The title of this blog entry sounds like something a bully would tell some poor hapless kid in the schoolyard. But this message was conveyed most recently by an Idaho Junior High School.

When the kids were $600 in the red for their hot lunch meals, the school tried contacting parents for payment. And then they went to the students themselves when they came to the cafeteria. When all this failed, the lunch crew decided to make a public mockery of the kids who hadn’t paid up.

The school officials took their hot lunches and dumped them into the trash! They then handed them brown bag lunches! In front of EVERYONE!

What on earth? These are junior high students! They are KIDS! Why humiliate them like this! The main point here is that the PARENTS are the ones responsible for the meals of their children. The PARENTS owe that $600, not the students themselves. I don’t know any parent who would make their 11, 12, or 13-year-old pay for their own meals at school! This debt falls on the parents, not the students.

I can understand not wanting to go any further into the red. I can understand the frustration school employees must have felt from unresponsive parents. But don’t take it out on the kids by humiliating them in front of their peers. Why the need to dump their food into the trash? Why waste perfectly good food? Why not take that food to a shelter or save it for the next kid in line?

Public humiliation has its role in our society when it comes to punishing criminals (creative sentences like wearing sandwich boards that admit crimes committed for all to see). But these kids are hardly criminals. If anything, it’s the parents that need the steady pressure to pay up.

The parents and the school employees are the adults here. It’s time that all of them start acting like it.