By Steven Johnston
Anyone walking through the dorms, townhouses or apartments here at La Salle will notice that it isn’t the quietest place. It is not a secret that drinking and, to a lesser degree, drugs are consumed on our campus. These activities occur all over the country at institutions of higher education. La Salle’s May 2013 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report states that there were a total of 226 liquor law violations in 2012, up from 190 in 2010 and that there were also a total of 23 drug law violations in 2012, down from 32 in 2010. Of course, these were the cases that Community Development and security uncovered, there are certainly more that weren’t. The University is in direct control of these living environments; there are Community Development staff monitoring the areas on regular intervals, security at the front of every entrance, cameras and security staff throughout campus on bikes and in vans.
These same alcohol and other drug issues are also present off-campus, where La Salle lacks as considerable an influence. The University does try to educate these students on University policy, community standards and simple practices that can make students better neighbors. There are a number of staff members who are responsible for working with students and neighbors in order to create a safe and healthy off campus environment, one such individual is TiRease Holmes, the Director of Off Campus and Commuter Communities and Director of the Community Building Team. Holmes helps to coordinate annual events such as the Health Fair at the Shoppes at La Salle, TrashBash and the Easter Food Drive. She creates and disseminates information, such as the Community Quarterly Newsletter to neighbors and student commuters about upcoming events, past events and University resources and a pamphlet for students when they move into off-campus housing on how to be good neighbors. Landlords are given a guide and information from the University, Community Forums and numerous other activities are in place to bring local residents to campus.
Students also help to alleviate the complaints of parties, trash and rowdy behavior by participating in TrashBash, Neighborhood Tutoring, Big Brother Big Sister at Logan Elementary, Writers Matter and other activities. Those who live in the neighborhood can be seen shoveling snow, watching on their neighbors’ houses, babysitting, tutoring and performing other neighborly good deeds. The large majority of students off-campus are good neighbors; the University, students and local community know this and have all reacted to a learning process as more houses become rented to students. Holmes noted this increasing trend and that the University is attempting to ease the tensions that remain.
Despite all of these efforts, there are still serious town-and-gown issues here at La Salle. These problems were recently greatly distorted in an article by newsworks.org entitled, “Ramsey vows to ‘improve the quality of life’ for frustrated La Salle University neighbors” published Dec. 6, 2013. While the article has little in terms of merit, it has raised a question: where are the students in this dialogue? Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, Licenses and Inspections, the PA Liquor Control Board, landlords and local residents were all present at the community meeting that occurred here on campus, but students were not involved in the dialogue. The University doesn’t seem to think that this question is pertinent and that the parties listed above are the only individuals who need to be involved in solution to our town-and-gown conflict. Important groups such as the PanHellenic Council, PEER Educators and the Student Athletic Relations Council are being excluded.
No one doubts that the University wishes to enhance the well-being and safety of those in the surrounding area, as well as the economic situation of the Olney section of the city, but the exclusion of students in talks with Councilwoman Bass and Police Commissioner Ramsey is not effective. Clearly, students are not a valued part of this dialogue despite the fact that relationships between students and neighbors would give both groups a new perspective on the other, friendships would be given a chance to develop and neighbors would have more reasons to join on campus events. City Police, the State Liquor Control Board and the District Attorney’s Office are in contact with Councilwoman Bass. The focus for the University is on absentee or uninterested landlords, a few rowdy students and livid neighbors. Too often when talking about off-campus relations, students become targets of blame, as do residents when talking about crime in the local area; however, keeping Olney Ave. as a wall and preventing students and neighbors from interacting is only allowing the tensions to build.
Despite our Lasallian mission to create a stronger community, it is my understanding that the University administration has decided to build and maintain an “Olney Line” preventing interaction between students and residents and keeping students out of the dialogue concerning off-campus relations. They have separated key actors in this conversation, such as the student members of the Point, the faculty and staff on the Community Building Team and have hamstringed those organizations by not providing funding or meaningful administrative guidance.
These two groups are a reporting mechanism for the administration and the Community Building Team is a collective that organizes community events through the auspices and goodwill of its members and not of its own power. The University, in a very paternalistic way, has decided that the best people to solve any town-and-gown issue are not the large group actors involved in the conflict, but the powers that be in City Hall and the Peale House. We are not fostering community, but a divide across Olney Ave. supported by the lack of student dialogue and University bureaucracy preventing effective communication and action.
By John Schatz
Preceding the start of the Olympic Games, all anybody heard about was the poor conditions of the accommodations for journalists in Sochi. Twitter was flooded with the tweets of reporters complaining about the lack of heating, internet and, in some cases, even a lack of hotel rooms.
Some of the journalists are acting incredibly petty. Although those without water, heating or rooms are warranted in their complaints, the vast majority are just looking for something to complain about. Harry Reekie wrote that his room was in “shambles” while pointing to a curtain rod that had fallen down. It was not a joke. Reekie was legitimately upset about the curtain rod.
One tweet that was particularly conceited stated that a hotel bathroom required those who use it to toss the toilet paper in a trash bin instead of flushing it down the toilet. The reporter, Greg Wyshynski, stated that the request was what he found most surprising in Sochi. It might also surprise Wyshynski that there are countries where this manner of disposing of toilet paper is practiced daily. People report in far worse conditions without complaining, and certainly people live in worse conditions.
Oddly enough, the Olympic athletes, who have more of a reason to be upset about the housing, are rolling with the punches and acting like professionals. Johnny Quinn, a bobsledder representing the United States, was trapped in a bathroom and had to bust his way out and then found himself trapped in an elevator. While in the shower, the bathroom door locked or jammed and Quinn was without a phone. He had to punch a hole in the door to escape, but his tweets about the ordeal were in good fun, as opposed to the entitled tweets of journalists.
Certainly, the news companies that have paid to cover the event have a right to be upset, but these individuals are being paid to report on the Olympics, a great opportunity, and all they could do the first few days was incessantly whine. I’m sure most people would enjoy the chance to visit a foreign country, watch Olympic events live and get paid to do so. The fact that journalists consider this something to complain about goes to show how little research they did as to where they were going in the first place. Sochi is not Russia’s equivalent to South Beach.
By Brendan Rigney
Indubitably, news of NFL prospect Michael Sam’s coming out has reached the ears of many Americans and the hearts of those who are struggling with doing the same. The inspiring tale will be the topic of debate well after the NFL Draft in April, and it will have consequences for just about every team in the league.
The truth is, Sam’s decision, albeit courageous, may hurt his future career in the pros. While this is unfair to him on multiple levels, readers must understand that the National Football League is a business. Publicity plays a large role for each team and the league as a whole. Therefore, it is sad news to report that the defensive end out of Missouri has fallen on mock draft boards nearly everywhere, as per a Rob Rang article on CBS.com. Despite the welcoming atmosphere put on by the league, which appears genuine, Sam wasn’t a top prospect to begin with.
Did Michael Sam plan on becoming an example of success for other homosexual athletes? Did he want this spotlight on him? Regardless, that is the outcome of his newfound situation. And since he lacks the physical build to rank higher on draft boards, this move may hurt him more than one would suspect.
As stated before, the NFL is a business; each player signed and coach hired is assessed beforehand, both in ability and off-the-field theatrics. Take Randy Moss for example, an outstanding wide receiver that was passed by many teams in the 1998 NFL Draft until getting picked up by the Vikings. The reason for his stock drop: off-field issues. He brought enough media attention to hurt the beginning of his own career, and one of the main reasons it didn’t kill his career entirely was because he was the most talented player in the game. Sam does not have the same luxury.
For whichever team that decides to take him, they will have to find a place for him that fits his own limited skill set and be willing to take on an abnormal amount of stress on the organization and its personnel. Is there such a team that would be willing to risk that for someone who isn’t a sure thing?
I hope so. There is always more room for another success story, and Sam could be one. Most assuredly he will face adversity because of his background; his former college team kept quiet about his sexuality after he told them, but who is to say that now that he’s made this public, his new teammates will support him in a similar manner?
There are too many questions surrounding Sam’s story so far. His own father doesn’t support the news; stress such as this could truly damage any momentum he has going into the next NFL season. What other frustrations behind the curtain will rear their ugly heads later in his career?
Sam will need more than public support to make his career great; he’ll need persistence and a drive that few ever fully realize in their lives.
By John Schatz
Governor Chris Christie does not understand what it means to have a problem with the income inequality in the United States. On Feb. 11, he asked an audience in Chicago, “You want income inequality? That is mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal, mediocre salary.” Christie seems to be of the opinion that anybody opposed to the level of income inequality the country has is a proponent of communism. He does not admit there is a middle ground that still allows for income inequality to a lesser degree than the current one. Social programs, such as food stamps, are a way to mediate the severity of income inequality.
Christie does not stand alone in his position. There are professors and students on campus who argue that programs to aid those living in poverty should be discontinued, as they are ineffective and a waste of the wealthy population’s money. They argue that poor people would rise out of poverty if the programs worked.
These people miss the point of social programs run by the government. Government programs such as food stamps are designed to provide food to families in need. It isn’t supposed to teach them how to become successful entrepreneurs. It allows them to eat. Unemployment benefits don’t suddenly make a factory worker who was just laid off after working for decades develop skills that are employable and sought after by businesses. It allows them to make necessary payments and purchases to tide them over as they search for a job that fits their skillset.
Granted, social programs can be abused. However, those who are using them honestly should not be cut off because of others who are manipulative. Propose reform to social programs if the current ones aren’t adequate. Don’t compare concern for the welfare of others as a push for mediocrity, though.
There are certain rights that transcend politics, and too many in this country have to go without those rights because politicians like Christie don’t understand that rights shouldn’t have to be bought. It is not just Republican politicians and pundits who miss the point.
President Barack Obama signed legislation that cut food stamps. Democrats are just as culpable of getting caught up in politicized issues and looking over the importance of social programs. There is a point at which one section of the nation’s population amassing billions of dollars while others are going to bed hungry and sleeping in streets becomes immoral and inexcusable.
The aim of combatting income inequality has never been to make the rich poorer or for every employee in the United States to have the same salary. To think that is the purpose is ludicrous. The issue people have with the level of income inequality in this country is that people are choosing money over human decency.
By Patrick Moyer
In recent weeks, Senator Rand Paul has levied some blunt and jarring criticism toward Bill and Hillary Clinton. During a Jan. 26 appearance on Meet the Press, Paul alleged that Bill Clinton exhibited “predatory behavior” during his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He also insinuated that Bill Clinton’s past indiscretions should be revisited and discussed if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016.
Many prominent political leaders from both sides of the aisle have said that Paul’s comments were both reckless and rude. However, Paul has shirked that criticism and ratcheted up his ugly rhetoric. Just last week, he said that Democratic candidates shouldn’t let a “sexual predator” like Bill Clinton do fundraising for them.
Senator Paul’s malicious mudslinging is troubling on many levels. His comments completely mischaracterize the scandal that tarnished Bill Clinton’s legacy. Yes, Clinton’s affair and subsequent lies were deplorable. But his behavior was adulterous, not predatory. There’s an important difference between the two. Adulterous behavior involves two consenting adults, while predatory behavior involves an imposing participant and a victim. By branding Bill Clinton as a predator, Paul is equating him to rapists and pedophiles. That’s what makes his comments so slanderous. The only real “victims” of Clinton’s actions were his wife and daughter, who had to deal with the public fallout from his immoral decision. And yet, Paul seems to think that Hillary Clinton should be attacked politically for something that probably hurt her on a deeply personal level.
The comments also raise serious questions about how far Republicans are willing to go in order to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations. It’s no secret that the Republican Party is hard-pressed to find a viable candidate that can challenge the Clinton political machine. Polls show that Hillary Clinton currently has a double digit lead over all Republican presidential hopefuls, including Rand Paul. Therefore, early attacks against Clinton’s record in the Senate and State Department make sense, at least from a political standpoint. But Paul’s recent volley of criticism has nothing to do with legislation or policy; it’s just a dirty personal assault on the Clinton family. With the 2016 election still over two years away, one has to worry about how low both parties are willing to sink in order to win.
The Republicans are desperate to avoid 12 years of a Democratic White House, and the Democrats will respond in kind to the Republicans if they try to defame the Clintons. Things could get out of hand quickly.
Paul’s remarks are inappropriate, and they have offended many people. However, they are perhaps most damaging to Paul’s own political aspirations. At a time when the Republican Party is being accused of backwards thinking, it seems unwise for one of their biggest leaders to be fixated on an irrelevant sex scandal from the 1990s. It only strengthens the argument that the GOP lacks a concrete vision for the future of the country. Name calling and mudslinging may be welcomed in the Republican primaries, but those tactics will be frowned upon in the general election.
If Paul is serious about running for president, he should spend time developing a message that will be accepted by the American people, not right wing talk radio. A campaign built solely on bullying and intimidation will flame out rather quickly.
By Gregory Fat
It is Oct. 15, the midnight online deadline for a prestigious scholarship is quickly approaching. Luckily, I submitted my application early, because La Salle ResNet network is down. Most students living on campus have been experiencing frequent Internet difficulties. In the following days students had difficulties connecting to the ResNet network, these instances were all called in to the help desk and confirmed by the staff that there was a problem with the network; Oct. 4-5, 15-16 Nov. 6, 17 Dec. 3-4 Jan. 14 and most recently, Feb. 4-5.
In order to inform students what the issue is, how to resolve their problems and what the school is doing to resolve these problems, I was able to sit down with Executive Director of Academic Computing, John Caputo, and correspond through email with Tom Pasquale. Pasquale, Executive Director of Network Operations and Systems, responsible for operation of La Salle’s network, End User Support, e-mail and system administration for many of La Salle’s support systems, is one of the 30 people listed on the “Staff List” on the “Technology @ La Salle” website. In reference to the above listed dates, Pasquale replied that, “It is incorrect to say that the Internet was out and not all of dates above are accurate. There were outages on some sections of La Salle’s network last semester due to a faulty piece of equipment. Because the problem was intermittent, it took some time to diagnose and it was not isolated until mid-November. At that time, replacement hardware was ordered and replaced during the holiday break.” Though Pasquale seemed confident the equipment was replaced and corrected during the break, it is apparent, from more recent campus-wide Internet outages that the problem has not been fully addressed or a new problem has arisen.
As most know, there are two university controlled and authorized networks set up on our campus, La Salle ResNet in the residence halls, and La Salle Wireless on main campus. When asked why two separate networks exist and why Cisco Clean Access is only run on the ResNet network, Pasquale responded, “Clean Access is run everywhere non-La Salle owned computers reside. If there was enough capacity in the Clean Access system it would be running on La Salle Wireless also.” From my understanding this means that the Cisco Clean Access system is not capable of handling the entire network of computers.
Many students have become frustrated with delayed login prompts and difficulties and problems updating the Cisco software and question why the resident halls are required to use this software but the entire campus is not required to run this security compatibility software. Some students believe that if the Cisco Clean Access product were required to be used campus-wide the frustration of this software would quickly end the use of this software. Especially frustrating is that La Salle is paying for the Cisco system to operate on our network. When asked how much La Salle pays, Pasquale could only tell us that “Our non-disclosure and other contractual agreements prevent us from releasing pricing information.”
To great relief, according to Caputo, “the Cisco system will be phased out after this semester,” but Pasquale retained the possibility that, “there has not been a decision yet regarding Clean Access for next year.” Other improvements, such as bandwidth being more than doubled in the past year to help accommodate escalating student bandwidth demands shows that steps are being done to make the network more reliable, but it is apparent that the improvement to bandwidth has not alleviated the internet connectivity problems.
When asked what the problem was and if the issue had been found or diagnosed in regard to the campus-wide internet outages on Feb. 4, Tom Pasquale only replied, “It was related to a problem on one of the servers that issues IP addresses.”
We hope that instead of trying to hide failed fixes to the network, the IT department would be more transparent in recognizing and apologizing for the internet issues and being more responsive and responsible for replying to student’s messages and unanswered tickets. We also hope that student workers that work in IT and ResNet after full-time staff leave would get more training and access to fix problems that occur at that time.
The help desk is open from 7:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, which is not ideal for midnight deadlines, Friday, from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., and from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. from Saturday and Sunday, which leaves many hours unattended by faculty. If the internet goes down during the closed hours, or even after full time faculty has left, Caputo says the best thing students can do is “get a good night’s rest because the problem will not be resolved until the morning.”
If students are experiencing internet difficulties they should call the help desk at x1860 or email email@example.com.
By John Schatz
Coca-Cola ran an advertisement during the Super Bowl that sparked a string of racist tweets from conservative mouthpieces around the country. The commercial featured a multilingual version of “America the Beautiful” accompanied with clips displaying the diversity of Coke consumers.
One of the biggest reasons people had a problem with the advertisement seems to be they are under the impression that English is the official language of the United States. Nothing shows how patriotic one is more than displaying ignorance about one’s country. The intellect of those who have a problem with this commercial is shown with one tweet saying, “Speak American [sic] if your [sic] in America.”
Other tweets claim that “America the Beautiful” is the national anthem and asked Coke if the viewers were “Americans of foreign decent [sic].” It is pretty hypocritical to criticize Coca-Cola for not using English for the entire commercial when the critics can barely write in English themselves.
As irrational and delusional as the previous arguments have been, there were some tweets that were just deliberately racist. One viewer, upset by the commercial, tweeted the following: “Nice to see that coke [sic] likes to sing an AMERICAN song in the terrorist’s language.” I can’t help but wonder how many languages the author of that tweet was actually able to identify in the commercial. I would guess only one.
Finally, people have argued that “America the Beautiful” was written in English and that it should only be sung in English. If that is the case, how far does this argument extend? Does it extend to books, films and television shows? Even when those who hate the commercial think they are being reasonable, extending their thoughts to the next logical step reveals how irrational they are.
I’m not sure if it is more amusing or depressing that so many people missed the point of the commercial. This country has a rich history of being a melting pot. Immigrants have often been celebrated in the United States, as have the cultures they bring. For various reasons, America is one which many people wish to immigrate to. Coca-Cola even released a statement in which it claimed the purpose of the advertisement was to celebrate the country’s “incredible diversity.” To disapprove of the multicultural identity of the nation actually is counter to its history. The Coca-Cola advertisement is beautifully patriotic. The point is this: a person speaking a language other than English does not bar him or her from loving the United States.
There is a silver lining to this story. At least most of these unabashed bigots aren’t observant enough to notice that there is a homosexual couple at the end of the commercial. I can’t imagine having to deal with twice the amount of discrimination caused by this great advertisement. Another benefit is that all those who responded in such a manner are publicly exposing themselves as xenophobes.
By Patrick Moyer
The world lost a cinematic icon on Sunday, Feb. 2, when Phillip Seymour Hoffman died from what many suspect was a lethal heroin overdose in New York City. Hoffman, who starred in films such as Capote, Boogie Nights, Along Came Polly, Doubt and The Master, awed movie goers and critics with his intense performances. His unwavering dedication to his craft made him great, and his versatility ensured that he was a frequent Oscar nominee. However, his accomplished career was constantly haunted by one demon: substance abuse. For years, Hoffman battled an addiction to heroin and prescription medication. Sadly, that addiction led to his demise. His death was a result of his own poor choices, but it didn’t help that he was surrounded by a culture in the entertainment industry that enables addicts and prevents them from getting legitimate help.
It’s common knowledge that many successful actors and musicians have died from substance abuse. Hoffman, Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger are just a few recent examples of a grim trend that stretches all the way back to the 1960s. Many others, such as Charlie Sheen and Robert Downey Jr., have been publicly humiliated by their reckless behavior while under the influence of drugs. Some people will say that this all stems from lavish wealth and personal immorality, but some of the blame needs to fall on other people as well. Several troubled celebrities are surrounded by groupies and “yes men” that encourage their uninhibited behavior for personal gain. They insulate celebrities from the outside world and enable their dangerous habits. How can somebody get medical or psychiatric help when they are that detached from reality?
The entertainment industry itself also plays a role in perpetuating Hollywood’s substance abuse problem. In fact, there’s a lucrative, multifaceted business dedicated to glorifying celebrity drug abuse. Bottom-feeding tabloids publish sensational headlines about troubled stars on a daily basis. Mainstream media outlets spend an increasing amount of time analyzing celebrity gossip-nuggets like they were economic statistics. And shameless TV doctors, such as Drew Pinsky, turn the drug rehabilitation process into vicarious reality television programming. This puts actors and musicians at a serious disadvantage when they truly want to get help. An everyday person can disappear for a while in order to receive effective professional treatment. Celebrities, on the other hand, are in the spotlight 24/7. Even in their darkest hour, they are still expected to amuse the public and churn out money for promoters and producers.
Our justice system can take some of the blame too. When a troubled celebrity starts dabbling in illegal activities, they should receive some sort of punishment in court. But, more often than not, they get a slap on the wrist and go on their merry way. Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, says that this continually occurs because, “The judges will be on their best behavior. Jurors will be thinking about how many books they can write after they get out of the jury room. Everybody is going to see this as a career maker.” Once again, the celebrity is blocked from receiving a potentially life-saving intervention due to the parasitic aspirations of others.
I’m not trying to make excuses for Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It is speculated that he purchased a copious amount of heroin and injected it into his body. If true, his unwise behavior has left three young children without a father. But we as a society need to change our attitudes toward the people that make our movies and record our albums. They experience highs and lows just like us, and when they hit those lows, they should be allowed to seek out the help and protection that they sorely need.
After all, a good entertainer is nothing without a dedicated supporting cast.
By Steven Johnston
Prison inmates are some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. They rely upon the state for protection, shelter, food and the other essential aspects of life. In many cases, prisoners are wards of the state due to the violation of probation and parole. With the great number of intricate subtleties of the parole system that can send “returning citizens” back to prison, it is possible for many to feel trapped or literally cycle in and out of correctional facilities.
The United States incarceration rate is at 747 per every 100,000. Minorities are continually overrepresented within the prison population and many societal shortfalls, especially in education, end with incarceration. Both the legislative and judicial sectors need to decide how this issue will be addressed.
In Philadelphia, efforts have been made to publicize the problems of poverty and poor education through the Mayor’s “2014 Shared Prosperity Plan.” While this report is a start, the fact remains that in terms of the prison population the report ignores the issue and only really talks about those who are on parole. The greater effects of incarceration on the city are ignored.
American’s generally do not speak about incarceration or criminals in general. We see incarcerated individuals in the media and popular culture in shows such as Orange is the New Black or in the news with reports about famous celebrities. This, along with the idea of American Exceptionalism, leads to the degradation of the societal expectations and compassion toward the prison population.
While illness, followed by suicide, is the largest killer of inmates within the United States according to Bureau of Justice, there are occasional instances of homicide that garners public attention. One such instance was when a prisoner in Oklahoma was killed in his cell as he called 911 multiple times. Though the cause of death is still unknown, the more shocking aspect of the situation is that the alleged killer was able to get away. Somewhat closer to home a 63-year-old wheelchair bound inmate in the Pennsylvania State correctional system was killed by his paranoid schizophrenic cell mate after authorities placed the two together despite that Elwood Braswell was deemed violent and was to be kept isolated.
It is clear that the incredibly high prison population in the United States—in tandem with the school-to-prison pipeline—is a problem that we must begin to face. One solution that many have begun to consider is the legalization of marijuana. Legalizing the drug will not only reduce the prison population, but will also generate cash for the school system.
Incarceration is a multifaceted problem that starts outside of the legal system. Failures of the state and pressures from the outside environment are the first steps toward imprisonment. A focus on education and intervention at a very young age that can be continued into adulthood should help prevent incarceration. The problem is finding the money and competent individuals in order to make such a policy work. Legalization and decriminalization of weed, reinvesting in education and a focus on young people may be the best start.
By Mike Sauter
As January ended, Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City made the news for throwing out students’ meals in front of them if their accounts had outstanding balances. As many as 40 children were affected. The school could not figure out which students owed the cafeteria money until after the students’ accounts were charged. This flaw in the system led to the students believing they were going to be able to have a meal, and then having the meal taken away from them and thrown in the trash. The school has a policy that food cannot be reserved after being initially given to a student who could not pay, so all of the food was wasted. Instead of a meal, the cafeteria gave students milk and fruit.
This behavior is despicable. How can anybody take food away from a hungry child? How can anybody punish a child for the choices his or her parents make? It was completely unnecessary. If the meals are going to be thrown away, it makes sense to just give them to the children and add it to the outstanding balance. If the cafeteria was able to figure out which students had outstanding balances, then it would be far less despicable than it currently is, as the whole situation in which the cafeteria threw out lunches would not occur.
Taking away students’ lunches has a greater impact than only denying a student a meal. The student is publicly humiliated. Cafeteria workers were bullying kids and nobody seems to be focusing on the unprofessionalism beyond forcing children to go hungry. There shouldn’t need to be sensitivity training in order to prevent things like this from happening. It is just common sense not to punish children for their parents’ behavior. These employees are supposed to be providing kids with healthy meals. They have one job, and failed. What makes it worse is that, as far as anybody knows who wasn’t in the cafeteria, nobody tried to stop it from happening.
The city spokesman, Jason Olsen, said, “This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize … We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again.” Apologies are useless to the students who suffered great embarrassment. Something is fundamentally wrong with the system if people who do things like this are being hired. Over a week later, there has been no indication that the people responsible are being reprimanded in any way.