No Free Lunch

Hand stamps for the poor kids:

In an interview published by The Daily Camera on Monday, Roni revealed for the first time that her disagreement with the school was over a practice of stamping children’s hands if they did not have enough money in their account to pay for lunch or even if they were eligible for free lunches.

“As soon as I saw it happening, I was like, ‘No, this is not OK,'” Roni said. “The students felt so humiliated, like they had done something wrong. They didn’t want to go into the lunchroom any more. It’s unethical and disrespectful.”

A memo from Roni’s lawyer explained that Roni had asked cafeteria workers to stop stamping the hands of children who couldn’t afford lunch once she discovered the practice. After cafeteria workers continued stamping children’s hands, Roni met with the food services manager and other school leaders.

According to the memo, everyone agreed that the stamping practice should stop and the food services manager resigned. But only three weeks later, Roni was contacted by a grantparent, Evelyn Bernstein, who was upset that her grandchildren were getting their hand stamped, even though they qualified for free lunches.

I have a question.

Can we stamp the outsides of buildings in TIF districts?

Can we stamp the hands of CEOs whose companies received taxpayer-subsidized bailouts?

Can we hang banners on every Target, Jewel, or CVS lured to a community with the promise of relief from property taxes?




Can we make sure that everyone sees how they operate, how they don’t work, how they milk the system, how they’re lazy, how they don’t deserve our help? Can we mark them somehow, so that the other businesses, the other business owners, can laugh at them and point?

Or get righteously angry, because where is their bailout, their TIF district, their waiver, their subsidy? And call the benefits recipients out in meetings, on comment boards, in petty gossip over the diner counter every day?

Can we do that?

Because if we can’t, if we won’t, if we think that’s just mean, if we think that’s unfair, we have no earthly goddamn fucking business marking the hands of poor children to … what, convince them to be less poor? Get them to make their parents wealthy by, I don’t know, magic? I know, to make them STARVE, because kids are serious, and proud, and you hang a sign on them that says that you are less than, well, they’d rather skip what might be the only hot meal of their entire day than walk past their peers wearing their shame on their skin.

How dare we. How dare anyone.

When we would never do that to the Wal-Mart, down the street from this Lafayette, Colo. school:

The city will reimburse Wal-Mart $1.6 million for up-front land acquisition costs and about $500,000 for storm water retention improvements with sales tax increment financing payments over approximately three and a half years. The Supercenter is replacing a Wal-Mart discount store that currently accounts for one-fifth of all retail sales in the city. Lafayette offered even more incentives to Wal-Mart to rehab the site of the discount store, but Wal-Mart refused.

We won’t put a sign up in the grass in front of this store, that says TOOK GOVERNMENT MONEY. But we will ask seven- and eight-year-olds to be publicly identified by their own powerlessness, to carry the weight of needing something their families couldn’t provide, of needing to show that to everyone every day.

Via dan.


5 thoughts on “No Free Lunch

  1. It’s a charter school! The entire school is dependent on public money. They want to be independent, but can’t or won’t afford do it on their own dime–the whole school school get a giant stamp on it. But no. Charter schools are courageous fighters, bucking the failed public school system (but with public school funding, not their own money). They’re the education equivalent of the angry tea-partier riding around on their tax payer funded rascal yelling about keeping the government away from their medicare.

  2. What’s weird is that the food manager resigned over this. I get that he’s probably an asshole, but I don’t think even an asshole would choose this as his hill to die on. The stamping issue aside, it sounds like this was some kind of power struggle between the academic and the business sides of the charter school.
    There’s our brave new world of education at all levels: business comes before learning.

  3. No, CEO’s shouldn’t get a handstamp.
    They should get a TATTOO on the FOREHEAD.
    With a tattoo pen for most, but a BRANDING IRON for corrupt banksters.

  4. .It seems conservatives demand that people pull themselves up by their bootstraps.Then they steal the bootstraps and blame the victims.

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