Free Lunch

This is a topic that irritates more teachers than anything. Free Lunch. It irritates me anyway. Over half the kids in my class are on free lunch. And the parents feel like they are entitled to it. They get angry when they have to pay for lunch or pack a lunch for their kids. WTH? Isn't that the job of a parent - to take care of their kids?

At the end of September, the grace period for the free lunch applications from last year expired. Parents were called several times and told to submit a new application for free lunch if they wanted it for this year. And the message said they would have to pay or send in lunch after 9/27. And guess what? Parents didn't bother to do that. And they had to pay. Or their child had to eat salad bar for a few days. And then they come crying to me!

Honestly, I think the lunch program is crap. Yes, there are those parents who need it and really work for it. But then there are those who use it as a crutch. They think that it's the answer to all their welfare loving prayers. This is how a conversation went last week with a parent who didn't bother to turn in an application since she didn't think she had to.

Parent: So, I turned the application in today. When do they get free lunch.

Me: They said it takes about 3 weeks to process. (OK, they told me 2, but I will say 3 to be on the safe side!)

Parent: I turned an application in when daughter #1 was in Kinder. Why did I have to do it again?

Me: You have to di it every year.

Parent: But I didn't last year. The school said I didn't have to do it.

Me: It was a different school, so I don't know why they did that. But here you have to do it yearly.

Parent: So what am I supposed to do in the mean time? I can't pay for lunch every day. I lost my job (she was a pet groomer - self-employed. How do you lose your job?????) and my husband is only getting $1100 a month from disability and we can't pay for lunch every day. (Mind you, she has a top of the line cell phone and her nails are done! I have crappy real nails and a crappy cell phone!). What am I supposed to do, let them starve?

Me: Well, go to Wal-Mart, buy a jar of peanut butter, buy some jelly and some bread and there you go.

Parent: But then I have to make it everyday? That's a lot of work.

Me: Well, it seems like the only choice you have, huh?

BINGO! I think I found the problem! Parents would have to work.

I laugh (so I don't cry!) when the parents who are "poor" and on free lunch drive better cars than I do, have their kids in designer clothes, and have the time to get their hair and nails done at least once a month, if not more. If you can afford it, great. That's not where I will spend my money, but yay for you! But, if you can afford all that, you can afford to pay the $2 a day for your child to eat lunch. Or you can buy the food to pack them a lunch. If you are dirt poor, work your ass off and still need help, I am all for it, but otherwise, stop taking "my" money to pay for your kids lunch and work like the rest of us!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree! 100% of my class is on free lunch this year and our school participates in a sack suppers program because we do have SO MANY poor families with working parents that aren't always home to provide the best meals. A lot of these children really need those suppers or they wouldn't eat and their parents are involved, working their asses off and just trying to make a good life for their kids. I have a TON of respect for them.

    But I'm with you. I can't stand the parents who buy their clothes at the mall (ie outrageous prices), have perfect hair and nails and drive these expensive cars (both my cars are 2001 and paid for!) and then complain when their child doesn't get free this-that-or-the-other. It is crazy. One year at my old school we sponsored a family at the holidays and one family had the gall to be OFFENDED that they weren't chosen for the SECOND year in a row. Entitlement drives me crazy.