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.
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?
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.