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Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal

Introduction

Children are delicate, and they should be given all the necessary support that they need at school, including being offered free lunch. Hungry children cannot learn efficiently because they lack the capacity to tolerate the effects of an empty stomach. However, whether school lunches should be free or not is a long-standing debate without the possibility of having a consensus. On the one side, the proponents of free lunches in schools argue that children benefit immensely in many ways from such programs. On the other hand, critics claim that providing free food to students is not one of the schools’ core businesses. Each side has valid points to support its claims, but as discussed in this paper, children in school should be given free lunches.

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Free School Lunches

An unhealthy and hungry child cannot learn effectively for various reasons, which leads to poor performance. A study by Schwartz and Rothbart established a strong correlation between free school lunches and improved grades among the beneficiaries of such programs (1). This argument is justifiable given that hungry children cannot concentrate in the classroom; hence, they are bound to fail in examinations. Additionally, the brain needs adequate nutrients to function optimally, which underscores the need to provide free lunches to those in need. Poor nutrition impairs cognitive development in children, and this observation underscores the need to support children with free nutritious meals. It becomes difficult for a child to focus in class on an empty stomach. As such, the problem of poor performance due to the lack of free lunch in schools has many angles. The lack of a healthy brain for optimal cognitive activities, the inability to concentrate, and poor health compound this problem, thus leaving the affected children at the bottom in terms of performance. Ultimately, the majority of these learners may drop out of school or fail to further their studies later in life, creating a futile cycle of children from poor backgrounds becoming poor adults.

The majority of children who require free lunches come from food-insecure homes. With the changing economic times, families living below or close to the poverty line have increased significantly over the years; hence they cannot afford to take care of their basic needs. Therefore, being denied such meals puts them in a delicate situation because they may not have anything to eat once they get home. In other words, these children live in hunger in and out of school. Consequently, the affected children are exposed to a prolonged lack of essential nutrients in their bodies with adverse health implications. The affected students are likely to drop out of school in the long term. According to Machell et al., poverty is a mediating factor between staying in school on dropping out. As argued earlier, the majority of those who could benefit from free-lunch programs come from poor backgrounds. Therefore, the probability of quitting school due to poverty is compounded by the lack of free meals. The impacts of school dropouts on society are many and adverse, including an increase in criminal activities and rising poverty levels. Therefore, children should be given free lunch, keep them in school, and build a healthy society in the long term.

Opposition and Rebuttal

Critics argue that supporting free-lunch programs is expensive, and it shifts focus from the core business of schools, which is teaching. However, these claims are weak, and they cannot be used to justify the elimination of such initiatives from schools. First, under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) compensates schools for the free lunch offered to students. According to Binder, “the government will reimburse schools for the cost of lunch up to 2.93 for students receiving free lunch, indicating that that’s the general price meals should run for in the current school system.” Therefore, the argument that such programs are expensive for schools cannot stand in the light of this information. The second claim that feeding students are not part of the school’s core business is also a poor excuse. The work of schools is to provide a conducive learning environment for students. Consequently, providing free lunch to learners at the risk of hunger should be part of the school’s agenda. It would be pointless to teach children who are bound to fail without addressing the underlying causes of such failure. As such, schools have a moral obligation to provide free meals to learners in need.

Conclusion

As discussed in this paper, learning institutions should support free-lunch initiatives for the long-term wellbeing and success of students. Most children who benefit from such programs come from poor backgrounds, which means they are food insecure, and they might not get healthy meals at home. As such, they are exposed to malnutrition and hunger, leading to a lack of concentration and, ultimately, poor grades. These learners are also likely to drop out of school with adverse societal implications such as increased crime and poverty rates. While it could be expensive to run such initiatives, schools normally get support from the government under the NSLP. Therefore, based on these arguments, schools offer free lunch to learners as part of their core business.

Works Cited

Binder, Shawn. “Why Lunches In Schools Need To Be Free.” Guff. Web.

Machell, Kyla, et al. “Buffering the Negative Impact of Poverty on Youth: The Power of Purpose in Life.” Social Indicators Research, vol. 126, no. 2, 2016, pp. 845-861.

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Schwartz, Amy, and Michah Rothbart. “Let them Eat Lunch: The Impact of Universal Free Meals on Student Performance.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, no. 203, 2017, pp. 1-53.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/free-school-lunches-support-of-free-lunch-and-opposition-and-rebuttal/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal. https://studycorgi.com/free-school-lunches-support-of-free-lunch-and-opposition-and-rebuttal/

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"Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal." StudyCorgi, 13 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/free-school-lunches-support-of-free-lunch-and-opposition-and-rebuttal/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/free-school-lunches-support-of-free-lunch-and-opposition-and-rebuttal/.


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StudyCorgi. "Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/free-school-lunches-support-of-free-lunch-and-opposition-and-rebuttal/.

References

StudyCorgi. 2022. "Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/free-school-lunches-support-of-free-lunch-and-opposition-and-rebuttal/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Free School Lunches: Support of Free Lunch and Opposition and Rebuttal'. 13 January.

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