Target: Congressman Jack Kingston
Goal: Demand Congressman apologize for his offensive statement that poor students be required to sweep school floors in exchange for lunch.
Republican Congressman Jack Kingston has a very radical and offensive opinion when it comes to the free lunch program in schools; he thinks it should not be free. Instead, Jack Kingston insists that students do chores for the school to earn free lunch. His reasoning is that he believes children should know that “there is no such thing as free lunch”.
His argument is poorly constructed and he himself admits that it would lead to administrative issues. When arguing that children should not get lunch for free, Kingston says “maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria—and yes, I understand that that would be an administrative problem, and I understand that it would probably lose you money. But think what we would gain as a society in getting people—getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”
The main issue with his argument is that the subjects are children. They are not the ones who are poor; it is their parents. If parents are unable to provide their children with food, the burden should not fall on the children. In fact, children should not even be required to know that “there is no such thing as free lunch”, until they become adults. Children from families who have enough money to pay for school lunches do not have to pay for lunch themselves, and they likely see the lunch as “free.”
If Kingston’s plan for children to do chores for school lunch was implemented, the level of embarrassment for the children involved would be scarring. Many children on free lunch programs are already judged or bullied by their peers, interfering with their getting a beneficial educational experience.
Kingston’s suggestion was just a typical insensitive jab at poor people from a Republican politician. Statements like these are ignorant and cannot be condoned. Jack Kingston should admit that his statements were cruel and insensitiv,e and present a more fair and practical plan for free student lunch programs.
Please sign the petition below to insist that Jack Kingston apologize for these ignorant remarks.
Dear Mr. Kingston,
Your recent remarks about free lunch programs were offensive and were very clearly a direct attack against poor people. You suggested that children should sweep the cafeteria floors for free lunch so they could learn “there is no such thing as free lunch.” This is ignorant and unorthodox on several levels.
First of all, it is not the children’s responsibility to provide themselves with food. It is the responsibility of the parents, and if the parents cannot provide food for their children the burden should not fall on the children. If anything, poor children are more aware of the value of money than their wealthier peers. Children with parents who are able to provide them with lunch receive it with no questions ask, so if anything they are the ones at risk of not being aware that “there is no such thing as free lunch.”
Your suggestion would also be a very unorthodox practice in school systems. It would not be legal to make children sweep the floors for food, and it would raise issues with administration and janitorial staff. It would also create an unhealthy social environment. Every child would be aware of who the poor kids are, and those kids may be judged, excluded, or bullied.
We urge you to retract and apologize for your offensive remarks, and perhaps suggest a more practical solution to free school lunch systems.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Laura Taylor via Flickr