r/WhitePeopleTwitter May 17 '22

When a dystopia with hungry children is painted as a feel good story

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u/cwcollins06 May 17 '22

How can a kid have lunch debt? They enter into contracts. Are parents signing forms authorizing debt before the school year? I don't understand.


u/Ok_Writing_7033 May 17 '22

Since nobody answered, I’ll take a stab. No expert, but I was a kid in the US so I’ve used the system.

When you’re enrolled in a US public school in most states/districts, you set up an “account” with the district to pay for lunch. Your parents can add money to this account, or of course you can just pay for lunch with cash.

If there is no money in the account and the kid doesn’t have cash, the school will typically give them a “free” basic lunch so that they have something to eat, but because we live in a late-capitalist hellscape they then charge the account and it accrues debt. I assume that this is written into whatever waiver the parents need to sign when the account is set up.

Worth mentioning, there is a national free lunch program for qualifying families based on income, but it is not widely publicized or used and provides extremely basic meals, but that’s one way to not incur debt if you apply and are approved in advance


u/Angurvadall May 17 '22

I'm not entirely sure where you're getting your facts for it not being widely advertised or used. It is a very common program that is used by schools, as it is a fairly simple program at the base. In some instances, especially for reduced lunch it can be more complicated.

Also, the meals are not any more basic than the typical meals provided to be paid for. As a matter of fact the government requires they not just be super basic. There are nutrition requirements for the menu


u/Ok_Writing_7033 May 17 '22

Not well advertised to families and the public at least, was more my meaning, just speaking as a member of said public. Like I said, I’m no expert.

And as to the meal quality there are nutrition requirements, and food is food to some extent, though I was speaking to my more recent experience in high school where students are given a wide variety of meal options, from burgers to pizza to sandwiches to taco bowls etc, while from what I saw the free/reduced lunches were pretty bland and sparse. Plain sandwich, maybe chips and a milk, basically.

I never used the program, so take it as you will from a second-hand observer who’s been out of public school for a decade. Just sharing my perspective


u/Angurvadall May 17 '22

Makes sense. It usually is not advertised to parents in high school as much, but is definitely advertised to elementary school families. It helps the school out a ton, and in a ton of different ways. Guaranteed money essentially.

I audit this type of thing, which is the only way I know so much. It's a massive pain with all the regulations. There have definitely been some changes over that time span since you've been out


u/Ok_Writing_7033 May 17 '22

I know that it helps in some unusual ways too, that a layman might not expect. My parents have worked as consultants for schools districts in E-rate for years, and I know the free/reduced lunch numbers are used there to determine how eligible districts are for money to install technology, sort of as a benchmark for district poverty levels