After reading the story about Rep. Paul Ryan’s false ‘no free school lunch’ story he told at CPAC and the general feeling among conservatives that kids need to work for their free lunches, I wanted to tell my free school lunch horror story. Yes, when I was a kid I had free school lunches and it made me feel so ashamed, but not for the reason you might think.
While growing up my family was on and off public assistance. It was during the 70s and early 80s. Being on public assistance made me eligible for a free lunch at school. It usually consisted of a punch card just like the ones used by kids whose families paid for lunch in advance so unless I told someone, no one would know my card was free to me. That isn’t my horror story.
By the time I got to middle school, our family was doing a little better in that I didn’t qualify for free lunches anymore. One day the principal took me aside and said he knew my family’s poor financial situation and he had a deal for me. He would give me a free lunch each day if I would gather the lunch room trash and take it out to the dumpster.
I thought it was a great deal. Free food and I wouldn’t need to work too hard for it. The trash was all paper, plastic, and foam.
I would have lunch and then when I noticed the five trash bins in the lunch room starting to get full, I would take out the first load then put new bags in the bins. As the close of lunch period grew closer, the amount of collected trash would speed up so I would stand at the bins to empty them as soon as they were full. That’s when the fun would begin.
Kids would laugh at me, make fun of my “job”, harshly judge my worth as a human, and give some choice words about my family and our social status. The kids who didn’t express their contempt directly to me would stare at me and roll their eyes. They would then laugh among the group at their tables.
The ridicule I received was every day at lunch and even outside of the lunch room. The hate sucked out any enthusiasm for the job I was given. A few weeks later I had enough and went to the principal and quit. A free lunch wasn’t nearly enough to put up with the name calling and bullying I was getting trying to do a simple job.
Making children work for their free lunches is the biggest piece of shit talking point conservatives have. They want to have children ridiculed for being poor because in their sick and fetid mind they think it will solve poverty. After all being poor is a choice right?
How about we put these working children in orange jump suits to make it even easier to target them for something they had nothing to do with?
Rep. Ryan and the other assholes who come up with new ways to make poor people feel like shit need to be voted out of office. The sooner the better.