If your school isn't all free/reduced meals...

  1. How does your school handle breakfast and/or lunch when a student's lunch account (if that's how you handle meal payments) gets too far in the hole?

    New policy this year is that if a student goes $X in the negative they get an alternate lunch of a cheese sandwich & milk...all grades, K-12!! There is no way that is going to sustain a child who may not have eaten breakfast, let alone a middle or high school athlete.

    We were faced with this situation for the first time today & it broke our hearts (student is obviously not a F/R meal kiddo). We ended up covering it so the student could eat a "normal" lunch today & hope mom comes through with her promise to send lunch money. I despise the fact that we are punishing the kids because the parent can't get their **** together! I'm rallying our nurses to try to change this. We can take a parent to court over unpaid book fees, why not meal fees?

    Mods...please don't post this to FB.
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Sep 14 : Reason: Changed to all *
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  2. 43 Comments

  3. by   WineRN
    I might be in the minority here...but I don't think your school is doing a bad thing.

    In most schools multiple notices go out to parents when they are approaching the 0 on a students lunch money. They are also usually in different formats (automated emails and phone calls AND physical papers sent home).

    Is a cheese sandwich and milk the most satisfying, no. I don't see how it's "heartbreaking". It's even better than some of the lunches I see that are sent from home (big bag of chips with a bottle of soda, sandwich with 2 packs of cosmic brownies etc ) And if it is for students who aren't in the free/reduced lunch program, then they at least will have food at home.

    And, i might again be alone here, I don't think its a bad thing to teach kids to be responsible for their own lunch account money. Are they giving mom/dad the notices from school? When the lunch monitor tells them they are running low, did they tell their parents?
  4. by   OyWithThePoodles
    In our district all elementary (honestly I don't know if middle and high do, I'm in my own bubble here) schools get free breakfast and lunch. If they want extra's they have to pay.

    I think giving them a cheese sandwich and milk is a lot better than some districts, which give them nothing...
  5. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    This is rock/hard place. My school isn't all free meals, despite the larger public districts being that way. We have some students we suspect may qualify for free/reduced, but never turn in the needed paperwork. And we send it home in many different ways, physical paper, electronic...and that is what can hurt because we know that student may not have food options at home. We need that form so we can get the funding to be able to provide breakfast and lunch.

    So what do we do? We eat the difference a lot of the time. We raise a fund for these students and use it. We don't have an alternative lunch to offer since we don't have a cafeteria and lunch is brought in each day. We only order cold lunches if students that get school lunch are going on a field trip.
  6. by   OldDude
    I've always thought, since school attendance is compulsory, i.e., it's the LAW, everything should be provided for the kids while at school, lunch and school supplies included. Roll everything into the budget, plug that into the tax base and state/fed reimbursement and forget about it.
  7. by   dakotadenise
    We are not all free/reduced either, I'd guess half and half. We send out all kinds of notices to parents when money is low. If its under 0, the kids aren't allowed seconds or extras. But I've never heard of them being denied a meal because of no money in acct. I think our admin does whatever they can to get the money turned in. I know jr high/high school will lose privileges. But sometimes we just don't get it. Our kids still eat. On a side note, when going through the lunch line, kids enter their lunch number. The machine either makes a "cha-ching" sound for money ok, or a 'wrong answer" buzz for under 0. How confidential is that?? My kids hate it. If they go under they come right to me saying "the machine is beeping, I need lunch money!".
  8. by   JenTheSchoolRN
    Quote from dakotadenise
    We are not all free/reduced either, I'd guess half and half. We send out all kinds of notices to parents when money is low. If its under 0, the kids aren't allowed seconds or extras. But I've never heard of them being denied a meal because of no money in acct. I think our admin does whatever they can to get the money turned in. I know jr high/high school will lose privileges. But sometimes we just don't get it. Our kids still eat. On a side note, when going through the lunch line, kids enter their lunch number. The machine either makes a "cha-ching" sound for money ok, or a 'wrong answer" buzz for under 0. How confidential is that?? My kids hate it. If they go under they come right to me saying "the machine is beeping, I need lunch money!".
    Ugh. Talk about stigmatizing. This is why the larger districts around me went all free. The computers did ring it up differently and the students knew the codes.
  9. by   peacockblue
    I'm conflicted about this. I really feel the parents should be held to a level of responsibility. We have kids in my school who would qualify for free lunch but the parents won't fill out the forms. Why is it the schools responsibility to be the parent. All I know is I spend hundreds of my own money every year buying food for kids. Many of my coworkers do too.
  10. by   aprilmoss
    Our school always offers the bitables (a combo of a cold sandwich and some side thing like cheese and crackers) to those who don't have lunch and can't pay (and arent' on the free/reduced lunch). I'm not overly fond of the strategy but I guess it's better than bread and water.
  11. by   SaltineQueen
    Quote from WineRN
    I might be in the minority here...but I don't think your school is doing a bad thing.

    In most schools multiple notices go out to parents when they are approaching the 0 on a students lunch money. They are also usually in different formats (automated emails and phone calls AND physical papers sent home).

    Is a cheese sandwich and milk the most satisfying, no. I don't see how it's "heartbreaking". It's even better than some of the lunches I see that are sent from home (big bag of chips with a bottle of soda, sandwich with 2 packs of cosmic brownies etc ) And if it is for students who aren't in the free/reduced lunch program, then they at least will have food at home.

    And, i might again be alone here, I don't think its a bad thing to teach kids to be responsible for their own lunch account money. Are they giving mom/dad the notices from school? When the lunch monitor tells them they are running low, did they tell their parents?
    Some clarifications:

    Our bookkeeper sends home daily notices when a student gets close to or is negative. She also makes phone calls to families we know may not ne reliable with checking folders.

    This particular situation was heartbreaking because we have a soft spot for this kid. He's kind of a loner & gets picked on sometimes...this was just one more thing that kids might try to target.

    Our building is K-3. Most are too young to carry this responsibility, IMO. But I agree to a point for the older kids, but the money still has to come from the parents.
  12. by   SaltineQueen
    Quote from SullyRN
    In our district all elementary (honestly I don't know if middle and high do, I'm in my own bubble here) schools get free breakfast and lunch. If they want extra's they have to pay.

    I think giving them a cheese sandwich and milk is a lot better than some districts, which give them nothing...
    I agree...better than nothing.
  13. by   MHDNURSE
    Mods...please don't post this to FB.[/QUOTE]

    ?????? Is there an All Nurses Facebook page? Why would posts from here get posted there? Can moderators automatically do that? Sorry, just confused and now nervous about anything I post on here...
  14. by   OyWithThePoodles
    Quote from MHDNURSE
    Mods...please don't post this to FB.
    ?????? Is there an All Nurses Facebook page? Why would posts from here get posted there? Can moderators automatically do that? Sorry, just confused and now nervous about anything I post on here...[/QUOTE]

    If contacted admin's on this in the past, this was their response: "The individuals responsible for the FB material were contacted and they discussed your request.

    As you pointed out, this will not be possible. We try and advise all posters that they need to be mindful of keeping private and/or potentially identifying info out of their posts. We realize that restricting some information on the boards will not always allow the for feedback desired, but in the long run, it is safest alternative for all involved.

    Again, thank you for contacting us. Please do so again if you need assistance.

    AN Admin Team"

    If I make a thread that is something I specifically don't want on facebook I will type "DO NOT POST TO FACEBOOK" at the beginning. I don't know if they listen, but....

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