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Lactose intolerance

null An article in today's Los Angeles Times warns parents of the culinary perils their children could face if they don't pay their lunch tab debts: the cheese sandwich. At some schools like the Chula Vista Elementary Schools in California, a cheese sandwich is replacing normal lunchtime favorites such as mac and cheese, burgers and pizza for children whose parents let their kids' lunch tabs go over $5. School districts across the nation are introducing lunchtime punishment programs like Chula Vista's to try and lower annual debts created by parents who forget to (or can't) pay for their children's lunches. Although the food of dishonorable distinction differs from school to school (the Chula Vista schools serve up the cheese sandwich, but other schools substitute peanut butter or cheese on crackers), parents say that one thing's universal: the foods stigmatize children whose parents can't afford to pay for their lunches. In the article, one mother, who requested anonymity, says about the cheese sandwich recipients, "Some kids say they're not the kind of kids you want to hang out with." What worries us more: Apparently the unadorned, unaccompanied cheese sandwich meets federal nutritional standards. We'd hate to know what doesn't.
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