A few weeks ago I poked fun at Montana State Superintendent of Schools Denise Juneau when she gleefully reported to the DNC that in Montana “sometimes school is the only place where our kids can get a hot meal and a warm hug.”
Aside from being a direct insult to Montana parents, I thought it was just hyped-up rhetoric for the victim-worshippers assembled at the convention. But maybe I was wrong.
Now the president of the Montana Rural Education Association, Tim Tharp, has made the same claim. On “Voices of Montana” with radio host Aaron Flint, Tharp also described “students who come from homes where they don’t always get a good breakfast or have a lot of good food waiting for them when they get home. We have a lot of kids in poverty across Montana. They get 10 good meals a week, and that’s what they get- breakfast and lunch at school.”
If this is true – if, in spite of all the numerous assistance and food stamp programs available – there are parents who don’t care enough about their children to even FEED THEM, we have a lot bigger problem in Montana than Michelle Obama’s menu. What in the world is our Montana Dept. of Health and Human Services doing? This is blatant child abuse and neglect.
And I submit that if Ms. Juneau (and perhaps Mr. Tharp) has first-hand knowledge of child abuse and fails to report it, they are culpable too.
Like all moral adults, I want kids to have nutritious and enjoyable meals. I would have no problem if lunch was part of the school budget and provided free for all students, regardless of income. I would, however, expect parents to take care of feeding their children at home, not only as a parental responsibility, but also as a constructive and enjoyable family activity.
What concerns me are the repeated claims that many Montana parents are neglecting their children and it is apparently acceptable behavior. If that’s true, shame on all of us, for turning our backs on the social mechanisms that once prevented child neglect.
Is it possible that many Montana parents who actually do love their children, and actually are able to feed them as generations before have done, have decided “if the government will buy all of my childrens’ meals, maybe I should use our family money for something else?”
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side