criminal warrant may then be obtained for their arrest. If the board would check, I bet the bank the school system uses actually charges the school system a $3 to $5 fee for each bad check they take. For the Weekly to think collection of bad checks is such a bad idea, I hope they give their advertisers who don't pay them the same consideration they want the school board to extend to "dead beat" parents.
While we are on the subject, let me point out that if a family does not make enough to afford their children's lunches, they can apply for free lunch. However, that program has become another pet peeve to me. The program was originally started to help destitute families who could hardly afford groceries at home. Now, the program covers many families who drive late model cars, live in better neighborhoods, and can afford cell phones. The program now extends to cover not only lunches, but field trips and fees for other non-academic programs as well.
If you give free passes for everything, where is a child's incentive?
Back in 1986 my wife Elaine taught kindergarten at Waterville School. That year, our businesses had been doing really well and we bought a new Mercedes. Well, my wife had one child in her class that had head lice, and the mother just refused to buy the right shampoo that would get rid of them. Three days in a row, the child was sent home, and the next morning, here he was back again with a head full of lice. Elaine went and found the already stressed out new principal in the cafeteria, and told him the boy was back again. The principal's face turned beet red, and he lit into her, saying very loudly, "Elaine, you have to understand a lot of these kids aren't raised with a silver spoon in their mouth like you were." Elaine was very hurt, but after she came home and we began to talk about it, we both began to die laughing. We still joke about how we would like to take that principal out to the little weather beaten board house, outhouse in the back yard on a dirt road in Arkansas where she was raised, and challenge him to find that "silver spoon" she was raised with! Where am I going with this? Stay with me.
In about 1986 or 1987, I was eating lunch up at the Holiday Inn and Tobe McKenzie was eating with some executives from out of town. During the meal, Tobe came over to my table and asked, "Joe, will you come over and tell them how poor I was? They won't believe me".
The moral of these two stories, and in fact, the point of this whole article is we have given and given to the point that why should the people who have received have any desire to better themselves? For the parents who have written bad checks for their children's lunches, when nothing is done about it, what kind of example are they to their children? Would we condone them shoplifting at Wal-Mart so they don't have to pay for their children's clothes? When I was in school, if your parents didn't have money for your lunch, you worked in the cafeteria or helped out the janitor. If your parents couldn't pay for field trips, you didn't go. To a child growing up, what did that mean? It meant you either had nothing, or you worked your tail off not to be that way the rest of your life. My wife made a choice. Tobe McKenzie made a choice. Countless others who grew up facing adversities have made a choice. Look at the people who didn't leave New Orleans when Katrina was coming that were in the Super Dome. Why didn't they leave? They were people already on the "give me" train, and they knew if they didn't leave, the government would take care of them - and that is exactly what happened! What choice will their children make? What choice will children here in Cleveland on the "give me" train make?