There is nothing more raw in America — land of amber waves of grain — than when someone goes hungry.  When that someone is a child, there is no greater human shame than refusing to feed hungry kids or, even worse, feeding them, and then pulling the food out of their gaping mouths to teach the sin of the parents a lesson.

We’re creating a whole new Debtor Nation in the USA and, as usual, the first victims are the young and the elderly — the very people this nation should be protecting and preserving.

Here is the incredible story of Noelle Roni, a school principal who lonesomely stood up for the principles of the children she was hired to protect — and was subsequently fired for doing the right thing:

Former Peak to Peak elementary principal Noelle Roni said Sunday she was fired by the Lafayette charter school after she demanded that cafeteria workers stop stamping the hands of children — including those who qualified for the free lunch program — when their lunch accounts were empty.

“As soon as I saw it happening, I was like, ‘No, this is not OK,’” she told the Daily Camera. “The students felt so humiliated, like they had done something wrong. They didn’t want to go into the lunchroom any more. It’s unethical and disrespectful.”

Can you imagine how it must feel to have ink placed on your flesh with the intention to broadcast to your classmates that you’re an underfed deadbeat?

What sort of mind comes up with that kind of punishment against hungry children?  Isn’t it the moral duty of the all of us to stand up and defend the most vulnerable around us?

Aren’t we supposed to imitate and admire the example of Noelle Roni?

The ridiculousness and cruelty of failed school lunch policies doesn’t stop with Noelle Roni’s stand — that’s only the beginning of the loathsome melodrama.

Can you believe this happened a few days ago in Salt Lake City, Utah?

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

Is this the new kinder, gentler, America we say we want — where we handstamp debtor kids and throw the lunches of other children into the trash to teach them a lesson because it’s better to waste good food than to feed it to hungry students so political scores can be settled while earning a moral monstrosity in the process?

We have to move beyond the punishing politics of purpose and find a way to make sure everyone gets fed and nobody is made a spectacle in the means of avoiding starvation.

This human challenge will grow even more dire as a billion dollars a year reduction in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program — now “SNAP” but formerly known as “Food Stamps” — is set to go into effect every year from now on with the oppressive passing of the ironically named “Farm Bill” that promises to fail to feed the hungriest among us.


  1. Now where have we seen being stamped, marked and identified before ? Pretty sure it was not in a country that hails itself as a leader of the free world !

    There are no words for how disgraceful this is – its abhorrent , vile , and does not accomplish anything other than the humiliation of innocents.

    I am going to share something I found this morning which really made me think – and which I feel is related to the bigger picture here –

    Which path would you rather your childs teacher walked down ?

    1. We have to remember a lot of these punishing polices are conservative, GOP ideals that are then pushed into the local school systems. I cannot recall a single instance of a Liberal or a Democrat letting hungry children starve — sorry, it isn’t in their wheelhouse of consideration.

      Yes, it is absolutely vile.

      I read your link, but had a hard time getting past the parent demanding after school tutoring for herself on the teacher’s time. That goes beyond simple gall and hubris. What a selfish nightmare of a mother!

      We already ask too much of our teachers for too little pay and too much donated time and resources. In many public schools, teachers now have to purchase, out of their own pockets, glue and pencils and paper for their students because the school budget doesn’t cover those basic costs of learning.

      A line needs to be drawn somewhere — teachers can’t be perpetual tutors, and available at all times and expected to parent and befriend and keep a watch out for bullies and bullying — and yet always be the fall guy when anything goes wrong.

      Teachers need to teach and students need to sit there and learn — and the key to making that all happen is getting the parents to start to take responsibility for the learning of their own children.

      1. This may have been a wrong assumption for me to make but I got the impression that the mother needed help in order to understand and to help what was being asked of her child. I know when I was helping my children with maths, it was being taught to them totally differently than it was taught to me and I had to learn the way it was being taught before I could help them see how it worked. I was lucky enough to be able to look at their books and follow the method – not all are so blessed especially when it comes to maths.

        My son as a dyslexic had to be taught totally differently to the others – that was yet another learning curve for me.

        There may well have been some financial contribution made – it is not mentioned – that does not mean it was not offered or accepted.

        I am not suggesting ALL teachers should do as this one did , I am praising the fact that one did , I am glad at least one person in the system in that school saw the bigger picture and did what she could to try and make it as smooth as possible.

        As most bullying tends to start inside school – ie away from parents – who should be looking out for it ?

        1. I don’t want to belabor the hubristic mother in the other article — but she made it clear she never learned the old math, so the “new math” was just as new to her as the old math…

          You have always taken direct responsibility for your life and your children — and that’s why we love you and you are our SuperStar! SMILE!

          I agree that’s a spectacular teacher alluded to in the other article — but my fear is burnout — you only have so much to give as a teacher and when you’re not concentrating on lesson plans and rooting out the causes of bullying — and are instead expected to tutor failed adult learners, life begins to quickly age.

          The teacher must be fair, and not play favorites, so if she tutors one parent, there’s an expectation that she will for all — and that’s a one way ride into drowning in your own good deeds.

          Sorry, that article brought out the “J” in my INTJ — the whole thing reads just a little too precious and inauthentic to me — I have a hard time believing the core of it because there’s a definite agenda in place that was placed there by the mother, perhaps as payback for the free tutoring?

          1. Maybe I am too “hopeful” and let seeing/hoping for the best cloud my “J” in the other direction as well.

            I can appreciate your burnout fears and from a personal perspective I know of one teacher who has just gone part time because of parental expectations. The irony being that the parents of those he taught though he was one of the best teachers their children had.

            I also know that very young children entering the school system are not prepared for school life. Some are still in nappies/diapers at the age of four, some cannot use even adapted cutlery , others cannot tie their shoelaces at the age of 9/10 !

            I do want to pick up on the bullying issue though – these children who are being marked out and stamped are in fact being bullied by the state – every other child in those schools is being sent a message that it is more than OK to stigmatize those that are different.

    1. I am always wary of these petitions — they’re too easy to start and then forget about them and they only take a feel-good click to join.

      I’m much more interested in finding out how and why this happened. It cannot have been a spur-of-the-moment decision. Somewhere more than one person deliberated on this together, and then put the punishing plan into action. We need to go back to that machine thinking and ask questions and correct the method and re-cut the gears.

      1. Totally with you on your thinking that it needs more than a petition to sort it out – the comment was made with the intention of saying there are more people concerned about this and this is what they are doing .

        1. I am excited this is getting a lot of play in different places — petitions are good for driving attention to those who need help!

  2. Do you think bullying is learned in school? My sense is that it’s a behavior learned in the home and then boundaries tested in the classroom. You can certainly try to mitigate it a few hours a day, but the problem is where it is stewed and embedded, and modeled and supported.

    There’s a major push for pre-K in NYC to imitate the success of NJ’s inventional teaching of 3-4 year olds just for the reasons you mention:

    In New Jersey, students attend prekindergarten for two years, not one. Class sizes are limited to 15. Teachers generally have more training than in New York. And it took more than a decade to perfect the model: The districts faced a host of challenges, including persuading families to enroll and rolling out a robust curriculum.

    A top priority of Mr. de Blasio is persuading state lawmakers and the governor to pass a tax on high-income city residents to pay for universal prekindergarten, and on Monday he is expected to present his case in Albany. But New Jersey’s example suggests that even if he is successful, he will face perhaps a greater challenge: making prekindergarten programs worth the money.

    1. I think it is learned everywhere, including home and school,via the TV and films, the internet etc etc. I am the first to admit that it can be learnt from parents, but I also think society as a whole has a whole lot to answer for.

      I personally have seen cases where it is has been learned in the nursery where the child is placed while both parents chase the economic dream/struggle to make ends meet. My examples would be white middle class families farming their children out from the age of about six months into day care so they could both work. They are also the ones that could not believe their little “angel” could possibly do such a thing.

      I love the idea of the pre – kindergarten – I would love it even more if there was proper, fully engaged parenting.

      1. I agree we have a great disconnect between parents and their children. I have a friend who was successful on her own and from a good family. She traveled the world and her family was well-connected. I thought she would be the next Hillary Clinton.

        Then she married into an old, wealthy, family. Had a bunch of children. Gave up her dreams, but not her professional life. All those children were given over to an au pair for the raising because both parents were too busy with their own lives to share them with their children. That creates an instant disconnect.

        The problem with pre-K is that it is expensive and everyone wants it but nobody wants to pay. The best pre-K we have is in Washington, D.C. at a cost of $14k per student. In NYC, the Gov. wants to spend half that per student and the mayor wants to spend $10k, but most experts say to do pre-K right in NYC — where everything is more expensive — is going to cost $20k per student.

        1. That great disconnect is one of the greatest problems we face to my mind – so much gets lost and at a great cost to society later down the line.

          That pre – K is an awful lot of money being invested to fill a gap that should not be there in the first place – but I think it will reap rewards as it will save a lot of money in the longer term.

          I have always argued that parents should teach their children well ( as the song says) .

          It will take a generation of pre – K schooling to really start paying off but it is a great way forward in trying to breaking the cycle.

          1. I agree that reaching kids — and equalizing the influence of the home and the neighborhood — is a great way to condition and socialize future generations no matter what their born stake is into life.

            We need to create a more common morality that isn’t religiously based, but humanly based — so we can all agree on some common ideals of getting along together without having the need to kill someone if they don’t agree with our dogmatic teachings.

            Richard Dawkins is fond of saying, “No child is born a Muslim or a Christian or any other religion.” He argues religion is indoctrinated into the kids by the parents, and Dawkins spends a lot of time correcting the UK press when they write about the rise of the Muslim population and all the children being “born” into the religion.

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