By Max Seisser
Eighty-eight percent of the students at Monmouth-Roseville Junior High are now receiving either free or reduced price lunches. When this information was announced at the latest Board of Education Meeting by Superintendent Edward Fletcher, it was met with skepticism by many board members.
Secretary Kevin Killy voiced his concerns, saying it didn’t seem that this number was accurate or possible for the community. However, he was assured that the number has been verified. Out of the roughly 240 students that attend M.R. Junior High, 140 receive free lunches, and 70 are eligible for reduced price lunches.
Fletcher explained the factors that qualify students for free/reduced lunches. They include the number of kids in the family, the income of the parents, and if they’re on government assistance (link card, food stamps, etc.) While the number of junior high students is steadily increasing, the same is not true for high school students. Those numbers have remained relatively constant. Many students who can receive the reduced/free lunch decide not to, perhaps because they are afraid of getting made fun of, being embarrassed, or don’t bring the paperwork home.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner spoke on the topic recently. Geithner said the free/reduced lunch program is a good resource to help out children who are in need of help. With support, the board of education hopes that high school students who are in need of the lunches will come forward. Students need to know that it isn’t something to be ashamed of because they’re not the only ones who need help and they need to be encouraged because this can truly benefit them and help their academics.