Not long ago, the DISSENTING DEMOCRAT deplored the public school in Utah where poor students had school lunches taken away from them when they lacked money to pay. This was something that one might expect from a Red State, and Utah is as crimson as it comes. Imagine our surprise, and shame, to learn that this has been done in Minnesota as well. Minnesota, our Northern Star, land of the Farmer-Labor Party, Hubert Humphrey, Don Fraser, Gene McCarthy, and Paul Wellstone. Minnesota, still infused with the influence of Scandinavian social policy and German Catholic social thought, is well known as an exemplar of equality, fairness and justice.
The Legal Aid Society conducted a survey of the State’s school districts and learned that 46 of them denied hot lunches to students who lacked the money for the required co-pay. The Federally-subsidized school lunch program covers the bulk of the cost but still charges students a 40 cent per lunch co-pay. Yet, unfortunately, some cannot afford even this.
Fortunately, Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) expressed his disapproval and through his Education Commissioner put the State’s schools on notice: it is the policy of the State that no child will be denied a hot lunch for lack of funds.
No child in America should ever have to go hungry at school.