School Lunch Should be Free in Louisiana – Here’s Why [Opinion]
Last week, California became the largest state that banned giving kids with an outstanding balance on their lunch account a separate meal. The 31st state now joins New Mexico, Iowa, and Oregon as the only 4 in the nation to make it illegal to shame kids by giving them a meal that singles them out in the cafeteria. In too many schools, kids who can't pay will receive a "cold" lunch instead of a "hot" one.
I can't believe I'm saying (typing) this, but California is absolutely right! Not only should Louisiana adopt this policy, but the entire United States should make it a law that no public school kid will be treated less than any other student when it comes to lunch time.
There are those that disagree, and say that it isn't every taxpayers responsibility to buy lunch for every kid in America. Others stomp their feet and cry, "I don't have kids, why should my tax dollars pay for this?" While valid points, Here me out: We pay for every meal an inmate eats, are they more important than our children? During boot camp, we feed every entry level member of the military every meal - but as far as I know, we don't bill them for it. They certainly deserve it, don't our kids?
Not only will banning lunch shaming in Louisiana curb bullying when it stops pointing out kids who come from struggling families, it will bring up grades. Can you imagine how hard it is to learn with an empty stomach? The sad reality is: For some of these kids, sometimes breakfast and lunch at school is the only food they're getting.
According to Marketwatch, the tipping point for legislators came in the form of Ryan Kyote. This 9-year-old Napa third grader had enough of his classmates feeling ashamed and hungry, so he donated his life savings ($74.80) to pay off lunch debts at his elementary school.
I realize I sound like a big fan of big taxes, but I'm not. I hate wasteful government spending, but in my humble opinion - this is worth it.