Warwick, RI gives students with unpaid lunch debt cold sandwiches

Out of Warwick, RI, the school district has found a way to handle their school lunch program debt issue among students. If a student attending one of their public schools has an outstanding lunch debt, the school will serve them a cold sun butter and jelly sandwich instead of a hot meal. People are calling this solution, "lunch shaming". Is it? Is there really a problem with sun butter and jelly sandwiches? Some students bring that to lunch anyway because it's a tasty sandwich. The problem lies with the sandwich being linked to unpaid debt, not the sandwich in itself. When another student sees a kid with a sun butter and jelly sandwich, they will know they are in debt or their family is struggling, thus "lunch shaming".

 

Another issue boiling here is that a local business owner is upset at the Warwick School District because she took it upon herself to raise money to pay off the student's debts and the district turned down her offer. Why did the school district turn down the offer? They put out a statement declaring: "The school department was not in the position to single out or identify specific students that should be selected for a reduction in their lunch debt while excluding others." The business owner stated that she wanted to make a large sum donation and leave it up to the school department to decide which students in need receive those funds but apparently the school district is staying strong on the notion that they cannot choose which students to receive funds as their mission is to treat all students equally.

 

-Producer Lightning

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