Why checking IDs for a free school lunch is a bad idea: Insights from a WHS student

Schools across the United States have implemented programs that offer free lunches to students. While the program aims to provide a nutritional meal to students who may not have access to one, some schools require students to use their school IDs to receive the free lunch. This requirement has been met with criticism, and here’s why:

Firstly, requiring students to use their school IDs to get free lunches creates a sense of shame and stigma for those who cannot afford to pay for their meals. When students are singled out for using their ID, it can create a feeling of embarrassment and shame. No student should be made to feel less than their peers because of their financial situation, and the requirement of school IDs for free lunches reinforces this harmful behavior. 

Secondly, this requirement can also lead to issues with student privacy. While schools may argue that using IDs is necessary for administrative purposes, it can create a situation where student information is tracked and monitored. This can lead to a violation of privacy rights, as students may feel like their every move is being watched. Ashley Banger a Junior at Washington says that ‘’This process is weird this has not ever happened in my years at Washington. When thinking about it I feel like my own information about myself is being watched whenever I get lunch!’’

Thirdly, requiring students to use their IDs for free lunches can create logistical issues. Not all students may have their IDs on hand, or they may have lost or forgotten them. This can cause delays in the lunch line, leading to wasted time and potentially wasted food. Angelica Singh, a senior here at WHS explains “I think it’s a waste of time, to be honest”. Moreover, she goes on to explain how “it just slows down the lunch line so much. Students have to dig through their backpacks or wallets to find their IDs, and if they don’t have them on them, it takes even longer. It’s just a huge hassle that doesn’t really seem necessary.” Her explanation highlights that it is possible for some students to forget or misplace their IDs, which can result in delays at the lunch line and ultimately lead to food waste. When making decisions that affect the daily lives of students, it is important to consider the practicality of implementation. A system that does not depend on school IDs could potentially be a more efficient and practical solution to ensure that all students have access to a free lunch without unnecessary delays or food waste.

Lastly, this requirement can also create unnecessary costs for schools. Schools may have to invest in new equipment or software to track IDs, which can be expensive. These costs can be avoided by implementing a system that does not rely on IDs. 

In conclusion, while free lunch programs are a positive step towards ensuring that students have access to a nutritious meal, requiring students to use their school IDs for these meals creates more harm than good. It creates a sense of shame and stigma for those who cannot afford to pay, can lead to privacy violations, and can create logistical issues. A system that does not rely on IDs should be implemented to ensure that all students can access a free lunch without feeling stigmatized or embarrassed.

Manjinder Singh is a Junior at Washington High School. He grew up in Union City, and he moved to Fremont when he was six years old. This is his first year at the Washington High School newspaper, The Hatchet. He is interested in sports and technology. During his free time he enjoys spending time with friends and family. Additionally, he likes playing sports (specifically basketball). His future plans are to spend two years at Ohlone community college and to transfer to a UC. He has a strong will, and believes he can do anything he puts his mind to.

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