Point: Should all students receive free lunch regardless of income?

Sam Rothenberg, Staff Writer

High school academics are challenging enough; students are busy completing labs, studying for exams, writing extensive essays, and participating in extracurriculars that are both interesting and helpful in supporting personal growth. It is difficult for the average student, but try balancing it with friendships, families, and finding time to relax and unwind.

Now imagine doing it all on an empty stomach.

Unfortunately, this is a frightening and blunt reality for many teenage students in the United States. According to the New York Times, “860,000 free or subsidized meals are served daily in New York City alone.” Food is a necessity for students, and if schools want their students to perform, they have to give them the vital tools to do so. Therefore, public schools nationwide should strive to serve free lunch, for every student, in order to protect the best interests of the younger generation.

Many public schools have a tight annual budget making it di cult to add on to expenses. Schools have to spend taxpayer money on books, desks, and classrooms. The states collect so much money in taxes, but it seems that there is just not enough money.

Providing free lunch and other benefits to students costs money, and most districts’ taxes aren’t enough to cover those expenses. Schools would go into debt if they distributed free lunches. SNA’s 2019 School Nutrition Trends Report revealed that 75% of districts had unpaid meal debt and the amount of debt has grown substantially in recent years.

Despite these potential problems, it may just be necessary for schools to provide free lunch to students coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A study completed by e No Kid Hungry Foundation found that more than 11 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes. That means those families don’t have enough food for every family member to lead a healthy life. Since those families have nothing to eat, the children get smaller portions than they need.

Families that can provide adequate food produce children who achieve higher average SAT and ACT scores. If America wants to be known as the land devoted to giving children equal opportunity, it needs to start by giving every student the ability to have a meal each day.

“I do not think I could function as well as I normally do without lunch. Lunch allows me to stay focused on work in class,” said freshman Davin Rabman.

In our society, we have many issues that result in the lower class not getting the resources they need, but having to pay for school lunch should never be a concern for a parent who is struggling financially.

America keeps falling behind other countries in average standardized test scores. In order for the U.S.A. to have the best results in our education system, every student should get the opportunity to perform to the highest of one’s potential.

As a country, we need to unite to help those who have difficulty advocating for themselves. It is necessary for laws to be passed from local legislatures all the way to the federal level.