Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Parents Behaving Badly

You guys already know I've got a bug up my butt about personal responsibility. This week's story really takes the cake.

Or should I say cheese sandwich?

The Chula Vista school district is the largest elementary school district in California and serves about 18,000 meals a day.

In 2004, the district had a parental lunch debt on the books to the tune of $300,000. They had to find a way to control the rising costs before it started to effect their budgets on equipment and books, because deadbeat parents had no incentive to pay.

Enter the cheese sandwich. The district decided that the children whose parents owed a lunch debt would get only one choice at lunch.


If you guessed it wasn't pizza or burgers, you'd be correct. It was cheese on whole wheat.

And it worked. In 2006, the lunch debt was decreased to $67,000.

But the deadbeat parents are angry about the "sandwich of shame". One girl cried when she couldn't have macaroni and cheese. Another hid in the bathroom to avoid getting one. A boy was upset when a cafeteria worker took away his pizza and told him to pick a sandwich instead.

“The kid was humiliated,” said his father.

Well whose fault is that, ya bonehead? The school district's? Seriously?

Other districts across the nation have implemented similar measures. One district in North Carolina used peanut butter and jelly as their alternative meal, but that didn't seem to work very well. PB & J is usually the meal of choice in that age group. ;-)

24 comments:

Mamma said...

Heh. They should have made it brussel sprouts.

Trish said...

A cheese sandwich on whole wheat sounds like a perfectly good lunch to me.

Bonehead parents LOL

Beth said...

I feel sorry for the kids for having to suffer for their parent's failings. And it is the parent's fault - not the school district's.

No way PB & J could be served here. Peanut butter is banned from schools due to allergies.

Pete said...

you can't expect anyone to actually take responsibility for anything!!

Manda said...

At our school is bland tasting ham sandwiches, and the kids hate them! And the school doesn't let you go into debt with them first before serving them to your child. If they don't have the money for that day, then that is what they get for lunch. I think it's a good rule. Of course, I always make sure my kids have enough lunch money. Some parents can just be stupid, ya know?

golfwidow said...

My mom used to make me cheese sandwiches for lunch because I liked them. Maybe if those kids brought sandwiches from home, they wouldn't have to do the Lunch of Shame OR run up a tab.

Or are kids not allowed to bring food from home anymore? (I've been out of school for a long time and I have no children; bear with me for asking such a dopey question.)

Brenda said...

Beings that the delta here is one of the poorest rural districts in the state (probably ranks right up there in the US too), and I'd guess that a strong 80% of the students here are on free or reduced lunches, that wouldn't go over very well here with the paying parents. Discrimination is a strong word down here. We have the option of buying advance vouchers and then they give you plenty of notice of when they're running low. I usually just try to calculate how many school days are in a semester and write a check for that amount cause I'd so forget it if I had to give him money daily. The kids shouldn't have to suffer for their dense parents.

Myron said...

“The kid was humiliated,” said his father.

Well, maybe the poor kid will learn a lesson about paying your debts. And he can thank his asswipe father for that.

Blogarita said...

We didn't have entree choices when I was in school. We ate what we were served, and sometimes it WAS a cheese sandwich. It was a perfectly acceptable lunch back then.

We also had to pay on Monday for the entire week's lunches. If you didn't pay, you didn't eat; simple as that.

But I suppose there are some slacker parents out there who would let their kids go hungry rather than make sure the money was there.

Amy said...

We don't have lunch programs. You provide for your children. End of story.

Big Pissy said...

I am SO tired of people not taking responsibility....one of the major reasons I left the District Attorney's Office.

I got tired of dealing with deadbeats.

carmachu said...

Hey, parents, pay the freaking money. Its that simple....

Oh and if you want to see one ultimate consequence of parents behaving badly...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yg4w320mlko

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I agree with everyone...

Pete... Big Pissy... Carmachu...

Annie Drogynous said...

I'm big on parental responsibility as well. Part of a child's learning experience is educating them in the cafeteria, social skills, behavior, etc.. If they have an unpleasant time, it affects them. And then those parents at fault are always looking to blame someone else.

Kim Ayres said...

I bet there are going to be serious implications for the cheese industry in a few years. All these kids are going to grow up associating cheese sandwiches with a visual sign of poverty and humiliation and will never touch the stuff again.

Although personally I reckon Broccoli should have been the alternative

Em said...

I'm all for parental responsibility. But in this case, the parents should pay..but when they don't, the kid got punished. That's not right. Why embarrass a kid when the kid did nothing wrong? Print the list of deadbeat parents in the local newspaper instead. Let the shame fall on the right person.

Heather said...

While I have to agree with Em, at the same token, the one thing that got the debt to go down--Was the school "punishing" their children--Parents always want to defend their child, and this seemed to work.
Good for the school!

Miss Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
Living in the “land of fruits and nuts” I wouldn’t have expected anything different than this ridiculous scenario out of Chula Vista. California is probably one of the wealthiest states in the Country but our public school system has been in a deplorable shambles for years. A lot of people had hopes that “The Govenor-ator” would be able to turn things around but so far he’s faced stalemates and opposition at every turn. And it’s the children who suffer from the adults’ stupidity.

Thanks for this informative post….

Samantha said...

That's a pretty smart idea, I like it. It's a shame that the kids have to eat the sanwich of shame though

Eileen said...

Our school does this, with P&J and I hate it. It punishes the kids, and most of the times the parents don't really seem to care. It is the kid who gets humiliated in line, starts crying when the main entree is taken out of their hands. I have spent so much of my own money just paying for their lunch!! At the end of the school year our PTA paid off the debt for our school alone, so all kids could enjoy the rest of the years lunches. WOW, that sounds funny, "enjoy the school lunches", I guess everything is relative. LOL I work in an innercity school. What also frustrates me if the parents would just fill out the free lunch application, it could be avoided!

Deb said...

The sandwhich of shame??? What if you really like cheese sandwhiches??

phlegmfatale said...

Wow - that cheese sandwich tactic was pure genius. I'm amazed the aclu hasn't filed suit.

Catmoves said...

I guess I go further back than ya'll. I (and my friends) were either given lunch money daily or mom fixed a yummy lunch for us to carry. What the heck goes on that it can't be done today?
For misslitzi: Personal belief here. I think your governator is doing a lot (big, big lot) better than our governator here in N.M. And besides, he's got Terry Tamminen teaching him.

tAnYeTTa said...

everytime i hear about that city, i think of the song: chula vista got crazy game! LOL

p.s. great blog!!!!!!