I’m taking a sabbatical from Facebook. Since joining in 2009, I’ve mostly enjoyed social media. I mean, social media did give me THIS blog platform and you beautiful people who check in, so there’s a love factor of a billion-and-three for what can happen online.
I’ve enjoyed catching up and keeping up with family far and wide, old friends as well as the new ones I’ve met online. This week I read a post written and responded to by some people from my distant past. The posts and comments read like they’re planning the next coup attempt, so I know they’re probs not the online crowd for me. I found the original poster’s opening comment fairly ludicrous in the way of his blatant entitlement, and the responses were peppered with messages of hate, racism, and falsehoods too numerous to list. I stopped reading. And I’m stopping reading for a while anyway. Gross.
On the opposite end of this creep’s entitlement comes an email from our school district. You may not know that public school districts do this, honestly I wouldn’t expect most people do. Most of you enjoy the great fortune not to need food assistance, so wouldn’t understand the genuine need of the 82.6% of the students in my school district identified as economically disadvantaged. This means that fewer than 20% of students’ families in our district make enough money not to qualify for free or reduced lunch. My children are eligible for free lunch, attending school in our resident district, so maybe reset your visual of free lunch recipients. As a parent, this email hit hard. We are off on Monday, and students continue their break through Tuesday, so our schools are offering three takeaway meals per student per day for three days.
I’ve never known hunger, and I’ve never been unable to provide food for my children, even when my husband had been unemployed for extended periods of time. For more than 80% of the kids and families in our district–my children’s classmates included–hunger is real. I’ve had Monday morning students tell me that they haven’t eaten since Friday school lunch; this is not an urban legend deal. I get a little snippy when my own kids bitch that the fridge is “kinda empty” or that the shelves are bare and they’re starving. Child, you are NOT starving. Their greatest hardship in this scenario is that I haven’t had the oomph to shake my butt to the grocery store.
Three meals a day for three days, and a pizza.
People rail against our district. We are an enormous urban district unlike any other system of schools in any geographic region in the state, and we get all the bad press. Now to be fair, I’m not in love with each and every decision the board makes. I’m not here to sell you the bill of goods that my employer is above reproach; when you mess up, there should follow the fix-up. My employer has done me wrong and done me wrong BAD, and y’all know I hold a grudge.
But NO ONE does what our district does in terms of meeting the most basic needs in Maslow’s pyramid: safety, shelter, and food, NO ONE. You can’t reach the top of Maslow’s pyramid–self-actualization, critical thinking, self-esteem–until the base layers are met first.
So when good press is deserved, and it is very much deserved, you won’t see this story lead the 5:00 local news broadcast, or maybe it was on Facebook, and I missed it in my absence. Go, public schools!