Lunch debt

Several local businesses have recently paid the unpaid lunch bills for students at nearby school districts. This is a generous gesture, but — having taught 42 years in public schools here in Michigan and in Tennessee — I would say that this is not a worthwhile use of charitable money.

Public school students from low income families are given free or reduced-price lunches at school so they are usually not the ones who have overdue lunch debt. From my experience, most of the overdue lunch bills occur when parents have forgotten to pay, don’t realize that they owe money on their child’s lunch account or students simply forget to turn in their parents’ check to the teacher.

Instead of helping families in need, these donations, although well intended, are paying bills for students from families that are usually quite capable of making these payments. A donation to school fundraisers that would benefit specific needs at that school would be a better designation for these contributions.

John Rodes


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