Saturday, 20 February 2010

Because There Should Be Such Thing As A Free Lunch!

Angry parents have been told their children will go hungry if they fail to pay school dinner money on time.
*sigh*

No, they won’t. They’ll miss lunch, that’s all. It won’t kill them.
Children at West Leigh Junior School, in Leigh, were sent home with a letter telling parents if they didn’t pay up on time their child would not be fed.

The letter is a reaction to a number of parents persistently failing to pay dinner money on time, or at all, causing an administrative headache for office staff.
You'd think no-one could possibly argue about this, wouldn't you? But you'd be wrong:
But John Banks who has two daughters at the school, Molly, eight, and Emily, 11, was shocked by the tough stance.
Really? Why?
Mr Banks, 46, said: “I can’t believe they would let a child go without their lunch.
They aren't. You are, by persistently refusing to pay, or forgetting to pay. They are your daughters, and feeding them - or arranging for them to have the wherewithal to be fed - is your responsibility, not the schools.
“If you have two parents at work in London there is no way on earth they could jump on a train and get back in time to take something into school.

“We all forget things, and to be told ‘you are not eating today little girl’, seems a bit much to me.”
I don't forget things. Well, I do, but it's things like where I put my umberella, or what time a film starts at the local cinema.

I certainly don't forget to pay for things. And consquently expect other people to pick up my slack...
Mr Banks, of Edinburgh Avenue, Leigh, said he realised the extra admin caused difficulties for the school, but said if alternative payment methods, such as account transfers, could be used it would be simpler for everyone.”
What..? Are we supposed to believe that he can't give his daughters cash for their school dinners, but he'll be right on to the bank aranging a transfer of funds, if only it was available?

Pull the other one!
But headteacher Cheryl Woolf defended the decision. She said: “We have a lot of parents who seem to think they can send their child in with no money and expect them to be fed, and we are putting our foot down.

You wouldn’t go into a restaurant and demand a lunch if you had no money.”
Oh, I don't know. Some people would, if they thought they could get away with it...
Mrs Woolf added the school accepted meal payments on a very flexible basis, from weekly to annual payments, and is looking at introducing other methods of payment.
Perhaps those errant parents should be co-opted into doing the school canteen washing up. I believe that to be the traditional punishment in these sorts of cases...

16 comments:

Macheath said...

Some people would, if they thought they could get away with it...

Many restaurant staff will tell you of diners who spuriously claim something is wrong with the meal and demand a substantial reduction in the bill to compensate.

I once presented this as a moral dilemma to a group of schoolchildren and was amazed at how many thought it perfectly acceptable. Perhaps their parents, too, didn't bother to send in the correct dinner money on time.

Perry said...

Mr Banks needs a good fucking slap to knock him off his high horse. And then to be totally ignored. I'll bet the cunt doesn't "forget" to take enough money to feed his own face at work.

RantinRab said...

Splendid post! Heartily agree.

Anonymous said...

Perry seems to have the situation in hand. But has anyone thought that there might be mor sinister things afoot? Could this be part of Labour's Obama-inspired, word-of-mouth, below-the-radar general election campaign? If they get the highly motivated children of pushy middle-class parents (Mr Banks anyone?) to stop paying for lunch, overnight the number of children on free school meals getting good exam grades rockets.

The Great Simpleton said...

It makes you wonder how some people manage to remember to breathe.

English Viking said...

No money=No food. Dead simple. Enforce the poicy long enough and non-payers will either die of starvation or get their wallets out. I don't really care which.

Anonymous said...

It should be possible to pay in advance, eg for a whole term. And pay by cheque so your kids aren't transporting large amounts of money. It would help bolster the cash-flow in the catering account.
But nobody got dinners without paying when I was at school. Besides, who is to know the child isn't withholding his dinner money so he can buy burgers or chips on the way home?

Angry Exile said...

“You wouldn’t go into a restaurant and demand a lunch if you had no money.” Oh, I don't know. Some people would, if they thought they could get away with it...

Some people... like Gordon Brown in his student days perhaps? Remember the news of his pamphlet on scrounging? No wonder there are people who think paying for things is something that other people do.

WV: 'mongs'. Yes, really. I'm going to screen cap it and put it in a screensaver.

Fat Hen said...

Let's hope those people don't have pets...

JuliaM said...

"I once presented this as a moral dilemma to a group of schoolchildren and was amazed at how many thought it perfectly acceptable. Perhaps their parents, too, didn't bother to send in the correct dinner money on time."

We're doomed... :(

"I'll bet the cunt doesn't "forget" to take enough money to feed his own face at work."

Oh, I'll bet!

"If they get the highly motivated children of pushy middle-class parents (Mr Banks anyone?) to stop paying for lunch, overnight the number of children on free school meals getting good exam grades rockets."

Heh! Never thought of that.. ;)

"It makes you wonder how some people manage to remember to breathe."

I wouldn't worry too much if Mr Banks lost his instruction manual for that, let's say...

JuliaM said...

"Enforce the poicy long enough and non-payers will either die of starvation or get their wallets out. I don't really care which."

Me neither. It'll teach the junior Banks kids a valuable lesson.

"It should be possible to pay in advance, eg for a whole term. And pay by cheque so your kids aren't transporting large amounts of money."

It seems the school offers just that. And is considering even more options. I doubt they'll work with some, though. The problem, after all, isn't the process, but the people.

"Remember the news of his pamphlet on scrounging? No wonder there are people who think paying for things is something that other people do."

Most of his MPs think that, after all. And most of all the other MPs!

"Let's hope those people don't have pets..."

These people are pets. Pets of the Labour Party.

Anonymous said...

Julia M, I'm pretty sure that you don't have children. Don't...ever.

JuliaM said...

Care to expand on that, anon?

Or do you think there's absolutely nothing wrong with letting other people feed your child because you are too busy and/or dim to do so?

Henry Crun said...

I'm not surprised that Mr. Banks's children don't take their dinner money in on time. Mary Poppins used to take care of that sort of thing, but what with the recession and everything, he had to let her go.

Bessie said...

Missing lunch for one day isn't going to kill the little darlings. Within two years, Emily Banks, now just 11, will be voluntarily missing lunch every day. Teenage girls are more grumpy than normal humans even when adequately fed, so her parents and teachers won't notice.

Anonymous said...

I'm not defending feckless parents but objecting to your solution to this problem. If you're happy to let a young chid go without in order to punish the parents, then yes, I think you're wrong.

When my children were at primary school a few years ago there was an awareness that some parents didn't pay up. Invariably, they were from the poorer part of the catchment and all the staff (teachers and dinner ladies) who worked with those children were very careful not to make the child feel ashamed or guilty. In these really difficult times, when a lot of people are struggling, a bit of tolerance goes a long way.

As for those who are clearly taking the piss...ring them up, bring them into the office, threaten or cajole. Just don't make an exhibition of the kids.