This clickbait story from New Jersey is getting a lot of attention, including from elderly socialist and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders:
New Jersey school district considers not serving lunch to kids with over $20 debt. https://t.co/mopkDKC2zz
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 27, 2019
After Sanders saw the article, it inspired him to add “free universal school meals” to his growing list of other “free” items to be paid for by the government:
These school lunch debt articles go viral all the time. And do you know what they all have in common? It’s that every school district is begging for parents that can’t afford the lunch to sign up for the already-in-place program from the federal government to pay for the lunches. From NBC News (The last line here is the real problem, not ability to pay):
“The letter encourages parents to reach out to the district to discuss payment options and explains how they can sign up for the free and reduced-price lunch program,” Meloche wrote. School principals and guidance counselors also call the homes of students who owe to check in with the families.
The district is not interested in denying food to children who are unable to pay for their lunch, Meloche said.
But some families don’t respond to calls and letters concerning the debt, and Meloche says others who don’t face hardships “have no intention of paying their bill at all.”
And this district is already making accommodations for parents who can’t pay:
I can't help thinking these stories are constantly mischaracterized.
"On a case-by-case basis, delinquencies have been forgiven for families who do not qualify for free and reduced-price lunch…" https://t.co/8d08722meL
— Jeryl Bier (@JerylBier) August 28, 2019
If school districts or states want to implement Bernie’s policy, feel free to do so. But federal tax dollars will pay for every school lunch in the country? No thanks.