Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Italians parents blame the mayor for not giving out free food

More and more I feel like I just don't understand how people think. This came up today when I read a New York Times story about an Italian city where many parents have failed to pay their school lunch fees.

In all, the article said, parents in the city of Corsico have run up a tab of over a million euros ($1,090,000) in unpaid school lunch fees. Some families owe as much 6,000 euros ($6,510). 

The mayor decided enough was enough. He said simply, if you don't pay your lunch fees your kids don't get school lunches. Pretty straightforward, right?

This is where things get weird. The reactions to the mayor's action were bewildering, if not outright bizarre.

Some called the mayor's action "blackmail" (huh?). Others said it would create "schoolroom apartheid" because some students would eat school lunches and others wouldn't. Besides the fact that the term "apartheid" stems from something far more serious than lunches, is it really so scary that kids would eat different things?

One politician said, "You can't deny food to a child." Well, besides the fact that parents often do deny food to their children ("no snacking right before dinner," for example), in this case no one was stopping kids from eating lunch. 

And the article had still more comments from parents and educators attacking the mayor, and saying he's responsible if kids end up going hungry because they don't get a free school lunch.

Let's consider the basics: Who is responsible for making sure a child has a lunch to eat? The child's parents, of course. And these parents in Corsico, like so many others, have two choices: Give their children a homemade lunch, or pay for a school lunch.   So who gets blamed if the parents do neither?  Well, obviously, it's ... the mayor? 

See the article here.


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