Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poor Kids Don't Deserve Breakfast

It came as an email with the subject line:  "Fwd: Free Lunch."  It came from a friend, so I opened it.  It turned out to be one of those email diatribes that gets forwarded all over creation, an attempt to discredit the President, to persuade sensible people that radical Republicanism is the best way.  Once I saw what it was, I probably shouldn't have read it, but I did.  It was supposedly originally written by an English teacher somewhere in California; that, I suppose, was to give it credibility, though no name or other credentials were provided.

Once I read it, I felt compelled to write back to my friend..  I told her that I had some serious issues with the content of the email that she had sent me, and was going to address just two of them:


"The first one is that I am very surprised that this "English teacher" wouldn't know that many people living in poverty are obese.  They simply can't afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and decent lean protein sources.  They fill up on what they can afford.  It is my opinion that a decent breakfast -- 
'one that would make the Marriott proud' -- SHOULD be provided for students whose families can't afford to feed them well.  Children can't learn if they are hungry.  It is difficult for me to believe that every child who receives a decent free breakfast takes the tray of food and throws it out.  And I wonder why the teacher witnessing the ones who do take a lot of food and throw it out doesn't see this as a teachable moment and speak one-on-one to a child about what he sees happening?

"The second one is that I really believe that a school-age child has a right to a public education.  The school that provides child care for babies of school-age children is helping the young mother to obtain a high school diploma, the absolute minimum that a person needs to get anywhere in this country.  I, for one, would rather see my tax dollars go to provide this child care as opposed to providing ongoing welfare for someone whose circumstances kept her from getting through high school.  If my daughter had become pregnant at age thirteen, I would have quit my job to help her raise her child and finish her education.  Many, many families don't have this option.  Poor people will always be poor if they remain uneducated."

I closed by asking my friend to refrain from sending similar emails to me.  

Call me a bleeding-heart liberal if you like.  Or call me a COW*, which I readily own up to.  But I tell you this:  In my opinion, the day this country stops feeding and educating its children is the day our real decline begins.





*COW = Cranky Old Woman

22 comments:

Suzan said...

Amen and amen!!

Anonymous said...

Rightg on, sistah!!!!! As a school nurse, I see many of these issues every day.
Kathy B
Yolo CA

Anya said...

Like Suzan said...Amen!

Greta said...

well said. We are all connected!

BlueRidge Boomer said...

Amen, Sister...!!!
After 25 years with a school system, I also, have seen all these issues....
Enjoy

Nancy said...

You are absolutely right!!! I get so tired of people attacking public education. They are so short-sighted. It is public education for the public good. What can be wrong with them?
I taught in public school for 35 years and it makes me so sad to see what is happening today.
A big atta girl to you!

LizA. said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

Right on, Nancy. As always, you are on the right (correct) side of this issue.
Sue

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

That's nuts.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Education and feeding our next generation are a priority. Our school system provides not only free (or subsidized) breakfast but also lunchs and no one knows who those kids are. My women's group at church (of which I am chairman) also provides health items for the high schools in our district (10). The liaison tells us every two months what is needed and we purchase it. Last time it included breath mints, gum, & granola bars. Mostly it is femine products, razors, toothpaste, etc. and none of these kids are obese!! Your CA cuz

woolywoman said...

Amen! I think we will be judged on how we treat the most vulnerable of society- children included. Boggles my mind that the same people who don't seem to like info on birth control also don't want to feed the hungry children. Also, my sympathies on getting such an email from someone you thought was a friend. I suspect you will never feel the same about her.

Liz said...

what you said and then some !! Such an eloquent reply to what I can imagine was drivel....I shall have to remember your self control the next time a "friend" sends me something similar

Marj said...

Also why is it that when Politicians need to balance the budget they always start by cutting funds for schools and medicare? It just bugs the heck out of me.
I guess I am also a COW.....

quiltmom said...

Nancy,
I work in a school where many of my kids do not have the things that they need because of their families situations. We are fortunate to have a hot lunch program and snack program that help us teach kids about things that are nutritious and still tasty to eat.
I know when I don't eat- I can't think - why would I expect my students to be able to function without the necessities of life?
Thank you for standing up for the ones that can not stand up for themselves.
Regards,
Anna

pcflamingo said...

Yay! Standing ovation! The crowd goes wild! You are right; the email was mean-spirited, un-Christlike and WRONG.

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in Canada. In our province, we have a school breakfast program. Any student (rich or poor) can walk in any morning before school and have breakfast in the school that is provided by volunteers. It can consist of anything from bagel/toast/juice/fruit to pancakes/french toast, depending on the school or the day of the week.

Sue said...

Nancy
Thanks for your thought provoking comments, they apply world wide, down under here in Oz there a growing debate about private schools getting more government funding that public schools. Our 4 went to public schools our eldest son now teaches in a Catholic High School and our eldest daughter is thinking of sending our 3 year old grand daughter to prep at an Anglican school because it is cheaper than a child care.
Here there are breakfast clubs where various organisations (mostly church or parachurch) go into local public schools and do breakfast for the kids, most are latchkey kids whose parents are working and leaving early, home late, and the kids have to get themselves to school usually with an older sibling supervising.

Ms. Jan said...

You go girl!

Cathi said...

Whatever.....A whole lot of middle to upper class kids are fat too because they sit on their fat asses & play video games & munch on fattening snacks. How about putting recess back in school? Get these fat kids exercising.

Nanci said...

Great post and I totally agree but then I'm another one of those bleeding heart Democrats that grew tired of the Republican party antics and moved left. It's a shame none of them seem to have any empathy on what it's like to be poor and broke and still live in a world with $4/gallon and have to feed their childen.

Yuki said...

Good for you for speaking out!

ttfn :) Yuki

Ray said...

I am late in reading this - but - Tell it like it is, Sister!!! Oh, how I wish that "people" learned the tiniest bit of sociology in school.