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Remembering the Children of Summer
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I was an elementary teacher for more than a decade. All of the children in my class, and most of the entire school population, were entitled to free or reduced-cost meals, through a federally funded program operated nationally by the USDA.

This summer, as happens every summer, our schools will be offering the summer meal services program to more than half a million children, although most school classes have been cancelled for the summer. Children must not go hungry, even when school is not in session--a laudable precept.

I used to see their earnest litle faces, collecting their lunches (concentrating on not spilling a drop), running through the hot summer sun to the fence where mothers and "uncles" were waiting beyond it, and passing the lunches through the fence to the adults. The children ate, at most, a bite.

The adults then threw away what they didn't want to eat or drink, most especially the cartons of milk.

I was so angry, but there was nothing I could do, I was told. Once the children had the food in their hands, it was theirs to do with as they chose. As if they chose to go hungry! The children were just doing what they had been told to do by the adults who were supposed to be guardians and parents, giving up their lunches to feed the adults' bellies. And no school staff could protect them; we had no legal standing, as the children were out of school.

If it were to happen today, I would ignore the school staff and report the abuse anyway. But I was a "good girl" and followed the rules. Good girls seldom make history, and never forward the causes of social justice.

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