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Lunch-money trouble

June 21, 2007

Re "On school menus: cheese sandwiches, parental debt," June 18

I was amazed to read that school districts in California have resorted to a kind of ritual shaming of children when their lunch money is overdue by as little as $5. As a parent, I can attest that notes sent home in a backpack don't always reach me, even though we go through the backpack contents every afternoon. In my community, the next step is a phone call to the parent, which is a simple, cost-effective idea. If administrators in my district could find no way to get this problem fixed, I'd have serious reservations about their competence. But I suspect something other than incompetence is going on here. As a nation, we have become morbidly attracted to harshness for its own sake. The inability to see that humiliating children is wrong is another sign that our common moral standards have become unrecognizable.

MATTHEW LEO

Melrose, Mass.

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Parents should not be mad at school districts for "downgrading" their children's lunches because they did not pay their debts. What else is a school district supposed to do? Just let parents rack up a bill? They should be grateful that their kids get anything for lunch. As usual, it's the parents' fault that kids "suffer" by getting cheese sandwiches rather than the more fun fare of pizzas. The entitlement mentality has poisoned many.

By the way, what is wrong with a cheese sandwich? My friends and I certainly enjoy much more humble lunches, and we are grateful for it.

KRISTINA CAHILL

Long Beach

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