income for instance, or attempting to prevent other assistance from being known) STILL will barely allow people to make ends meet much of the time. Then you have a society (and schools!) that expect people (including children, though usually in higher grades) to have or have access outside of the school to things so many view as “luxury” items when discussing the poor including air conditioning, graphing calculators, computers/tablets, cell phones (even smartphones), internet connections. OF COURSE I agree that not going hungry is more important than these things, but people are sometimes left to choose between having enough food or getting the very supplies needed to succeed in school…and the long-term look will cause some to spend money they really can’t afford to make sure they get what is necessary for the person to stand a chance at success. Most decent parents will sacrifice their own health first (before that of their children, I mean) – go hungry or without care trying to feed the children after spending some of the food or medical budget on supplies – but honestly that’s not any better to allow, it’s just less visible (and invisible in the media, which is only interested in the shock value of children, vets, or severely and obviously disabled people suffering in major ways like starvation, violence, or other issues IF they bring the person to a major emotional response…or the anger they can stir up by showing the off the wall case where someone got something expensive while on assistance, without concern for how they managed it or how abnormal it actually is).

      • strayaway

        I don’t think our opinions are that far apart on what could be fed, both of us oppose the humiliation of this child, both of us are aware that there are situations where there is no money for some kids whether it is the parents’ fault or not.

        Our differences have more to do with who should be funding and overseeing such funding. I want educators to focus on educating. This would require shifting social service and police work away from school administrators and toward agencies more focused on such activities. I want the syphoning of educational dollars to stop. Degrading all of our kids’ educations into second class standards in order to provide extravagant food services for the needy minority should end.

        I questioned the larger picture of hot lunches when everyone was just quibbling about the outrageous humiliation of one child. I see an even larger picture of two parties sending our jobs abroad and importing cheap labor for businesses which can’t send their jobs abroad. It is no wonder that the standard of living in this Country continues to decline and some people have to choose between food and paying the rent. I understand that. I was trying to limit my comments to practical methods of both making sure everyone is fed without damaging education.

  • freethinker666

    Yes but if we feed children,how can we give money to the rich.

    • republic84

      Don’t worry, there’s other innocent people they can still take it from.

  • NC Teacher

    My mother packed our lunch every day. We even had a thermos so we did not even buy milk. If there was.a “free lunch” program I was unaware of it. Back then the teachers even did lunch count of choice a and choice b, so the cafeteria did not make too much. I think the average person would be appalled at how much food gets thrown away daily in a NC school cafeteria!

    I do not agree with putting the sticker on the child, but I can attest to the fact that notices go ignored, especially the ones asking for money. Some parents do not want to complete the federal for asking for free lunch because they don’t want people to know, but then never send any money to school to cover meals.

  • zac

    Minnesota is pretty much just a northern suburb of Eastern Texas anyways…

  • korhal

    FYI, Forward Progressives, you’re getting advertisements for Allen West on your page, to “fight back against Obama’s liberal agenda.” You’ve been infiltrated by Republicans, and likely the Koch brothers.

    • strayaway

      I don’t get any Allen West ads here. Recently, I’ve been getting ads here for ZAGG keyboards for Ipads. That’s because I researched their products online and probably picked up a cookie. That’s probably what happened to you. Clean the cookies out of your computer, look up ZAGG keyboards or some progressive funding site and Allen West will go away.

      • korhal

        I haven’t looked up anything to do with Allen West in several months, so no, it’s not that.

      • Steeler4Life

        if you use google chrome, it doesnt matter how long it has been. Google Chrome saves EVERYTHING you have ever searched, saved, bookmarked, looked at thought of and considered. Google saved it ALL!

    • Gary Smith


  • Sherri Lucas-Gibson

    As a mother of 4 boys… Kids simply do not bring home an envelope. I would be pissed at the bullies… If this kid wants a sticker it should be able to be of anything he wants it to be… Look for a solution not a problem.

    • amyetkind

      The kid didn’t “want” the sticker. Someone, either at the school or the schoold board, is too lazy to do the accounting and send a note or email to the folks whose kids’ balances are low. And since it’s also happening to kids who AREN’T running a lunch money deficit, it’s most likely someone’s just not paying attention to the accounts correctly.

  • thesquire1

    The US Obsession = $$$$$$$

  • S. Phillips

    Texting to parents’ phone makes most sense. Obviously giving a small child a note to deliver isn’t the most sensible/ dependable method. Ask any teacher or parent about how well THAT works on any given day.

  • shopper

    Think my grandchildren attended a school in NYC where so many students qualified for free luncheons that they just gave them to all. Probably could have been cheaper then hiring someone to keep track of it all. ???

  • Who is John Galt?

    You have all lost it. It was a reminder to add money to a lunch account. I need these reminders to add money. I don’t cry – my kids don’t cry – I just pay what has to be paid. We have become a stupid society, and it will be the demise of us all. No problems, blame others – please don’t accept any responsibility. Then again some here probably think everyone needs a trophy. We have winners and losers/ rich and poor. Pull up the britches, wear a helmet, life is tough!

    • FlSam

      Your posting name says it all.

    • P Cullen

      No blame, feed the child that is hungry!! simple, really!

  • republic84

    This is absolutely unacceptable. How are we supposed to stop students from bullying other students when the school officials are doing it? I can’t imagine how embarrassing that must have been. Anyone who agrees with this whatsoever should be forced to wear their bank balance and credit score on their forehead. Let their personal private information just be thrown out there. Every time I read one of these articles I lose a little more faith in humanity.

  • P Cullen

    Here’s a better idea! Let’s feed people, including innocent kids, without asking why they’re hungry or don’t have any money!

    • markpetersonii

      Where is that money going to come from, the money tree?

      • Gary Smith

        Cut Taxes! Trickle Down! Job Creators!

      • kmocs

        I’m happy to send money to them. I came on this site to find an address. Anyone else up for that?

  • Stephanie McNeal

    I live in Cleveland where ALL children have free lunches regardless of familial income. These other states need to get it together… trim the budget somewhere else and make sure the kids are fed.

  • Peter

    Humiliation is one of the worst things you can do to a child, it destroys their self esteem. And if you have any memory of being in school then you certainly know this is going to make others ridicule these kids. Who the hell is running our schools!!!!!!!!

  • Laura

    The kid too dumb to take the sticker off?

    • Raylusk

      No too afraid of getting in trouble. You are heartless.

  • huh

    This is child neglect. In the world of auto debit the parents should be able to provide an auto debit or charge card that will be charged at a set date each month. This is not happening to children of the poor. These are children who do not qualify for free or reduced lunch.

    • amyetkind

      And if, as has been pointed out repeatedly, they’re living paycheck to paycheck? What then?

    • tina rowling

      the line between “qualifying” and “not qualifying” is a very fine one.

  • morsigh

    This happens in our school with library books. My son cries if we can’t find his book, or if he doesn’t remember having returned it. He has even asked to stay home from school. The librarian stamps his hand – a big blue stamp that reads “LATE” in caps. We hate the stamp.

    They stamp the younger kids because notes get lost. I suppose they could email, but that is time consuming and that means $. I’m fairly sure that even a note might start up a tear or two.

    It’s like being handed a bill if you don’t understand money. No doubt that these stickers are overwhelming for the kids.

    I agree with Huh, that an auto-debit would go a long way to help the littles.

  • Teresa Wilson Oswald

    Yuck. Children should not have to pay for their parents’ issues. Either by going hungry or by being humiliated. My grandpa was an uneducated alcoholic when my mom was a little girl and people didn’t want to help her and her siblings when they were without food. A teacher went to bat for them with local charities and pushed the issue to get them something. They had gone without eating for 3 days when their teacher got there with the cavalry.

  • Fiery Pixie Stik

    I live in upstate NY and last year we filled out the form and automatically got approved for free lunch because we had food stamps. This year I filled out the form, just the same. I have my daughter 4 days a week compared to her dad’s 3 and his are all school days. Because I was unaware how long it would take to approve I sent her in with 10 dollars to cover breakfast and lunch for a few days. Her dad had also given her a few dollars in her account to get extra milk if she wanted. I received a note in the mail saying if we didn’t have the paperwork in by October, she’d lose her meals. This had carried over from last year for the first month, which meant they never got the first paper.

    So again I filled out the paper and told her dad to give it right to the lunch lady. Then I got a second letter in the mail. I had to call the free lunch person who asked me to fill out another form and he’d take care of it. I filled it out AGAIN a third time and I got pissed. I brought it directly TO her teacher, who is lovely and made sure it got to the office. She called the person in charge of the free lunch program and they told her my daughter was approved. So then two weeks into October I get the third notice that she not only has no benefits but she owes money for lunch. To that end I also received a notice from the school saying students were borrowing for lunch without their parent’s knowledge or permission and so the had to end the lunch borrowing system.

    And at this point my daughter gets upset and tells me they haven’t been giving her any breakfast, and though she generally prefers the cold lunch of PB&J, that’s all they would give her. I asked her how long it was going on and she said for a couple of days. So now I go the the office in a rage, because at this point I’d filled out the papers 3 times, and the teacher had called and verified that she was going to get free lunch. The office says they never got the paperwork and I said, all three times I sent it in? They called the free lunch person and I had spoke with him and he told me to fill out the paper and take it right to the lunch lady and they would approve it right away.

    She did and took away the balance that was on the account, but I never got back the 12 or so dollars that she had originally that me and my ex had given to her. She deserved that money back because I had spoken to this guy well before October after already sending paperwork in and my consolation was, well now you just don’t owe us money and we starved your daughter in the morning for at least 4 days. Then I got told that when her teacher called she was still on approval from last year it wasn’t pertaining to the current school year. How’s that for terrible. Like I got a letter home and I reacted. I’m sure some of this was irresponsibility on my ex’s part as he doesn’t communicate with me and had lied to me about getting papers from the school, but my daughter had to suffer because everyone except her teacher did nothing for her.

  • top secret

    Responsibility…Lies with the parent (s?). Rich or poor, YOU are RESPONSIBLE for the welfare of your child. Do you even know what the inside of your child’s school LOOKS like? Go to a PTA meeting? Attend parent/teachers day to meet them? Know what is being taught ? Eat at the cafeteria?
    Pass your child off to the public school system, and you’ll get back what YOU but in!

  • top secret

    Responsibility…Lies with the parent (s?). Rich or poor, YOU are RESPONSIBLE for the welfare of your child. Do you even know what the inside of your child’s school LOOKS like? Go to a PTA meeting? Attend parent/teachers day to meet them? Know what is being taught ? Eat at the cafeteria?
    Pass your child off to the public school system, and you’ll get back what YOU but in!

  • Thea Brown

    ….and we wonder where bullying comes from…it is learned from “adults” who implement these shameful, humiliating policies.

  • Thea Brown

    ….and we wonder where bullying comes from…it is learned from “adults” who implement these shameful, humiliating policies.

  • BeachD1

    Damn this shows serious mental defects in the system. What percentage of Federal Food Aid does the State receive ? A school this angry as a profile also indicates too many failures to even list.

  • Sideswiper

    It’s pathetic how the right to lifers will do everything they can to see that kids get born – then not a damn thing for them once they’re born.

  • Dee

    Schools have been doing this for years, however some deadbeat parent is suddenly offended because their failure to buy their kid food was made public now it’s an outrage. It’s not the school’s fault, it’s the parent, pay your lunch bill! Schools can’t afford to be giving every child a free ride because of bad parents. Schools are not meant to be the parent.

    We don’t know how many times or how the parent was contacted. We do not know if the sticker is a last resort to make sure the parent gets the message. And a note home? How many notes home have been lost between the school and home? How many notes home are found at the bottom of the locker on the last day of school?

    The fault is the parent for not paying the bill, not the school for not providing a free ride.

    • Betsy

      Not the fault of the child, either, though. Also this example is BEFORE the account is at 0, the sticker mentioned $8 I think? That’s enough for more than one school lunch here, more than enough for lunch at a fast food place even… How could a “last resort” be made before they’d even gotten to a $0 balance – when I was growing up plenty of middle-class families that took perfectly fine care of their children still occasionally would reach that balance (or close enough not to be able to pay for another lunch at all) before adding more. But even if it WAS a last resort, how about a last resort of sending someone to knock on the door of the parents instead of one putting the situation on the children’s clothing? Seems more efficient anyway – the stickers could be lost too! Stickers fall off easily, after all…

  • Kytachan

    When I was a kid in school I had to eat a bit of peanutbutter on bread and drink water from the fountain for lunch because I didn’t really have a caretaker.

  • SCVMalcolm

    It would have had more clout IF Mr. Allen Clifton identified the school, rather than editorialize. It would have given other fair-minded adults an opportunity to address the airheads at the school of which Mr, Clifton is an alumnus or maybe his kid attends?

  • lunch monitor

    this is a no- brainier….send the parents an invoice which says “must be paid by end of marking period or we won’t (mail, post, notify you of) your child’s grades.”

  • Matthew Reece

    This doesn’t surprise me. Compulsory public schooling is a form of child abuse, and government is the most powerful and dangerous bully there is. Par for the course, really.

  • Ashley Lynn Black

    I go to Stewartville, and it is one of the schools that threaten to take away the meal if you can not afford it.. i do not know if it has happened because i have open campus, but i know they said they would give us a sandwich and milk. I think it is pathetic. When i went to bonner we were forced to get a slip of paper on our tray if our lunch account was at $10 or below . Every kid knew what that slip was, and even then the kids got bullied for it .

    • kmocs

      Ashley Lynn Black, I’d like the address of your school so I can send money for low lunch accounts. This is so terrible that I cannot stand it. Would you put the school address on here for me? Thank you so much.

      • Ashley Lynn Black

        Sorry it took awhile to get back to you.
        Bonner’s address (the elementary school) is 526 5th Ave SE, Stewartville, MN 55976
        and the High School is 400 6th Ave SW, Stewartville, MN 55976

      • kmocs

        Thank you. I’ve written the letter. I appreciate your reply! KM

  • MrLightRail

    I’m not for the stickers, but when did this become a “poor” issue. Parents who are not in the reduced lunch program, have accounts that have to be replenished. Could be a well-off parent that forgets to fund the account. Seems like people are assuming that these kids belong to “poor families”, which they are not.

  • tina rowling

    it’s a crime to be poor here in ‘murica.

  • youmustbejoking

    I in no way condone the actions of anyone to embarrass or humiliate any student as described in this article, however I would check on the accuracy of students being given a “bread and butter” sandwich, since butter isn’t allowed even for rolls that are served as part of a lunch. I believe most schools give either peanut butter/jelly sandwiches or cheese sandwiches to students whose parents haven’t paid. I asked a nutrition manager about how the breakfast & lunch programs work for those children who do not qualify for free or reduced lunches (for those children who do qualify for free and reduced- the government reimburses the school district). Her explanation is simple. It is operated like a business. It has to make money off the food served in order to pay the employees who prepare, serve and clean up the cafeteria and pay for the food. Now I suppose the school districts could go to the taxpayers and request enough money from them to give all the kids their food for free- even when their parents can afford to pay for the lunches. But considering how hard it is for school bonds to get passed to pay for buildings and materials, I would think that taxpayers might balk at having to provide all school lunches for free. The money has to come from somewhere. With some investigation, you may also find that many of the parents of students who they are trying to get lunch money from are repeat offenders- i.e. that each time the account runs low or out, these parents are difficult to get the money from. It is a simple matter for a parent to check on a child’s account with a phone call. The cost of a school lunch is the same every day. A parent should know how many lunches they paid for and can figure out when they need to pay again. When will people hold parents responsible for their child’s lunch instead of placing blame on employees who do not make the rules?

  • doridori

    Republicans seem to be determined to let us all know that they are the party of ROT. It seems they are ALL.. even Minnesota??… are rotten thru and thru. There is NO cure for that and NO help for that. We just have to hope they hurry up and continue to ROT, from the inside out, stewing in their own nasty bile.. so COMPASSION can save our kids’ futures and take this country back from their GREED.

  • mirish25m

    I am by no means a conservative but seriously stop overreacting to everything. I specifically remember having notes pinned to my shirt semi-regularly when I was in elementary school. So a kid came home crying, so what? Kids cry all the time about all sorts of things. You can’t, and shouldn’t, remove everything that makes some children cry (and yes I do have children, I just don’t pander to their every emotion). None of this would be an issue if we still trusted children to bring their lunch money to school each day (again, like I did in the late 80s/early 90s). Not only did I learn that stuff costs money and wasn’t just magically free, I also learned responsibility cause if I lost my money or spent it on something else, well guess what? I didn’t eat a lunch. Kids learn responsibility from a young age. Maybe if we went back to treating children like human beings then they won’t still act like children once they’re adults!

  • Cinnndy

    I am ashamed of the Stewartville School that did this. I lived there many years and if this had happened to my child let me tell you it would never happen to another.

  • jamie

    I’ve been there and seen it with my own eyes. Kansas City Missouri School District, inner city middle school. The breakfast was free but they routinely ran out of food before even half of the students got there, and lunch? Well, if you didn’t have the money to pay the small amount, you were given one slice of buttered bread and a tiny box of milk. And yes, I saw one boy make off with a tray of lunch only to be hunted down by the woman behind the cash register who took the tray and dumped the whole thing into a trash can. Nothing racist about it either,, every single adult and child in that lunch room were black. I was a white female art teacher, and I cried. I’ve since moved out of the US but, sad to say, I’ve found the same mentality is alive and well in the UK. What is the world coming to?

  • cicada69

    what about all the food at the end of the lunch period(s) that gets thrown away?
    (if you’ve not seen -how much food- gets thrown out from schools; it’s substantial)
    it would make as much sense to mandate that all federally & state funded food portions are -required- to be eaten to each student to whom it was served, so as not to waste what the State has paid for. Let the budgeteers ‘police’ the cafeteria and the paying students -prove- an empty plate before being allowed to leave.. .
    IMO: let the community have capacity to contribute to make up the gap so there’s enough; and if there’s food -still- going to waste, let any of these kids pick it up after school & take it home..
    It’s not like the concept of a ‘drive’ for band uniforms, football boosters, etc. is foreign; instead of overpriced wrapping paper & candy bars, the locals could donate spare change in their community & cover this -easily- enough.