Park Ridge currently lunch shames the subsidized lunch kids by handing out the lunches in giant brown boxes that identify the kids to everyone in the lunch room.
3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 4:23 PM

25 Comments:

3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 4:26 PM

I agree, Kathy Meade. no reason for anyone to be ashamed.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 4:31 PM

I agree also

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 4:44 PM

Totally agree. There must be a better way.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 4:51 PM

If the School Board votes yes on April 24 to take over hot lunches then perhaps these children would have their lunches provided in the identical containers as the rest of the kids ordering hot lunch.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 4:58 PM

That's crazy. We all at some point in time knew we were less than another, and it didn't bother the majority. What it did do is build character, integrity, patience, humility, etc. It taught both sides to understand things how they truly are vs. masking the situation.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:14 PM

What is the reasoning behind not giving kids the hot lunch served or is the boxes for days that hot lunch isn't available? I would gladly pay slightly more per lunch if it provided lunches for kids on the subsidized program that need it.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:15 PM

Please help me fill in the blanks, but in the elementary school, hot lunch isn't served every day and even so it is paid a month prior to being served. We haven't participated mostly b/c our kids weren't fond of the menu choices. How did the brown box/bag system operate? Is this practice different in middle or high school level?

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:23 PM

Additionally not all subsidized lunches are claimed, resulting in huge waste issues.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:28 PM

What possible reason can there be to shame kids? They have no control over their family's finances but bear the social stigma? That's just cruel. Not that the adults should be shamed either. Shaming people who legitimately need help is an awful practice.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:36 PM

I don't understand why subsidized lunches have to be different from regular lunches. When my kids were in CPS, everyone got the same breakfast and lunch, whether they paid in full or it was reduced cost or free. No one was singled out as being different or other.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:37 PM

There was a comment that disappeared in this thread asking if kids really noticed this or if it was instead adults projecting. I will only say this, unless the students in Park Ridge are more angelic than kids were back when I was in school, they will most definitely notice and will use that to pick on kids. Even if the kids are more angelic, why dump on a less fortunate kids self esteem by singling them out? They already have enough to worry about. This is a practice that needs to end.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:42 PM

This should definitely end - now. Of course kids notice. If 1 child faces this that's 1 too many. There is absolutely no reason to have a child be self conscious about lunch. You can't possibly compare an uneaten sandwich to having a child feel singled out. There are many many challenges in life but lunch shouldn't be one of them. How do we end this practice? Thank you for bringing this up Kathy.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 5:54 PM

While the package in which the lunch is provided is way more conspicuous than a brown paper bag, the bigger issue might be the contents of the box. Kathy Meade, can you post some photos?

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 6:03 PM

Email the board with concerns about this. Go to the hot lunch meeting April 24 http://www.d64.org/boe/contact-board-of-education

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 6:17 PM

I know the Board voted last year to spend MORE money to provide a better quality free lunches from Arbor last year. I thought they increased the funds so they could provide a better quality option for kids. That would be a great thing. I'm positive it was not intended to shame kids or make them feel bad. I think it was done with the opposite intentions: to make them feel like they have a better lunch. But you should definitely reach out to the Board to let them know if this problem. At Franklin, the PTA Board this year offered free pizza on our pizza Mondays to families who qualify for free and reduced lunch. We found out that this was one way kids felt left out and wanted to make a small difference in the lunchroom

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 6:32 PM

I can tell everyone on this thread that no one, on the board or elsewhere, intended to shame anyone. To imply it was done intentionally is ridiculous. I do want to thank everyone for posting and bringing this issue to the forefront. I am sure that we can work on making those lunches more conspicuous so as to not shame anyone.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 6:40 PM

Personally the lunches should be the same I don't care what container they come in, but can we stop with the childish rhetoric(sorry children for the children shaming). It's not necessary to tackle the real issue which is providing healthy quality lunches to all children regardless of their situation. I support that

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 6:43 PM

Problem solved - let everyone bring their own again and they can come in any type of package that they want - and kids can find out on their own what THAT child decided to bring. Diversity is one of the many wonders of life.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 10:24 PM

It's such a delicate & serious topic all around. Most of the observations I've had personally during lunchtime have occurred at one elementary school - there are so many variables to consider in this - kids' taste buds and preferences are each different, for one, and tending to allergies are another. The subsidized lunches by definition (if I'm not mistaken) need to be one size fits all, but who knows of a handful of children who all enjoy and eat & actually enjoy the exact same things for lunch? Handful = at least a dozen at one school from what I was told. But there were times a student(s) in the program would not take the said lunch at all that day for one reason or another -It's so sad.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 10:24 PM

I consider this a simple discussion. If it is possible to have these lunches packaged in a way that they more resemble a lunch brought from home, we should surely explore it. I believe the packaging is done with boxes for ease of transport, stacking and packing. The provider makes those lunches in bulk and delivers them in bulk. Putting them in brown paper bags probably is not the best packaging for this application. However, that doesn't mean we can't explore options.

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3 months ago on 04/17/2017 at 10:32 PM

Can a few of you let me know what a typical lunch for your kids looks like on any given day?

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3 months ago on 04/18/2017 at 7:06 AM

That's not good! Who do we write to or call to have that changed?

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3 months ago on 04/18/2017 at 8:55 AM

I fully support free/reduced lunches and would never want kids to feel shamed. I also support pitching in to make sure that kids who get free/reduced lunch are included in pizza day. However, I took this to my 2nd (carpenter) and 6th (franklin/Emerson) graders to see if the packaging was something they picked up on and I'm not sure the packaging is shaming kids the way we assume it would as adults. I know it's just anecdotal, but when I asked my kids about kids getting free lunches, lunches supplied by the school, or lunches in paper boxes or bags they had no idea what I was talking about and were not aware or never noticed any of this. My 2nd grader thought real hard, and said "I think X brings her lunch in a paper box or a bag maybe? But you know her mom sends that to the school right? " And my older daughter said maybe some kids got a bagged lunch but she just assumed they forgot their lunch that day (because she "lost" her lunch in her locker multiple times at Franklin and ate one of those bagged lunches more than once). Maybe my kids are just super oblivious but I grew up poor in a poor town and we talk about being inclusive and how fortunate we are so I like to think they are a little sensitive to others' experiences. As to the content, I don't think it's actually too bad for younger grade schoolers (I send cheese stick, crackers, fruit and no drink for my 2nd grader regularly) but it doesn't seem like enough for an older or larger grade schooler.

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3 months ago on 04/18/2017 at 10:16 AM

I don't know whether I'm bothered more by singling out the kids who get subsidized lunch, or the person from CA that thinks shaming children somehow "builds character" SMH

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3 months ago on 04/19/2017 at 2:52 AM

I'd be happy to pay for hot lunch or pizza day for a kid who's getting subsidized lunches and I'm sure many others would be as well. Maybe there could be an option when you order on revtrack or HKK to order extra or make a donation for that purpose?

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