Viewpoint: Children come first, even if Uintah doesn't say so

Kids are a sensitive subject for everyone. Whether for love or hate, desire or denial, interest or disinterest, society is anything but apathetic when it comes to children. This enthusiasm was recently stirred when Uintah Elementary School withheld lunches from 40 students as a result of negative balances in their lunch accounts.

Saying the lunches were withheld isn’t entirely factual. The lunches were given to the students, then taken back upon finding the negative balance. The school credited the system with that error, saying students checked out after they received food. As a result of these logistics, the lunch was taken from 40 students and thrown away, as it would be a violation of the health code to save it for someone else.

There has been a great deal of controversy and conversation about this topic, ranging from demonizing the school district for not simply providing lunch for all students to shaming the parents who let the balance run red. We at The Signpost can’t offer any  solutions to the problem (the district is being very veiled about the proceedings), but we can try and clarify the issue at hand: namely, the kids didn’t get the lunch they were expecting.

Say want you want about educational bureaucracy or lack of parental responsibility, but find us a legitimate situation to take food away from children, and we will retract our journalistic gauntlet against the clear stupidity of both the media and citizens of Utah. The gall it takes to ignore the kids in the situation is appalling and is perhaps the greatest grievance surrounding the turmoil.

The kids weren’t considered in the lunchroom, by the parents and now by Utah as a whole. How much longer will they be ignored? How long can the children of this nation be placed second to the needs of those looking to save face? Certainly it makes sense to invest in children’s wellbeing. In doing so, we invest in the future.

Blame the district, blame the parents, but the real people at fault are the bullies of the state. Not those bullies who undoubtedly beat a number of the 40 students on the playground. Those bullies aren’t as much of a problem. The bullies at fault are those making decisions that directly affect the children.

They march around arrogantly, and sometimes ignorantly, not caring to be bothered. The idea of the child is fine. The people at the district love the idea of children. Parents are strong supporters of the concept of kids. But loving children is an individual thing, something that was lost in this particular situation.

In the future, let kids be the focus of kid-related issues. Whether it be Food Stamps or felonies, education or emissions, or even the absurd idea that lunch might be taken from them, if kids are involved, their best interests should drive the conversation.

The Alpine Elementary debacle was a splash in an ocean of kid-related issues. When we become so preoccupied with pointing fingers at other swimmers, we forget that children are playing on the shore, now unsupervised in the distance.