The Anoka-Hennepin School District has a plan designed to ensure that all students, regardless of ability to pay, do not miss a school lunch.
The district has hired a collection agency to deal with up to 370 families with lunch accounts in arrears. That sounds reasonable. However, the district will also prohibit children of families owing $50 or more from attending some extra curricular activities. That is not reasonable.
Children should not be subjected to this sort penalty. They have no control over their parents’ decisions — or maybe more consequentially — their parents ability to pay.
School is difficult enough for most children. For many just fitting in is a distracting challenge. Singling out children for the errors or status of their parents is wrong-headed. It shames the child when the child has no control.
I would hope the school district would both responsibly and respectfully pursue collections of overdue payments, but if they target children as part of the collection process I am not so sure we can trust that this will be the case.
In a better world, taxpayers would support free lunches for all as part of the school program and be done with it. Maybe some day…