I'd just put my kid on the bus this morning when I saw the bag on the counter. Inside was the project she was supposed to take to school for music class. I'd forgotten to grab it on our way out the door. That happens, doesn't it? Moms forget. Mistakes happen. So should a school force a kid to go hungry all day because of one little mistake?
That's what happened to a teenager in Texas recently. Her lunch account was 70 cents short of the money to cover her meal, so the school made her throw the food out. The 14-year-old was told she had to go hungry all day.
Over 70 cents.
Imagine trying to concentrate on your schoolwork while your stomach is rumbling. Trying to take a pop quiz? Having to answer your teachers' questions while your belly is screaming, "Feed me."
And all because little kids are allowed to charge lunch, but high schoolers are not.
Now before you get all up in arms about how kids should be a little more responsible these days, let me fill you in on how this girl's lunch account came up short.
Like many schools, Stevens High runs its lunch program digitally. Kids don't bring cash; parents put money into an account. This girl's mom had her checking account set to automatically replenish the account when it emptied, but a bank snafu delayed the money. This kid was forced to spend a day with an empty stomach because of a bank mistake.
And to add insult to injury, she knew that food was sitting in a trash bag because she'd "touched it."
Can it get any more ridiculous?
Is this really how we should be treating teenagers? Punishing them for little mistakes by withholding food?
They're older than their elementary school counterparts, supposedly wiser and more responsible too, but they're still kids. They're still growing. And the last time I checked, hunger is not something to take lightly, least of all with kids.
Banning high schoolers from the occasional charged lunch is a good way to teach kids that they're going to be miserable without food, and not much else.
Do you think it's acceptable for high schoolers to go without lunch? What should be done with these kids?
Image via anotherlunch.com/Flickr