Four of the largest school districts in North Texas have practices called ‘shaming’ that occur at lunch when the parent lets the account go into the negative.
So-called shaming happens when a student doesn’t have money in his or her account to pay for a meal and a cafeteria worker takes away their tray of food and throws it in the trash in front of all to see.
Often times the child is left crying. New Mexico just recently outlawed the practice in their schools.
“I think a lot of people would be shocked. They’re just not aware of it,” said Kelvin Holt, 54, a teacher in Copperas Cove. He is doing something about it! He is making BIG noise all over Texas!
Heolt spent more than 32 years in the U.S. Army as a medic, mechanic and a helicopter pilot. After retiring a few years ago, he became a teacher in Central Texas and witnessed such shaming happen with a 4-year-old girl in a Pre-K class he taught.
“She got to the cashier, they scanned her PIN and the cashier said this to the 4-year-old: ‘You have no money.’ [The cashier] reached down, picked up her tray, took the milk off the tray, dumped the food, and sent the child away crying. My jaw dropped. I felt like I was just kicked in the gut,” explained Holt.
“This is breakfast now, so her last meal might have been 12 or 13 hours ago. And who knows what that meal consisted of. Insult to injury is the fact that they dump the food in the presence of the child. The message that sends to a child is ‘I care about my bottom line. I don’t care about you or your feelings or your hunger.'”
Another tactic to get the parent to pay is to stamp the hand of the child as a reminder, leaving the child with a ‘Scarlet Letter’ on their hand for all to see. OUTRAGEOUS!
State Rep. Helen Giddings, (D-DeSoto) says it as clear as it gets:
“This is a problem adults need to handle. Not children. We don’t want children to be hungry and go without food during the day,”
She introduced House Bill 2159. It amends the law to require all school districts to have a two-week grace period. Holt applauds the legislation, but said the grace period should be two months.
“Two weeks is too short of time frame, but two weeks is not quite long enough to respond to a medical emergency, a loss of a job, a cut in a paycheck, a reduction in hours, those life events that happen. We need to be flexible. Children do not need to be punished,” he explained.
“If it doesn’t happen with this legislature, I’ll be back in 2019. I’ll be back in ’21. Whatever it takes because treating kids this way is wrong. It’s bullying. And right now, it’s state-sponsored bullying because the laws allow it in Texas,” said Holt.
Our public schools have been invaded by morons. It takes a MORON to think that shaming a child for ANYTHING is a good idea. AMAZING that schools handled the situation correctly for decades. How did they ever do it?
My youngest niece came home in tears one day because Terry Elementary School in Mesquite stamps their hand when the account is out of money. INSANITY! All her friends knew her account had gone into the negative. This is madness!
The finances of the parent has NOTHING to do with the student and they should never even be involved, either by a stamp or shaming.
This is NOT the child’s issue. They are not paying, nor are they responsible. The parent is responsible for paying for their lunch. The parent is responsible for the bill.
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