A school district opted out of a free meals program, saying students could ‘become spoiled’ (Picture)

 

A federally funded US Department of Agriculture program that was launched in April gives free meals to all K-12 students, regardless of income. But students who are in the Waukesha School District won't get to participate in that program, as it is the only district in Wisconsin to opt out of it.

The reasoning for opting out was that families could become spoiled.

Milwaukee's NPR station first reported last week that on June 9, the Waukesha school board voted to forego the pandemic free-meal program that extends through June 30. While many lawmakers and advocates said the program was necessary to help prevent child hunger during the pandemic, the district's board members opposed the program and said families that could afford to feed their children should do just that.

"I had three kids. I had them and so I'm going to feed them. I feel like that's the responsibility of the adult," Karin Rajnicek, a board member, said during a May meeting. "I feel like this is a big problem, and it's really easy to get sucked into and become spoiled and think, 'It's not my problem anymore - it's everyone else's problem to feed my children.'"

Instead of allowing any student to qualify for free school meals, Waukesha voted to return to the National School Lunch Program, which requires families to fill out an application to qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.

According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 4,249 students in Waukesha qualified for free and reduced-price meals in 2018-19 - 36% of the student body. The department said the district could choose to opt back into the program at any time, and some families hope it will.

Heidi Chada, a parent in the district, told Milwaukee's NPR she hoped the board would reconsider its decision. "My question is: Why are we the only [school district] who is opting out and saying eating a meal every day at school is not important for the health of our students?" she said.

When the USDA announced the extension of the free-meal program in April, the department said it would reach an estimated 12 million kids who are food-insecure.

"It's a win-win for kids, parents, and schools," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at the time.

A school district opted out of a free meals program, saying students could ‘become spoiled’ (Picture) A school district opted out of a free meals program, saying students could ‘become spoiled’ (Picture) Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 22:36 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.