School lunches, Seven Oaks and personal responsibility

At what point do we expect parents to actually take care of their children, instead of shoving that responsibility off on the taxpayers? Should the schools be a secondary (or even primary) parents? At what point does parents’ irresponsibility become criminal child neglect?

In a September 30 article in the Herald-Times, a teacher at Edgewood High School (who is also a member of the board that votes on charter applications) expressed concern that students at Seven Oaks Classical School would not be provided lunch by the school. H-T reporter Mary Keck summarized his concern, that “in some cases, the lunch that students get at school is the only nutritious meal they may have that day.”

It is safe to assume that such students are from low-income families. What about food stamps? What about WIC? What about AFDC? Are these families not using those programs? Are the parents so helpless, uncaring or incompetent that they cannot provide food for their children before and after school? How are these children eating on the weekends? If this situation is as dire as the teacher claims, then it appears we have a case of criminal child neglect. Maybe the parents need to lose custody of their children or even be criminally prosecuted for neglect.

And really – if anyone actually believes that Seven Oaks teachers and staff are going to be completely unconcerned with children not able to eat lunch, that person is far too cynical.

The complaining about SOCS not providing lunch or transportation is typical of our victim society, and our envious nature. If someone else has something we do not have, or cannot take advantage of, our natural urge is to desire the other person be denied that item or service. There will always be things – yes, even in our government school system – that some people take advantage of while others cannot or do not. That does not mean we should not allow families the choice to have their children educated free of charge by an alternative school that has been chartered by the state.

No, not every family in Monroe County will be able to take advantage of SOCS. Limited enrollment alone guarantees that will be the case – but that is the case with every charter school. Resources are not unlimited. But that does not mean we should not allow this opportunity for parents who want to try an alternative educational method by denying this charter. The charter application should be approved.

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