The school board of a suburb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin has decided that opting out of a federally-funded free lunch program is the best way to “normalize” the business of getting back to school amid the ongoing covid-19 crisis. In a bleak way, that’s absolutely correct, since there’s nothing more normal in America than not giving a shit about vulnerable populations and teaching children that people without any money shouldn’t be allowed to eat.
The program, called the Seamless Summer Option, feeds all children in U.S. public schools free lunches through June 30, 2022, as America faces mass housing and unemployment problems amid the pandemic, which possibly makes many children’s access to regular meals a challenge. However, Waukesha County has decided to be the only district in the state to go back to the National School Lunch Program, which provides free and reduced lunch to children whose families meet a whole list of criteria and fill out a bunch of forms. What’s more, it’s possible that the school district will actually lose money by telling a portion of children that they’re too rich to eat. Per The Washington Post:
“Forgoing the Seamless Summer Option, [Alan Shannon, a spokesman for the Food and Nutrition Service told the Post via email], could mean a loss of revenue for the Waukesha School District. The reimbursement for schools operating under the universal meal program is $4.32, he said, and the National School Lunch Program’s is $3.90 for free meals and $3.59 for reduced-price meals.”
So why does the school board want to possibly operate at a loss in order to not give kids food? They simply don’t want the kids to become too dependent on food, which, as everyone knows is a gateway drug to both being able to focus and, of course, continuing to live. According to some board members, sparing the food will help avoid spoiling the families:
“Karin Rajnicek, a board member, said the free program made it easy for families to “become spoiled.” Darren Clark, assistant superintendent for business services, said there could be a “slow addiction” to the service.”
According to the Post, 36 percent of Waukesha’s students qualified for free or reduced lunch in 2018-19. The language around the idea of “spoiling families” is awfully telling about who is entitled to learn without the burden of being hungry: Those whose families can afford it.