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Letter to the Editor: Column was insensitive, close-minded

Elizabeth Medina

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I am writing this letter in response to the column I read titled “Are We Punishing the Poor Enough?” by Colin Roberts.

First, let me say as not only a graduate student and a staff member of this university I am beyond disappointed and beyond disgusted we are letting a student write garbage about children. Because that’s what this article is. Garbage written by a self-titled white male that thinks he has the right to write such an article and call it “journalism.”

Let me tell you something about America, about decency and about things we do as a country for our children. It is the job of the school system to keep our children safe, healthy, educated and engaged.

I was never an underprivileged child growing up so I did not need to worry about free or reduced lunches, but I knew other children did. Those children, more times than not, were children of single parents. Parents who lived below the poverty line not by choice, but because they were doing the best job they could.

If the one place a child can get a meal is at school, then parents are so incredibly grateful. About three years ago I worked for a school district in the school dining department and managed student accounts and working within the guidelines of the National Lunch Program. It was not a fun job.

I gave out dollars and quarters to kids who wanted milk or juice or were just short of enough money for a slice of pizza. More good people exist that are willing to help kids than shun them in front of everyone. That simply does not happen.  

They may pull the student aside and tell them, “Sorry, Johnny you can’t have the chicken nuggets today but you can have a PB&J, milk and carrot sticks.”

And they send a note home to the parents or call them.  Negative student lunch accounts are handled like overdue credit cards and calls and letters are sent. It is not up to a school to refuse a child a meal. I have never met a school that would refuse a helpless child a lunch due to an overdue balance.

Now, let me invite you and Colin to a local elementary school. I will even call on behalf of myself and Colin to watch a student lunch service and what happens when a student does not have enough money in their account.

He can take his close-minded free market garbage and stick it. He can stand there and personally shake the hand of every single student he kicked into the dirt and spit on because they are poor.  You punishing people for being poor makes you heartless and undeserving of ever bringing a child into this world.

It also means you better have $500 in your bank account at all times; otherwise, you get nothing. You do not get to run your mouth and target the most innocent piece of the American population we have.

I think about my husband being deployed in the Army to the Middle East four times, Asia twice and South America twice; he missed the birth of our first child. I instantly cringe that he fights for people like you Colin- snotty college students on a pedestal that will never buck up or shut up on issues you think are below you. 

I would rather stand with Putin and feed the children than stand with any man on this planet that refuses food to a child. 

Stop Colin.

Stop kicking puppies and looking down from your high horse on the “poor” community.

How dare you?

P.S.- let me know when you want to make that elementary school visit. I’ll make a reservation. I hear you really enjoy two pieces of white bread and a slice of cheese.

Elizabeth Medina is a graduate student in the School of Technology.

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Letter to the Editor: Column was insensitive, close-minded