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Should public schools be serving dinner to kids?

D.C. public schools have started serving an early dinner to an estimated 10,000 students, many of whom are now receiving three meals a day from the system as it expand efforts to curb childhood hunger and poor nutrtition.

Free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch long have been staples in most urban school systems. But the District is going a step further in 99 of its 123 schools and reaching nearly a quarter of its total enrollment. Read the full story.

By Abha Bhattarai  |  October 12, 2010; 5:20 PM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I don't understand why the Post even put this so-called poll up, unless it's to allow its more mean-spirited readers the chance to fantasize about taking the food out of poor kids' mouths. Judging from the results, a fair number would love the opportunity to do just that. Wouldn't the time be better spent kicking puppies or something?

Posted by: xenophile | October 18, 2010 8:54 PM

Come on now, we're already serving breakfast and lunch at schools, PLUS 48 million Americans are getting food stamps. Call it mean spirited all you want but enough is enough, let the parents feed the kids like they're supposed to!

Posted by: cathyjs | October 18, 2010 11:56 PM

If the parents aren't doing it, or can't because they are among the many AAs who are unemployed, then you can't just "let them feed their kids" the parents need help. We pay enough per student in DC, they should be able to figure this out.

Posted by: digtalcomp | October 19, 2010 12:00 AM

Th idea that "it's the least schools can do" is a strange one. Schools already serve them breakfast and lunch...now they must add on dinner as well???

How much homework do you think is being done in a household where dinner isn't being served?

Neither Michelle Rhee, nor different teachers are the answer to what ails DC public schools...what ails DC public schools are DC public school parents...and their malnourished, under-parented spawn...

I don't disagree that the children should be fed, but don't think that it should fall to the school system.

What is social services doing? They may as well combine the two under the same umbrella since their functions overlap.

They should probably eliminate social services and just put them under the board of education since the school system picks up far more of the slack then the reverse...

Posted by: squatty2 | October 19, 2010 12:16 AM

My concern is that we are raising generations of people who think the government should take care of their every need. I would prefer the local churches perform this service. I absolutely do not want children or adults going hungry. But seriously, what kind of dependency are we creating here?

Posted by: abcxyz2 | October 19, 2010 12:20 AM

When we are considering endangered AA children, I am in favor of serving them dinner. I think the longer we can keep the children in school the better off they will be. The next generation needs to have a chance to find gainful employment and learn how to get along with others. I think it would be great if the kids could live at their schools.

Posted by: citizen_S | October 19, 2010 12:20 AM

If you don't care enough to help feed a hungry American child, what is it exactly that you love about your country?

Posted by: mack1 | October 19, 2010 1:05 AM

It seems to me that teachers are already underpaid and overworked. Who is monitoring these children and are they getting paid for this service or is it taking more time out of a busy teachers hectic schedule trying to get ready for the next class or day? The next complaint about DC teachers will be that they aren't spending enough time preparing their lessons with no thought as to how many duties they have during the course of their duty day.

Posted by: julygirl | October 19, 2010 1:14 AM

And lets add bedrooms too. Since the parents don't seem capable of even providing ONE meal for their child in a day, there isn't much sense in them leaving school at all. The government will provide their clothing and their entertainment. No need for parents to do anything at all...

Posted by: firstvarty1979 | October 19, 2010 2:21 AM

Of course they should serve dinner! I agree with FIRSTVARTY1979. Parents should have children and immediately turn them over to the schools. What an amazing world that would be! Did someone leak this from the Obama White House? Is this what that fellow is planning! What amazing thinking. (Sorry! That's twice I've used that word - but it just seems so apt to describe the current thinking in American society!)

Posted by: georges2 | October 19, 2010 3:30 AM

Lets see.....we pick them up at their front door..offering special services in the morning so Mommie can go to work..take them to school.....feed them breakfast....feed them lunch.....keep them after school so Mommie can work....feed them dinner because Mommie is so tired after working all day.....
The government pays the rent.....the government pays to feed the kids....the government pays for utilities.....the government pays for all the medical care....
When are the citizens of the District of Columbia who finance this foolishness going to wake up and realize they're being taken advantage of and do something about it? That's why I moved............

Posted by: slarnhart | October 19, 2010 6:49 AM

They might as well feed them dinner. And while they are at it, clothe them also.

Schools are being required to BE THE PRIMARY PARENT (NO BABY DADDY'S AROUND), so they might as well do it all !!

The year will be 2050 and blacks will still be complaining about being held down and not being able to handle life's requirements without ongoing, permanent government welfare.

It's the black circle of life.

Posted by: SideShowBob1 | October 19, 2010 6:56 AM

I fall between the yes and no. If a child is in an after school program, then yes. Feed them at least a healthy snack. If no, then why not work with an organization to help provide meals and bags of food for the students. Tax payers are hammered as is and it is getting worse.

We had a lot of lower income move to my area to scoop up the cheap houses and foreclosures. It has brought about a whole new challenge for the schools.

Yesterday, while viewing a fun video, I had three girls fall asleep. I asked them what happened, they liked the vid but were exhausted. I asked how late they were up the night before... Past midnight! These are 10 year olds!!! I also have been in classes where one boy watched his father shot and where 75%+ of the class were single parent/raised by grandparent/foster care kids. It is amazing what children will open up and tell you when they feel they can trust you.

I feel for the students. I hear the pain in their voices and then that pain turns to discipline issues.

Sadly, I knew a few welfare moms who decided to stop working and go back on welfare because it was easier! A couple were second generation welfare. They also learned how to scam Section 8 to use a tenant as income without declaring it.

However, I also hate seeing the kids victims of parental bad choices. You do all you can in the schools to reach them and keep them from being victims of the world the parents have created. Sadly, many kids will not accept the help.

This is not inner city - this is suburban. But the attitude and behaviors from the city moved here when houses were cheaper. (And now many are losing their houses again...)

Then see a child with you know $100 sneakers on yet he is a welfare child getting free/reduced meals. Wish I could get my kids $100 sneakers. Hate Walmart but dang, 4 pairs of jeans for $30! We also have to teach people to prioritize. $100 for shoes or use that for food and get a $15 pair of sneakers?

I feel that every welfare parent who is not working at all must have to volunteer in the community to give back for what they are taking. Seriously. Give me something back for what I am providing for you.

Back to topic, I am sick of kids being victims of the parents' bad choices. Do I want to feed three meals a day, no. But do I realize that for some this is the only healthy food and emotional nurturing they get, yes.

Posted by: Homemom | October 19, 2010 7:42 AM

My concern is for a standard of service. Who is checking on the kids' environment and situation? It would take hundreds of social workers because the paperwork for access to programs is always full of "mis-information". I would hate to see children who really need services be unable to have them when other kids with cable tv, hair extensions, expensive clothing, iPods, video games, etc., get what they really do not deserve. Just saying.

Posted by: sahquality | October 19, 2010 7:44 AM

There are kids that come to school hungry everywhere. In this country of plenty we should make sure they have enough food to sustain them. Also birth control and education related to having families when you are financially ready should also be added to the curriculum.

Posted by: chelist1 | October 19, 2010 8:11 AM

I think a better balanced article should have included how many of the kids have cell phones and those $100+ sneakers. Having grown up on peanut butter sandwiches, I make choices as to what to spend my money on. If a person cannot afford to feed their child then maybe that person should not have become a parent.

Posted by: sharmil6552 | October 19, 2010 8:24 AM

I think a better balanced article should have included how many of the kids have cell phones and those $100+ sneakers. Having grown up on peanut butter sandwiches, I make choices as to what to spend my money on. If a person cannot afford to feed their child then maybe that person should not have become a parent.

Posted by: sharmil6552 | October 19, 2010 8:25 AM

I don't know how many kids you see with cell phones and $100.00 sneakrs, but I don't see kids like that in my southeast neighborhood, I don't see that. My kids eat from what my wife and i put on the table, but a lot of kids go hungry and we feed some of our kids friends. Say what you want about the parents, but the children never asked to come here.A lot of the people on here are probably pro-life. Let me ask you a question. How you gonna feed all these kids when the ones who are here now don't get a decent meal everyday.

Posted by: bobby31 | October 19, 2010 9:18 AM

There needs to be accountability and at some point parents need to provide for their kids.

No kid should go hungry, but the school system is for educating the kids, not feeding them three meals a day.

If the city wants to feed kids, homeless, and anyone that his hungry - have a separate program for that. But the school system has enough to do without worrying about feeding 10,000 kids.

All this will do is make the kids even fatter as many are likely to go home and have another meal.

Posted by: asdf9876 | October 19, 2010 9:18 AM

A child who is hungry won't be able to focus on academics. Check out Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. If a person's basic needs (food among them) aren't being met, then they aren't worried about how to read and write. If DC public schools are going to improve, they need to take into consideration how poverty affects many of the students.

Posted by: NMHR | October 19, 2010 9:35 AM

I disagree totally. Schools should not be serving dinner. People should stop looking at schools as surrogates or replacement of parents. If there is poverty in the family, then there are social programs in place to feed these families including food stamps and other food programs all over DC. School is a place to learn. Parents are there to raise and guide these children and provide food for them. Otherwise, we're just putting more burdens on schools when they are already suffering budget cuts and bad teachers! what a mess. For all of you out there supporting "providing dinner", why don't you go volunteer at DC Central kitchen or meals on wheels and donate money to htese fine organizations, instead of putting more responsibilities on schools that aren't handling their educational responsibilities to begin with! Shame on you!

Posted by: genevieve2000 | October 19, 2010 9:38 AM

Schools aren't funded to feed students dinner meals. It depends on the age of the children being fed. Kids over 11 yrs. can learn to find the resources to feed themselves. My mother worked so I simply didn't eat until she came home. If she didn't come home until late I had to figure something out. If a child can't be resourceful they won't make it in the world. If the child is under 11 yrs. old and their parent is a single parent, then feed them. If the child has two parents then do not feed them dinner. They belong at home to learn how a home functions. Eating is something a person needs to think and act normally but the responsibility for feeding is primarily the parents. If the parent can't do it for legitimate reasons then OK, help them, otherwise scrutinize their behavior and correct it.

Posted by: SoupLine | October 19, 2010 9:44 AM

No, no, no. Dinner time is a time for me to bond with my son. If he comes home full, that's one less ritual for the two of us to share. Besides, that cafeteria food is artificial trash. What are they trying to do, set all of the poor kids up for failing health at a young age? Sounds devious to me.

Posted by: forgetthis | October 19, 2010 9:50 AM

I live in Anacostia. Unlike the current Mayor, and the majority of Council members, I live amongst "the people," not tucked away in some town house in NW. I live next to a big beautiful Giant supermarket. There are lots of fruits and vegetables. Most patrons do not buy them. Perhaps the $5.8 million DC schools is spending on dinner could be better spent teaching parents that Doritos and orange soda don't make a good dinner. Almost EVERYONE is on food stamps at the Giant. So, clearly, money is not the issue. I walk to the Giant because I am too poor to own a car. But there are nice new cars in the parking lot, owned by food stamp recipients, who then live in section 8 housing (I live there too). The business that does the best in my neighborhood is the nail salon. They don't take food stamps. Maybe this is stereotypical, but it is also all true. So before you throw more money at an issue, maybe someone could look to fix the real problem: financial mismanagement enabled by city subsidies and reliance.

Posted by: liberalbias1 | October 19, 2010 9:50 AM

This is beyond absurd. If people cannot afford dinner for their children, they shouldn't have children. This is the ultimate absurd end of the "nanny state." And I'm a DEMOCRAT! What more are you left-wing nuts going to come up with to push me out of your party? Propose we start providing them with free clothing too? Hell, why not buy them all cars as well, and I-phones? Heaven forbid we make anybody responsible for their own reproductive choices. Who do you imagine pays for all that? We do. The people working and earning, and trying to save for their future. And you wonder why there's abandonment of Obama's administration? It's because the air is starting to clear, the dust is starting to settle, and we're beginning to realize that the Democrats really are rife with far-left loons, and NOBODY in the party is willing to tell them no. Hell no. You want school children fed dinner, invite them over to your own house and open up your own wallet and have at it.

Posted by: gasmonkey | October 19, 2010 9:55 AM

I served 9 years on the Board of Education (including a stint as chairman) of a high-poverty transitioning school district (East Hartford, CT) and my fiscal conservatism was in constant conflict with the increasing need I saw and felt. The wording of these polls always simplifies complex problems. I have to come down on the side of providing the option of sending free/reduced meal students home with a bagged(lower staff costs) nutritious meal with the parent/guardian/fostercare/state's involvement depending on who is ultimately in charge of the child involved. I lament the failure of large segments of our population to take full responsibility for the consequences of their reproductive decisions, however children are children and providing a $2.00 or whatever bag of food might alleviate some stress and fear and hunger that these kids face. I am not happy about the need for this, but unless we are willing to toss aside our Constitution and limit people's reproductive rights this is where we are at. Ultimately I feel this would be a good program to enact. It makes me sad to admit that we have fallen so far that this is necessary.

Posted by: hankct | October 19, 2010 10:15 AM

Sorry to say it, but black voters in cities like DC, NY, Philly are the most gullible, credulous people there are. The Democrats have them trained like sheep.

Posted by: pgr88 | October 19, 2010 10:17 AM

Because someone had unprotected sex in their teens, had kids and the father ran off, it's our responsibility to provide their kids three meals, free education, free healthcare, foodstamps and social security. Right......

Posted by: trippin1 | October 19, 2010 10:29 AM

Wow. Who cares who is feeding them. They are being fed....is all that matters. 95% of these posters won't understand because they aren't these kids put in this situation.

Posted by: 4thFloor | October 19, 2010 10:37 AM

I think this is a good idea, we should just take the extra money out of the SNAP funds that their parents are misusing. Also, they should have to do their homework before dinner!

Posted by: staticvars | October 19, 2010 10:50 AM

As harsh as it sounds, as long as we give incentives for bad choices, people will continue to make them. My dad grew up dirt poor in rural North Carolina. No free breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ever. So his parents never relied on it and made due. That's how he then raised my brothers and sisters and it's how I'm raising my kids. Social services should provide the extra meal, if needed. Not the school districts.

Posted by: angelagwen | October 19, 2010 11:08 AM

When are we going to start holding these children accountable for their parents' failures? That's what I wanna know.

Posted by: Pottsy3000 | October 19, 2010 1:20 PM

Sorry to say, but that 45% who are against feeding poor children are plain evil and must be without intelligence, it doesn't matter where/who the food comes from idiots, the point is to feed the children.

Lastly, I think the questions to choose from were a little on the stupid side.

Posted by: weaverf | October 19, 2010 1:22 PM

My grandfather used to say, "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em"...wise words.

Posted by: chesserc | October 19, 2010 3:55 PM

In a perfect world, children would be fed at home by perfect parents who have jobs, don't drink, gamble, do drugs, are healthy and have not been beaten down themselves. In an imperfect world, the least we can do is see that children are fed. Kudos to the DC schools.

Posted by: speakup1 | October 20, 2010 9:04 AM

In 1967, my parents divorced when I was 9. My mother was left with 4 children and we lived below the poverty level. Reduced price / free school breakfast and lunches meant that my mother could buy about half the amount of food and no one went hungry. We supplemented our food by sneaking out after my mother was asleep and raiding the gardens of our neighbors. By being discreet and never picking from the same fruit tree or garden more than once every few weeks, we were able to be relatively well fed.

In the overall scheme of things, allowing a child to go hungry is inhumane. In addition to providing reduced price / free school breakfast and lunches, there should be school / community programs to teach children and their parents to grow food close to home.

In the long run, taking ownership of a garden and food that one grows collectively teaches pride and fosters community development / good citizenship skills. It's also healthier and less expensive to provide seedlings in the spring and would ensure a harvest of something during the summer and early fall.

Posted by: SunnaWoman | October 20, 2010 4:29 PM

As someone who would have gone hungry when young if it weren't for the food at school, I'm for feeding them. You can't learn or grow properly without decent nutrition. Don't you want to have people with the highest mental abilities they can have around you? I do, it's safer for everyone.

Oh, and I should mention that I am white, so it's not just blacks that need this. There are plenty of whites, Asians and others that need to be fed too.

Oh, and if you don't want the poor to have children they can't take care of, then help to push for free birth control and abortions for everyone, and tell those that want to restrict a woman's right to choose to stop pushing for restrictions. Let's give all women a choice, not just those with money.

Posted by: splashy8 | October 25, 2010 6:02 AM

No way. Kids should be eating dinner with their parents. The government gives food stamps to poor people so that they can feed their kids. Why would you change this?

Posted by: whatev1 | October 29, 2010 2:29 PM

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