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Don't Have Your Lunch Money? 1 Pennsylvania School District Threatens Foster Care

Discussion in 'News - Breaking News & Political Forum' started by Leeda.the.Paladin, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Leeda.the.Paladin

    Leeda.the.Paladin Well-Known Member

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    Heard on Morning Edition
    [​IMG]
    BOBBY ALLYN


    [​IMG]





    Dozens of families in Pennsylvania received an alarming letter from their public school district this month informing parents that if their kid's lunch debt was not settled, their child could be removed from their home and placed in the foster care.

    Wyoming Valley West School District, one of the poorest districts in the state as measured by per-pupil spending, is located in a former coal mining community in Northeastern Pennsylvania, known affectionately by locals as "the valley."

    When officials there noticed that families owed the district around $22,000 in breakfast and lunch debt, they tried to get their money back.

    "By mail, email, robo calls, personal calls and letters," said Joseph Mazur, the president of the district's board of education.

    But, Mazur said, nothing worked.

    That's when district officials sent out the now-infamous letter to about 40 families deemed to be the worst offenders in having overdue cafeteria bills — those were children with a meal debt of $10 or more.

    "Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without a breakfast and/or lunch," said the letter signed by Joseph Muth, director of federal programs for the Wyoming Valley West School District. "This is a failure to provide your child with proper nutrition and you can be sent to Dependency Court for neglecting your child's right to food. If you are taken to Dependency court, the result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care."

    said.

    Mazur said future letters dangling the possibility of parents losing custody of their children will not be sent out to households.

    Since the poverty level among students has risen in the district recently, new federal nutrition assistance is expected district-wide to cover meals for all students, regardless of their family's economic means.

    Mazur said that new support should stay in place for the next five years, and he is hoping the letter controversy will soon be put to rest.

    "I think this whole thing has just been blown out of proportion," Mazur said.
     
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  2. Kanky

    Kanky Well-Known Member

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    :lachen: @ “the whole thing has been blown out of proportion.” That man needs to resign or be fired.
     
  3. gn1g

    gn1g Well-Known Member

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    ridicoulous,

    it's $22,000 someone needs a blessing, c'mon celebrities/churches/commoners pay for these kids lunches.
     
  4. Crackers Phinn

    Crackers Phinn Either A Blessing Or A Lesson.

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    The guy who runs the state department in charge of foster care system issued a statement asking the school system to cease and desist using his agency to threaten parents. He said his agency ain't taking kids over lunch money.
     
  5. HappilyLiberal

    HappilyLiberal Well-Known Member

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    Sanity, nyeredzi, sunnieb and 10 others like this.
  6. Brwnbeauti

    Brwnbeauti Well-Known Member

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    I was coming to post this ^
     
  7. Everything Zen

    Everything Zen Well-Known Member

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    Refusing someone else's money so the kids could end up in foster care? Someone, please insert the correct emoji bc I ....:abducted:
     
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  8. Theresamonet

    Theresamonet Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with this letter and method, but these parents need to pay for their kids to eat or sign up for the free lunch program, if they can’t afford it.

    I can understand how accepting this donation will encourage these parents to continue to not pay for their kids. It’s partly about the money, and partly about the parents taking responsibility for their kids. You can’t pay or make arrangements for your child’s meals??
     
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  9. Everything Zen

    Everything Zen Well-Known Member

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    ^^^^ It should have been done by assessing the needs on a case by case basis. At the end of the day, if there are children that should be placed in foster care- then other signs of neglect would likely be present. They could have taken the money from the CEO and used it to help those who will need support covering lunch on a long-term basis, etc. and maybe reached out to those parents with additional community resources as warranted. This problem can be addressed in so many different and creative ways- the ham-handed nature that it came to this point is astonishing. I’m not surprised though- it sounds like it came from a place of frustration. :ohwell:
     
  10. Kanky

    Kanky Well-Known Member

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    There are income limits on free lunch programs just like everything else. It is possible that they make too much money for free lunch but not enough money to actually keep up with the lunch bill.
     
  11. Ms. Tarabotti

    Ms. Tarabotti Well-Known Member

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    Do we know how much the breakfast/lunch costs in relation to how much the parents earn in this district, one of the poorest in the state? People might be struggling to pay household bills and might be thinking that 'at least my child will be able to eat twice a day while I try to juggle some bills to find a way to pay for it'. And there is still a stigma against getting free lunch even if you qualify and really do need it. To some, if you can afford to pay (or be seen paying) for foo,d then you are not really 'poor'.

    Here in NYC, they are offering free breakfast/lunch to children 18 and under from the end of June to the end of August at various locations ( schools, pools, parks, etc) and at 3 mobile food trucks. This will allow children to continue to have at least one or two meals a day the they would otherwise miss out on since school is not in session. There are areas in this country where the only meal a day the children will get to eat is at school. This district should have tried much harder to find out why the accounts have not been paid and not make empty threats.

    Not to go to far off topic, but some colleges (including Ivy League Columbia University) now have food pantries to try and help their lower income students. That this would be needed never occurred to me while I was there but it seems to becoming more of a need. You just never know who really needs help.
     
  12. Brwnbeauti

    Brwnbeauti Well-Known Member

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    You can be poor and still not qualify for free lunch.
    Had students who didn’t have any modern utilities- including running water but came from a small family with a parent with a job so they wouldn’t qualify- reduced school lunch and breakfast cost about $50 a month.
     
  13. HappilyLiberal

    HappilyLiberal Well-Known Member

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    Actually, that school district is poor enough to have met the threshold for free lunch for all next school year. Clearly, a large percentage of those parents couldn't afford to pay!
     
  14. chocolat79

    chocolat79 Well-Known Member

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    How much are school lunches these days? When I was coming up, lunch was pretty cheap. I mean I never heard of lunch "bills" until the last year or so.

    Also, being the sheltered, naïve child that I was, I always envied the kids with free/ reduced lunch. I was mad my Mama had to pay full price. Kids over here paying $.40 and nothing and I had to fork over the $1.×× for pizza days.
     
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  15. Brwnbeauti

    Brwnbeauti Well-Known Member

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    3$ for a full plate at the school I just left
     
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  16. momi

    momi Well-Known Member

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    Call me cold-hearted but I am struggling to believe all of these parents can't afford to send their child to school with lunch/lunch money. I do know that there are many working poor families out here - but I wonder if the majority of these cases aren't misplaced priorities.
     
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  17. MilkChocolateOne

    MilkChocolateOne Well-Known Member

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    In my district it is $2.90
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2019
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  18. Everything Zen

    Everything Zen Well-Known Member

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    Again- case by case basis. Girl believe me- I understand more than I can post.
     
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  19. HappilyLiberal

    HappilyLiberal Well-Known Member

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    Some of those parents probably could afford to pay. However, it is telling that the entire district has qualified for free lunch because enough of the kids qualified for free lunch. That tells me that by government standards, a lot of those folks couldn't afford it. Although, that does not excuse not filling out the paperwork for free lunch!
     

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