Home / General / Deadbeat elementary school kids launch first phase of Kristallnacht 2.0 by trying to steal lunch from hedge fund managers

Deadbeat elementary school kids launch first phase of Kristallnacht 2.0 by trying to steal lunch from hedge fund managers



The corndog is the gefilte fish of liberal fascism:

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City picked up their lunches Tuesday, then watched as the meals were taken and thrown away because of outstanding balances on their accounts — a move that shocked and angered parents.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South . . .

Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said the district’s child-nutrition department became aware that Uintah had a large number of students who owed money for lunches.

As a result, the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches to deal with the issue, he said.

But cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained.

The workers then took those lunches from the students and threw them away, he said, because once food is served to one student it can’t be served to another.

Children whose lunches were taken were given milk and fruit instead.

Olsen said school officials told the district that their staffers typically tell students about any balances as they go through the lunch line and send home notifications to parents each week.

The district attempted to contact parents with balances via phone Monday and Tuesday, Olsen said, but weren’t able to reach them all before the child-nutrition manager decided to take away the students’ lunches.

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  • medrawt

    Look, one of our schools’ most important charges is to teach our children the importance of personal responsibility, and there’s only so long we can shelter them from the consequences of being so irresponsible as to have been born to poor parents.

    • DrDick

      That pogrom against the rich is looking more attractive by the hour.

      • mojrim

        It seems like they’re actively promoting said Kristallnacht, does it not?

        • Alan in SF

          I called Tom Perkins an obscenely wealthy out-of-touch sociopath, and he punched me in the face with his $380,000 watch.

  • John Protevi

    The ghost of Orwell is gnashing his teeth for having missed out on “child-nutrition manager.” “Damned clever of those Yanks,” said the spectre.

  • totally not ok

    That dude needs to be fired.

    • Siege
    • And then someone should come along and offer him a job, wait for him to show up at work and then say “oh sorry, we didn’t mean to offer you that job, go home loser”

      • Ralphie

        While this seems a bit strong on the face of it, I keep wondering about the underlying issue of the parents and why they shoulder no blame for providing for their kids.

        • sibusisodan

          What underlying issue? Some kids had outstanding balances on their accounts – we have no info as to how large those were – and the school had a mechanism for ensuring the parents knew about it.

          Which got preempted by some heavy handed ridiculous from on high.

          Having an outstanding balance on a lunch account is a nonentity as regards parental success, specially if its only a few bucks.

          But what do I know? I had to pay library fines as a child because we didn’t get the books back in time. My parents were clearly shiftless.

          • sharculese

            Ralphie is Jenny, fyi.

        • southend

          Translation: “I can’t defend the indefensible, but dammit, I’ve got to try to at least mitigate it!”

        • Barry

          I would ask if you realized that that’s not the point of the article, but that would be futile, because you don’t.

        • mojrim

          You’re kidding, right?

      • Gary K

        Not a dude apparently, however.

  • Chris Campbell

    There is something very telling in a mindset that would rather throw food in the trash than give it to someone who is hungry. In both cases the previous “owner” of the food receives no payment for it. The only thing I can see at work here in these minds is pure spite. It’s the mindset of a small child who would break his own toy rather than share it with another child. When a child does it, I think good parents (I do not have children, so this is an opinion not informed by experience, but a considered opinion just the same) rightfully correct the behavior. How is it that when it is engaged in by “adults” some view it as being some kind of “hero of capitalism”. I think it’s an emotional disorder.

    • Matt

      I believe the sufferers prefer to refer to the condition as “having conservative values”.

      The “we can’t have it so we’re gonna break it” mentality pretty much sums up the Tea People platform.

      • Yup!

      • rea

        Well, hell, yeah. “You didn’t elect Republicans, so we’re going to break the economy”

    • NonyNony

      The only thing I can see at work here in these minds is pure spite.

      It’s stupidity. The idea is something along the lines of “they won’t pay for it if they get it for free, we have to make sure they’re paying for it, therefore we have to make sure that they don’t get it for free.” This then leads to the bone-headed irrational decision of giving them food and then taking it back to throw it away. That isn’t even spite it’s just stupid.

      If you’re going to go down this route, then what needs to be done is a change to the system, so that the cafeteria workers at the front of the line know which kids get lunch and which kids get fruit and milk. Until you’ve made that change to the system you leave everything else alone.

      Of course my preferred solution would be to raise taxes so that every kid gets a lunch as part of the cost of the school day. But when I bring this up I’m apparently a Communist for wanting to make sure that kids get fed regardless of whether their parents are serial fuck-ups or not.

      • Siege


        I don’t know SLC, but frankly I assume this was actually a bunch of middle class kids whose parents forgot to send a check. Or maybe their debit card got reissued because they shopped at Target and their autopay didn’t process. Or some bully took their lunch money and they were too ashamed to admit it. So the cafeteria workers say, “Oh, we know this kid is good for it and will pay the balance eventually” and let the line keep moving.

        The only way anyone looks at the situation and thinks “Take away their lunch after we give it to them, that’ll solve the problem” is if they’re monumentally stupid.

        • catclub

          I can understand going through the lunch line and making a list of those who, TOMORROW, will be told they need to pay up.

          This is just asinine.
          I can imagine them having to do the same thing every day because they never bother to make the list.

          • Patricia Kayden

            Right. Let the kids eat today, notify the parents of the missed payments with a warning that their children will not get anymore lunches on date X. This is just stupid. Heads should roll.

        • drkrick

          This happened to us when the number of the card linked to the lunch account was changed because of some kind of data breach. The notice of the problem went to an email account that had been abandoned when we went to broadband internet in the years since we’d last had to deal with the account. Luckily, my kid’s lunchroom wasn’t run by asshats so we were able to deal with it without this kind of cruel stupidity.

      • efgoldman

        That isn’t even spite it’s just stupid.

        Spite and stupid are in no way mutually exclusive.

      • dejalynn


        Giving all the kids free lunch AND breakfast worked out just fine where I grew up. And get this, the program still exists IN TEXAS of all places. Yet somehow no one cries socialism or communism or moochers.

    • Trollhattan

      A dazzling display of humanity and dignity from Mormonlandia. We could have had Mittens raining this brand of human kindness upon our collective heads for a whole year by now, but noooooo, we had to reelect the Kenyan usurper.

      • NonyNony

        Dude, some Mormons are assholes. Also some Buddhists are assholes. And some atheists are assholes.

        You can use any religion to justify any action you want. And assholes of every stripe do it.

        Overall, in my experience Salt Lake City didn’t have more or fewer assholes per capita than any other city I’ve been to.

        • Trollhattan

          I’ve had quite a few bidnez excursions to the SLC area and if there’s one overarching reality, it’s that the church affects every aspect of how the place is run, including the governmental power structure.

          In my view, it stands apart in that respect from anywhere else I’ve been in the country.

          • Western Dave

            Except this same scenario has played out in all parts of the country. I’ve read articles like this in NJ, PA, and Delaware (I’m in Philly) and at least once a year some ass-hat gets it wrong on this issue in the exact same way.

            • Trollhattan

              That, I don’t doubt one bit.

        • Tom Servo

          The only thing I have against Mormons is the aggressive, almost insidious and vaguely threatening (ok I’m exaggerating) forced friendliness.

          • Tom Servo

            I should add, based on the 4 I knew in my law school class.

        • Zachary Smith

          “Dude, some Mormons are assholes.”

          And as you say, obviously most aren’t. So far I’ve seen no hint about the religion of the guilty parties. And Salt Lake city is supposed to be about 50/50 Mormons and ifidels.

          In fact, I’ve not really got a handle yet on who those guilty people were. I’ve read that the cafeteria manager and her boss have been placed on paid leave. I’ve also read that the same manager was seen crying when she was enforcing the rule. It’s really too early to tell.

          In the course of trying to find out what happened, I blundered into another story – from Salt Lake city.


          They’re about to end homelessness by giving each of them an apartment! Seems that’s cheaper than prison and all. Somebody out there has his head screwed on right!

          Regarding the lunches, I’m in favor of giving every kid who attends public school a taxpayer-funded meal. Planning for the cafeteria meals would be easier, and the kids would get at least one square meal that day.

  • Manju

    Hey, the offender in question is a Venture Capitalist, not Hedge Fund Manager. Why is that important? B/c the latter is more Republican; former Democratic.

    Also, Ayn Rand didn’t do Liberal Fascism AFAK. Plus, she was right about Communism. Pete Seeger? Not so much.

    • sharculese

      Throwing a tantrum tangentially related to correct things is not the same as being right.

      • DrDick

        The next time Manju is right about anything will be the first time.

      • Manju

        I’m just goofing around. I mean, its not as much of a goof as the putting Byrd’s words in my mouth incident a few months back was…those things I didn’t believe at all.

        But I’m not genuinely pissed off here either. Just being glib.

        • sharculese

          Does it never bother you that nobody can tell the difference between the insane things you believe and the insane things you mistakenly think are jokes?

          • Manju

            Well, its understandable.

            When I’m in serious disagreement with the zeitgeist here, I’m usually focused on a handful of issues where you guys are indeed in “tax cuts pay for themselves” mode. Forget civil rights for a moment, that’s too incendiary, and look at the econ posts.

            I know you think what I’m saying is part of some sort of eccentric conspiracy theory. But the views I’m expressing are very very mainstream (among experts). They just seem unconventional because the public hasn’t caught up.

            • sharculese

              When I’m in serious disagreement with the zeitgeist here

              It’s precisely statements like this that make you sound like a crazy person, you know.

              • Manju

                Yes, someone sent by the Rothchild family told me that while we were standing on a grassy knoll near the Fed.

            • Matt T. in New Orleans

              Nah, most people don’t think you’re some sort of fringe but, just a garden variety fool.

    • DrDick

      Again Manju displays his ignorance and prejudice for all to see and laugh at.

      • sharculese

        Democrats earn money like this.

        Republicans earn money like this.

        • Vance Maverick

          Boldly / squarely?

        • Warren Terra

          Italians earn money like this, obviously.

      • Origami Isopod

        Not gonna lie, when I first saw the comment I was wondering which of you was making fun of Manju by parodying trying to parody him.

        • sharculese

          Manju cannot be parodied.

          • Origami Isopod

            Hence my strikeout text above.

          • sparks

            I just wish he wouldn’t get steamed so often.

            • efgoldman

              Well, deep frying that much is unhealthy.

    • Hogan

      I believe the reference is to the favorable tax treatment accorded to the income of hedge fund managers. Obviously only a rank Stalinist would disapprove of such a thing.

      • Manju

        But VC’s get that too.

        • Warren Terra

          They get that tax benefit when they act as fund managers. In theory, a Venture Capitalist could invest their own money.

          • Manju

            Ah yes. Usually we refer to those people as “Angels”, though in the days before VC funds populated silicon valley, they were indeed commonly called “Venture Capitalists”.

    • joe from Lowell

      Venture Capitalist = more Democratic?

      Ummmm…who nominated one to the President last time?

      • Manju

        Romney was not really a VC, as the word is conventionally used. Private Equity is a more accurate term for him. (VC is a form of PE, and yes…he has done at least one start-up investment, but the bulk of Bain Capital’s investments are in more mature companies)

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          yeah, I think we usually referred to him as a “Vulture Capitalist”.

    • Anonymous

      Plus, she was right about Communism.

      No she was not, unless you mean in the broad sense of “communism=wrong”.

      • DrDick

        Even then she was wrong.

    • sibusisodan

      Not buying it. No way did Ted Kennedy ever say those words.

    • Nick

      And yet, Rand’s bizarre fiction is the closest this country ever approached to the Socialist Realism genre.

      • David W.

        Jack London’s novel The Iron Heel (1908) comes closer.

  • I’d like to know what goes through the minds of people like this, who’d throw food away, rather than let the hungry child finish eating it befo…

    Never mind.
    No, I really, really don’t!

  • Gypsy Howell

    The fucking CHILD NUTRICIAN MANAGER decided this was the way to deal with it?

    I hate the human race.

    • Yeah, it sounds better in the original German.

    • Hogan

      Not so much a CHILD NUTRITION manager as a child nutrition MANAGER.

  • Jerry Garcia

    Unproven assertion followed by flailing attempt to change the subject, topped off by utter irrelevancy. You really are a clown.

  • Jerry Garcia

    Meant to be response to Manju upthread.

    • Jerry Garcia

      Is the Reply button broken?

      • Jerry Garcia


        • ExpatChad

          Intermittent. Sometimes…

          • Lee Rudolph

            It was particularly spotty yesterday. (This is meant to be a Reply to “Intermittent. Sometimes…”; we’ll see if it threads that way.)

      • Ahuitzotl

        its prejudiced against recently-dead people. You need to wait a couple of centuries to get any respect

  • Chris Campbell

    And another thing!
    This might be a way to mess with people who think like this:

    If you are throwing the food away, something, eventually, will eat it. It might not be a person, or a pigeon, or a platypus, but it will be eaten by a living organism. Some living being will derive sustenance from that food without them being paid no matter what. So, spiteful food-throw-awayer, you always lose.

    • rm

      Darn you, Lucky Ducky!

    • ericblair

      Some living being will derive sustenance from that food without them being paid no matter what.

      Not if you place it in a capsule and launch it into the Sun. Plus, if you got the Air Force to do it, it would count as wasteful defense spending, and put tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to boot. So it’s a threefer.

    • postmodulator

      You can incinerate it.

      • Chris Campbell

        But the carbon atoms will still find their way back into the ecosystem eventually. Maybe not today, maybe not in a hundred years, but someday. Bwa-ha-ha-ha! Moochers for the win!

        • njorl

          Yeah but the activation energy used to transform that carbon to a carbohydrate will have been saved from consumption in a glorious orgasm of conservative compassion.

    • tallyghast

      the answer is obviously to convince them it’s good for the environment

  • BlueLoom

    This is shocking almost beyond belief. There are over 1,000 comments to the original article, most of them saying that everyone whose fingerprints are on this incredible act of stupidity should resign or be fired.

    One commenter quotes Mark Twain (I’ve never heard this Twain-ism before) as having said, “First God made Idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.”

    Can’t disagree with that.

  • mjtp

    It’s only a loss if they value human children over, say, rats and scavenger birds. Otherwise it’s a wash, and this way they’ve stuck a blow for their Randian principles!

    • mjtp

      Ack. Meant to be a reply to Chris Campbell above.

  • If I’m on the jury, the child nutrition mangler, the school district, and UTAH are going to end up in private hands.

    Rather capitalist of me, actually.

  • g

    My mind is boggled by this part:

    But cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches

    How can that possibly be true? How would that work?

    • Ideally, the cafeteria workers are in it to feed the children and don’t particularly give a good goddammit about any list.


    • NonyNony

      The computer that has the kids’ debit information is at the end of the line. Because you don’t want to take money out of an account until you verify that the kid has a lunch, and the safest way to do that is to take the kid’s pin info when you see they have a lunch in hand.

      It’s just like in the old days when we used cash to pay for our lunches. Nobody took our money until they saw that we had a tray full of food. Partly this is just because that’s how restaurants work and so the same design was followed, but mostly it’s to make sure that a transaction of money for food is actually happening and some cafeteria worker isn’t accidentally (or illegally, I suppose) taking money from kids who then don’t actually get a lunch.

      • NonyNony

        Also I would reiterate – this is a fucked up system. The whole school cafeteria system is fucked up. We should actually just be supplying lunches (and probably breakfasts these days) for every student as part of the “cost of education”, and not having lunch be this “optional” thing that if parents can afford to pay for it, the kids get it. There are plenty of studies linking learning to nutrition, and it is lunacy that we’re still using this model.

        • Anna in PDX

          Yes. This is so stupid, to make kids pay for lunch at all. They are stuck at school all day, not by choice. It provides teachers and books. It should also provide food.

        • Tom Servo

          I almost always had breakfast at school. My catholic high school served breakfast and lunch. And since my father worked so early (and there was no bus by me) I routinely got to school around 7 or as early as 6:45 am, and killed the hour and some before 8 am eating breakfast and doing some reading. And generally not eating lunch. Breakfast at school is underrated, really more important than lunch. I usually skipped lunch.

    • sharculese

      You get in line. You get your lunch. Only then do you go up to the register and have them look at your account. That actually wouldn’t be inconsistent with what I remember of school, although it still doesn’t excuse the sociopathy on display here.

      • That’s weird to me, but only because that’s not what we did. In the ancient history of Oregon public schools in the ’70s, we bought paper lunch tickets (red, IIRC) and milk tickets (gray maybe?) in various quantities beforehand from the office secretary. I remember that a lunch ticket was $0.40 and milk tickets were a nickel.

        Then you gave your tickets to the person at the front of the line, took your one (or two!) milks and either got in line for food (if you had given a red ticket to the nice lady) or took your bagged lunch and milk to your table.

        And if a kid showed up without tickets ’cause they forgot them, or were poor and didn’t have one, either one of us kids would share, or, y’know, the ticket lady would just look the other way. You know, like sane people would.

        • sharculese

          Yeah, by the time I was in school it was all computerized. You could still pay cash, but you could also pay by punching in your four digit pin (the last 4 numbers of your student id number).

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          Wisconsin Public schools in the 70s were wholly socialistic; We just got in line and got a tray of slop.

          It wasn’t great food, but it was free.

          Of course, under Turdwaffle now the kids all have to do drug tests before allowed access to the corporate sponsored vend-o-mats.

          • Wisconsin Public schools in the 70s were wholly socialistic

            And look how you turned out.

            Socialism turns people into zombies!

        • Anna in PDX

          Me too, but that was back in the ’70s (dark ages)

        • j_h_r

          that’s the same thing we did in Northern NJ schools in the 70s/80s. Pink lunch tickets were good for 2 weeks (10 hole punches) and grey milk tickets for 4 (20 punches). The tickets were bought ahead of time with a permission slip from your parents, and the same permission slip (which no one saw but the school secretary) had a box to check off for reduced-price lunch.

          the cafeteria cash registers still accepted cash, of course, but the lunch tickets were very popular and I have no idea to this day (other than evil-minded suspicion) who got reduced price lunch and who didn’t.

        • Zachary Smith

          I’ve zero memory of what the school lunches cost in my day, but the afternoon milk rations were two or three pennies for the little waxed cardboard cartons. The stuff was delivered to my elementary ice cold, and we got drunk on it! To this day I put an ice cube in my milk, and the entire family thinks I’m wacko for it. :D

      • drkrick

        At least in my kid’s school there were options that cost different amounts (salad bar, extra drink or dessert, etc) so they weren’t going to know how much to take out of your account until them. You could swipe the card an additional time at the front of the line to find the “moochers”, but who wants to pay for the extra person to do that?

  • BoredJD

    “This can be easily prevented,” Olsen said. “We need to make sure proper notification goes out to the parents and they have time to put money in the accounts.”

    Sounds reasonable.

    But Olsen said he would not describe the tactic as a mistake.

    “If students were humiliated and upset,” Olsen said, “that’s very unfortunate and not what we wanted to happen.”


    “However, after further investigation, Olsen released an updated statement that was also posted to the district’s Facebook page. It said: “This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize.””

    Fire this guy. If he’s “humiliated and upset” it’s very unfortunate and of course isn’t what we wanted to happen.

    • Warren Terra

      Quite an “if” there.

    • Scotius

      Actually it’s precisely what we want to happen, but I see what you’re saying here.

      • Anna in PDX

        It’s not what I want to happen. It’s just a side effect. I just want him to not be in charge of any children, or decisions affecting them, ever.

    • Tom Servo

      “I’m sorry if anyone was offended.”

  • the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches

    Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, I sort of see a disconnect here…

  • SteveHinSLC

    Okay, I am afraid you are all missing the point. I live in the district just to the west of Uintah, and my wife is the child nutrition administrator for another school in the district.

    This is not about people who can’t afford to pay for their lunches. The people who live in the Uintah Elementary area are well above the average when it comes to income. I have many friends whose kids have gone there. They are not the one-percent, but I would bet that almost all are in the top ten percent. Uintah is in an upper class area.

    And for the people who can’t afford lunch, the district has a very good program for free and reduced lunch. I know people in my school who have used it, and it does not require abject poverty. So if people really can’t afford lunch, they are actually pretty well taken care of. (Utah does not do much else for people of limited means, but the free and reduced lunch program in the Salt Lake District is actually pretty good.)

    My wife and her predecessors in her lunch program have dealt for years with people who just won’t pay their lunch bill. They send out email reminders, they send letters, they call. But many people don’t bother. So the school has had to, on very limited occasions, tell kids that instead of regular lunch today, they can only have a sandwich, fruit, and milk, or some other option. No one goes hungry, and heck, the kids don’t ever get that upset. Luckily, my wife has only had to do that to kids a couple of times in the past several years. But it always bothers the crap out of her when she is forced to do it.

    (And if a parent calls and says he or she can’t pay the bill, the school just lets it slide.)

    Maybe the people at Uintah did not send out enough reminders. But unless there is corroborating evidence, I do not believe a parent who says that he or she did not get a reminder. Instead, I am sure they got a reminder and forgot or blew it off. Heck, when I forget to pay the phone bill and I have to try to get a penalty reduced, I always tell them I didn’t get the bill. But either way, if I forget to pay my phone bill, I know it’s my fault, so I don’t call the TV station to blame the phone company. Similarly, the people who failed to pay their lunch bills should just own up to their own responsibility.

    • sharculese

      Welp. I’m convinced. This anecdotal evidence makes it sound like this dude actually had a perfectly good excuse for shaming children in front of their peers.

    • I’m with you right up to the part where the Child Nutrition Manager decides that a good solution is to remove a lunch from a child’s hands and throw it in the motherfucking trash.

      • Warren Terra

        Yes, this. Even if every thing in this comment is true – and I see no reason it wouldn’t be – and this action was the result of affluent-but-lazy/greedy/thoughtless/terrible parents not paying their bills, the response was to humiliate children. That was not appropriate. Send the bailiffs round, or whatever – but don’t stand in front of a lunchroom full of kids and say “this kid here’s mother didn’t pay the lunch tab, and he’s now going to be punished in front of all of his peers”.

      • sharculese

        I’m honestly not with him for any part of it and kind of respond to the the statement ‘some undetermined number of non-payers are affecting the bottom line of a program designed to make sure school-aged children get decent nutrition with a resounding ‘ppphhhhhtttttbbbbtttt’.

    • Scotius

      Oh we get the point just fine. Those 40 children got to be humiliated in front of their peers because the school couldn’t figure out how to collect from their parents. The cherry on top for the children must have been watching the lunch that was taken away from them get tossed in the trash.

      • Cute kid ya got … real pity if anything were to happen to her …

        A classic collection remedy! Certain troubling aspects of Carthaginian culture are explained! Those kids’ parents didn’t pay the lunch bills!

    • BoredJD

      Guys, look, I’m not saying it’s necessarily a great thing to tattoo the amount of an unpaid lunch bill on the child’s forehead. But, it’s like, come on. It’s really hard to send out reminders over a listserv and that $12.50 is a lot of money. Won’t someone think about the emotional strain this puts on the poor debt collectors?

      • SteveHinSLC

        I take it by “debt collectors” you mean “people who work for nine bucks an hour to feed the kids”?

        • BoredJD

          Hey, something good has come out of the war on public sector unions:

          Kelly R Orton
          Director I
          Salt Lake City School District

          Jason R Olsen
          Public Information Officer
          Salt Lake City School District


          • wengler

            Interesting that one of these sites would care to post administrator salaries. I suppose these attack sites like to make people think that they are unionized too.

            • BoredJD

              They might be just a “less government spending” site that would also post salaries of legislators or judges.

              • DrS

                Of course, if those positions with same salaries were with privatized school adminstration corporations, that would just be the free market at work.

                • Of course, if those positions with same salaries were with privatized school adminstration corporations, that would just be the free market at work be too low.

            • Tristan

              They do it specifically so they can conflate the two. There’s some union negotiation bullshit going on where I live recently, and the telling phrase our Eternal Conservative Government uses when talking about wages is ‘public service workers’ as opposed to ‘unionized workers’, and then pointing at the mathematical average in fake shock.

    • Siege

      Heck, when I forget to pay the phone bill and I have to try to get a penalty reduced, I always tell them I didn’t get the bill.

      Similarly, the people who failed to pay their lunch bills should just own up to their own responsibility.

      I don’t even…

      • Scotius

        So SteveHinSLC admits he lies about his bills but expects these children’s parents to be honest about theirs?

        • Tristan


    • Trollhattan

      Gosh, if only there were a way to check the student demographics of Uintah Elementary. If only….


      Hey, look at that, 14% low income of a student body of 553. That’s 77 kids who probably qualify for a lunch subsidy.

    • Patricia Kayden

      Why was throwing away the lunches a good idea?

    • Ni

      Your wife has done this on rare occasions? There were dozens of kids punished in this case, so probably a system fk up.

      Also I don’t think these kids got sandwiches.

      • sharculese

        Per the article they got milk and fruit. All the nutrition a growing body needs!

    • NonyNony

      Notice that most people are objecting that the kids were handed lunches which were then taken back from them and finally thrown into the trash. If the kids had been handed fruit and milk at the beginning instead of a lunch, it would not have even been a news story to comment on

      The manager here is an idiot. I’m wondering if the idiot in question was actually a close friend or something because defending the idea that lunches should be thrown away instead of coming up with a solution that involves, I don’t know, NOT throwing away food, strikes me as a stupid windmill to set your lance against.

      • BoredJD

        I mean, if we’re speculating about motives here, it’s reasonable to speculate that the manager wouldn’t have completely wasted the food unless trying to send a “message” to the parents.

        • Hogan

          Back in my day they’d lock us in the boiler room until our parents paid up. That’s how you send a message.

    • wengler

      Actually, there is still no reason to take away kids’ lunches and throw them in the trash can. I don’t really know what point you are trying to make.

    • Rob in CT

      This is almost literally unbelievable.

      Not the bit about the parents probably being able to pay. That may well be true. That’s also totally not the point, which you missed by a Country Mile.

    • Hogan

      Publish the names of the deadbeats in the local newspaper, and then give the kids a damn lunch. That way the right person gets shamed and humiliated and the kids get fed.

      There. Was that so hard?

      • sharculese

        I am not sure I am completely comfortable with this either although it’s certainly better, just because I can easily imagine so right-wing asshole reading that their kid’s classmate’s parent is STEALING FROM THE SCHOOL passing it on via rant at the dinner table, and having the kid becoming the target of mockery anyway.

        • Hogan

          Yeah, I guess it needs some refinement.

          Nelson: My old man can’t get a beer because his old man won’t give a bear to another old man. Let’s get him!
          Jimbo: Wait! Why are we gettin’ him?
          Martin: Look, gentlemen. The first snapdragon of the season!
          Nelson: Never mind. Let’s just get _him_!

    • cornelius mccracken

      Utah does not do much else for people of limited means, but the free and reduced lunch program in the Salt Lake District is actually pretty good.

      That’s a federal program. Utah doesn’t even do that for its kids.

      • SteveHinSLC

        Fair point.

        • Oh come on, don’t you want to tell us that in your wife’s district they do things differently?

          • SteveHinSLC

            No. Because everything I’ve been saying here is what I actually believe, based on what I have actually observed or heard. (Anyway, my kids/wife’s school is in the same district as Uintah.)

            I may lie to get out of paying a late fee to the bloodsucking phone company, but not you guys.

            I’ve spent enough time in the elementary school lunchrooms over the past years that I really do not think the kids would be humiliated by being told that instead of hot dogs and tater tots, they would have to eat fruit today because their folks forgot to pay the lunch balance. It’s so chaotic in there that no one knows what’s happening to other kids.

            My 8th-grade son reminded me this afternoon that the “no food for you” actually happened to him once this year, at his school – another one in the district. They didn’t take food away or throw it out, but he was given the basic lunch one day because I stupidly forgot to put money into the account.

            He didn’t report any humiliation, though it’s probably not a fair comparison since he’s older than the kids at Uintah.

            • Tristan

              It’s so chaotic in there that no one knows what’s happening to other kids

              Sounds like a system your wife should be proud to be a part of!

              • SteveHinSLC

                Yes, she is. As am I. It’s an amazing program. They make all their food there, fresh, using actual food as ingredients, so they don’t have to serve the prefabricated institutional stuff the district would otherwise provide. (http://ocslc.org/about/lunch-room/) And the people there bust their asses to make the program work, despite the district deciding that they aren’t important enough to be anything other than part-time hourly employees.

                But what do I know. I was only on the budget and steering committees during the first three years the program (and the school) existed, had two kids go through the school, ate in the lunchroom many times every year, and had a wife who is the nutrition administrator the past few years.

                I guess I’m sensitive on this because when I heard the story yesterday, I just thought “there but for the grace of God.” My wife has been in the situation many times of trying to figure out how to get people to pay their lunch bills. A decent lunch program isn’t cheap, and when you are trying to provide a quality education in a state ranked 47th in per-student funding, every dollar counts. Yet you wouldn’t believe how indignant people get at being reminded that they have to pay what they agreed to pay – and again, these aren’t people on the subsidies or the ones who lost their jobs or just got divorced. I could easily see the story being about her instead of the people at Uintah.

            • Jay B.

              It’s still insane. Maybe, maybe, if parents don’t pay for half a year or so, steps should be taken to not allow the child to receive school lunches — and those steps better include about a hundred letters and emails first — or the student should be shunted to the free/subsidized lunch rolls, because that’s the normal, decent thing to do if the kid relies on school lunches to EAT.

              That you don’t pay your phone bill late fees isn’t remotely the fucking same as giving kids food and then throwing it away by taking it away from them.

              What would be simple and more effective for both you AND the school district perhaps would be to simply link your account for automatic payments avoiding both humiliating students for no reason and to avoid late fees altogether.

    • Tristan

      Besides, how else will kids learn that authority figures may publicly humiliate you while wasting both their and your time at any moment for reasons you had no idea you could even try to avoid beforehand?

  • BoredJD

    “Okay, I am afraid you are all missing the point.”

    [Proceeds to miss the point]

  • Gwen

    Wow, this is really cruel nonsense.

    You’re running a child nutrition program. “Getting paid” has got to be a secondary concern… certainly doing anything that hurts kids *until after* you’ve done everything up-to-and-including suing the deadbeat parents in small claims court… is just beyond the pale.

    • Gwen

      Not that hurting kids is ever acceptable anyway, but if you want to be a dick, there are more appropriate ways of going about it.

  • SteveHinSLC

    I guess I question the premise that the kids were really humiliated.

    None of us were there. So we don’t know. All we have to go on is stories told by the complaining parents. I imagine they were plenty humiliated.

    I’d be surprised if there was a single one of those kids who is even thinking about the event right now – or who would be except for the local TV reporters who were descending on Uintah this morning.

    I do agree that throwing perfectly good food out was a stupid thing to do.

    • sharculese

      Can you back to making arguments based on anecdote? Because it is actually slightly less infuriating than when you straight up admit you are arguing based on your imagination.

      • SteveHinSLC

        I’m arguing based on what I have personally seen, and what my wife has personally seen, over the past eight years in the lunch programs in the Salt Lake City School District.

        Sure, it’s anecdotal, but that has to be more reliable than relying on the local press.

        • sharculese


          • SteveHinSLC

            Don’t you find it more reliable to rely on things you have personally witnessed and experienced than something you read in the newspaper?

            • Trollhattan

              Dangerously close to the “Were you there?” question drilled into home-skewhled kids of the 6000-year-old earth persuasion, to use upon meeting a geologist.

              • SteveHinSLC

                I don’t think it bears any resemblance.

                You are comparing home-skewhled kids to geologists. But geologists who say the earth is more than 6000 years old are basing their conclusions on decades of peer-reviewed studies by experts.

                Here, I am comparing my own personal observations to stories told in the paper by people with an axe to grind. When dealing with observable phenomena, I find my own personal observations to be more reliable than relying on self-interested statements in the newspaper. I have to think that you do as well.

                • Trollhattan

                  Of course you don’t. I’d be surprised flabbergasted had you seen it differently.

                  Now then, how about sharing some of your insights on those “Axe griders”?

                • sharculese

                  stories told in the paper by people with an axe to grind

                  sez you

                • SteveHinSLC

                  By people with an axe to grind, I mean parents who are pissed off that their kids didn’t get lunch yesterday. Do you think angry people are the most credible, reliable source about anything?

                • Jay B.

                  Did you ever actually think WHY they have “an axe to grind”? If you really doubt that the kids were humiliated, and you don’t see that reason to be self-evident, it says a lot more about you than them.

            • And so we reach the bottom of the Concern Troll Barrel.

              Tune in next time for when our contestant wonders if insulting MRAs might be cutting off valuable and healing dialogue.

            • sharculese

              From you? Not in the least.

              • sharculese

                Credibility is earned, and you haven’t earned it. Sorry, kiddo.

                • SteveHinSLC


                  If you are taking the position that something must be true because it’s in the paper, or that you can rely on a local news report the day after an incident to provide all the necessary context, fine.

                  But I think it’s pretty weak to say that someone must not be credible simply because you don’t like what they are saying.

                • Some Random on the Internet

                  Don’t believe everything you read

                • Tristan

                  guys don’t believe everything you see in the news believe everything SteveHinSLC types out instead

                  A message from deranged children’s advertisers

        • John Protevi

          You and / or your wife have personally seen kids getting lunches handed to them and then taken away from them and thrown in the trash and you haven’t done all in your power to stop this disgusting and inhumane practice? What the fuck is wrong with you?

          • Malaclypse

            Forget it, Jake John – it’s Chinatown Deseret.

    • James Gary

      I guess I question the premise that the kids were really humiliated.

      None of us were there. So we don’t know. All we have to go on is stories told by the complaining parents. I imagine they were plenty humiliated.

      Whoa, man, you just totally blew my mind…when you REALLY think about it, how can you say we really “know” anything? I mean, every day further presents innumerable causes and effects, and that’s what everything is. A cause and an effect. Your brain and personality is a mish-mash of everything you’ve seen, read, heard. The entirety of your experience, we are a product of our environments, every single thing, small or large that we have acknowledged in any way becomes part of a kaleidoscope pattern in our mind.

      • sharculese

        If you’re not still reading the God-botherin’ Rod thread, this is literally his argument as to why we on the left (of which he is totally a member) are wrong to turn down our noses at nebulous, unprovable arguments about the superiority of white folks (which he doesn’t agree with, just asking questions.)

        So that’s sample size two, which by his definition qualifies me for the Nobel Prize in Concern Troll Spotting.

        • James Gary

          Well, it *is* sort of amusing when right-wingers deploy hippie-ish (or Deconstructivist, depending on when you went to college) notions of moral relativism. Whatever sticks to the wall, I guess.

          • James Gary

            …although in this case I guess it’s more “the complete subjectivity of human experience” rather than moral relativism. I wish there was an edit button.

    • Warren Terra

      I guess I question the premise that the kids were really humiliated.

      How old were you when you were decanted? Because it’s pretty obvious you were never a kid …

      • ChrisTS

        Honest to gods. I cannot imagine those kids not being humiliated.

        • ChrisTS


          • allium

            Actually, I think the bold worked in context.

          • N__B

            No lunch for you.

            • ChrisTS

              Oh, yeah? Well, it ain’t going in the trash where some scavenging bear can get it, either!

    • Brad Nailer

      “Hey, Tommy, got your lunch money today?” said the pretty little thing Tommy’s had his eyes on for a couple of weeks but is too shy to really talk to. Been there, done that, Steve, and it’s fucked up. Which has nothing to do with the fucking food.

      • sharculese

        But from a completely objective perspective, can we prove definitively that bullying is a thing that doesn’t not happen?

    • I think the real question is how many flapjacks can a jack off jack if a jack off could jack flaps.

      • SteveHinSLC

        C’mon now. There’s no need for the pancake stuff, just because you disagree with my opinion.

        Though I have to admit it was nicely done.

        • DrS

          “All I’m doing is defending taking food out of the hands of hungry children. Why all the hate?”

          • John Protevi


          • Jay B.

            Yeah, I’m not sure I really embrace the whole, “I don’t see how kids can really be humiliated by people grabbing and then throwing away their food in front of their faces, but don’t you see how deep pancake jokes can cut? I mean their are lines, dude. ” kind of argumentation.

            • SteveHinSLC


    • wengler

      I mean school cafeteria food sucks anyways, right? I’m sure the other kids thought they were cool after they had their food taken away and replaced with the official ‘poors’ meal.

    • Tristan

      Better err on the side of the well-compensated bureaucrat, then.

  • Western Dave

    I work at a private school that uses a debit system for lunch. I get the email reminders all the time when money is tight and I’m in arrears. When we have the money, I pay it. Our cafeteria used to lose money hand over fist because of unpaid bills (and it wasn’t the scholarship kids with the unpaid bills, mind you). You know how we fixed that? If your account is in arrears for too long or too much (with too much being hundreds or even thousands of dollars), no report card for the parent, loss of access to the website portal etc. etc.. We hit the parent not the kids. I suppose if it’s really bad, they’d threaten to take you off the snow day closing phone service blast. That would get folks to pay up fast.

  • wengler

    Once again, US prisons give us an example of the equitable distribution of resources that would can only hope to some day emulate in the ‘free world’. Interestingly enough, the companies that run school lunches are also usually the same that provide food for prisons.

  • JDEsq


  • Western Dave

    I’d be surprised if there was a single one of those kids who is even thinking about the event right now – or who would be except for the local TV reporters who were descending on Uintah this morning.

    Yup, it’s all about the outside agitators. Now where have I heard that before?

  • This isn’t a first and it isn’t unique to Utah.

    Students at Robert J. Coelho Middle School in Attleboro were told to throw their school lunches away if they didn’t have lunch credit.

    School officials told FOX 25 that employees of the school lunch vendor, Whitsons School Nutrition, denied lunches to students with outstanding balances or forced them to throw their lunches away over the last two weeks.

    One fifth grader tells FOX 25 she was told to throw out her lunch before she could even take a bite.

    • Hogan

      Of course in that case the kids are being shamed and humiliated by a private contractor, giving them valuable experience for when they enter the workforce.

      • ChrisTS

        Couldn’t they be put to work cleaning the bathrooms to earn their lunch?

        • Hogan

          Why not do both? “You call this toilet clean? No sloppy Joe for you!”

          • Siege

            *Thows sloppy joe in toilet*

            “Now clean it again!”

            • Hogan

              Let me guess–Parris Island?

  • Bitter Scribe

    From the SL Trib article:

    But cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained.


    Was that because those kids drooled extra hard? Or once their hands were occupied with the food trays, it became easier to go through their pockets?

    • Warren Terra

      It’s because, as in the case in every cafeteria I’ve ever seen, you collect your food and then you go to the checkout/cash register. This part of the story is unremarkable; the part that matters is that they decided to humiliate these kids in public for the sins of their parents (and waste food in the process, to boot).

      • wengler

        I went to elementary school 20 years ago but I remember it being both ways. We’d have a laminated card that was put through a scanner at the end of the lunch line but then changed to the beginning of the lunch line.

        It was Oklahoma though, so they probably just caught on that the moochers were getting free lunches doing it the other way. That was also the same time that they switched from reusable plastic trays to environmentally devastating disposable styrofoam trays.

    • Philip

      As was noted up thread, like in most cafeterias the registers are probably at the end of the lines, not the start.

  • Woodrowfan

    Well, everybody has their price. Apparently the Child Nutrition Manager is willing to take food away from a hungry child for only $12.50. I wonder if they’d do it for #10.00? Or $5.00.

    • N__B

      For $5, the kid gets the food but the Child Nutrition Manager spits on it.

  • LeeEsq

    I’m very sure that somebody is going to justify this as necessary practice for the realities of life. Something about the school of hard knocks.

    • Rob in CT

      Been done, upthread.

      • LeeEsq

        I was busy at work today.

        • efgoldman

          No excuses. This blog is a full-time responsibility.

  • efgoldman

    Can’t believe it’s not already here, but…

    ‘Are there no prisons?”
    ’And the Union workhouses.’ demanded Scrooge. ‘Are they still in operation?’
    What shall I put you down for?’ ‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.
    I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.’
    ‘Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.’
    ‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    • ajay

      Hey, at least the workhouses gave you free food.

  • When I read about an incident like this one, I am reminded of two sayings:

    1. Just because you can do something, it does not mean that you should
    2. Rules are for interpretation by the wise, and slavish observance by the foolish.

  • jgh

    Everyone involved in this except the kids is an asshole to some degree.

  • K

    If you’re not going to re use any of the food, why take it, throw it away, and then give them extra food, costing further money, just to piss off a bunch of parents and show all the rich kids who to pick on for being poor? Now you have wasted more money than if you just let it slide, and you have ensured that the phones are ringing off the hooks with pissed parents, and the mailbox is full of hatemail. I suppose, the bitch had to show those grade schoolers she was the big bad bitch in the lunchroom. You know some punklet got right under her skin “I’m not gonna pay, i spent the lunch money on candy, the registers at the end of the line, you cant do nothin’…” she sure knocked that Scooter down a peg, thinks he’s so smart, reading at a 5th grade level in 4th grade. Must suck being her, having to validate your existence by bullying elementary kids.

  • DN

    I’ve read through all the comments here and I’m very disappointed. My partner assures me that most of the parents are thankful. They don’t want their kids to grow up to be takers. They want kids who are makers. Taking that food away from them and throwing it away is exactly what Mitt Romney would have wanted for his kids. The liberal frenzy over this is reminiscent of liberals getting angry at Duck Dynasty. (Ok I don’t know where to go with that – work with me here.) Real parents want their kids to be responsible. Liberals worry if they are hungry. We know which side the god people are on.


  • Anonymous
  • e.a.f.

    the parents couldn’t pay so the children had to go hungry and the food thrown away?. O.K. that is the teabagging republican way. Now where were all those good christian ethics we hear so much about.

    Nice lesson for the children. The administration doesn’t care if they go hungry and embarrass them.

    The official is one “sick” person. How crazy are you Americans?

  • tallyghast

    Like, we could just give a lunch to every kid who wants a lunch.

  • Lee Rudolph
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