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I remember, it's tough to be a teenager. It's a shame they have to go through that.

But at the end of the day if you can't afford lunch, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Maybe get a slightly older iPhone, or one of the many cheaper but comparable Androids.

Just because the school provides free lunch to everyone does not mean the family cannot afford lunch. At some point it becomes cheaper to just give everyone lunch than to deal with the hassle of deciding which kid owes $1.55 and which doesn't. In fact, providing free lunch to all children in public school is an extremely cheap way of marginally reducing kids' awareness of who's poor and who isn't.

Very marginal if at at all. Believe me especially by middle school and older, everyone knows who is poor, who is rich, who is a slut, who is religious, who is a jock, etc. And there are other ways, e.g. everyone has a swipe card or number code to "pay" for their lunch and you never know who's on the free lunch program or not.

I've never heard of a school giving free lunch by default, though. Maybe in areas where 99% of the kids would qualify anyway?

It's a pretty recent program, and it's only available if the school has over 40% eligibility, but it exists, and it's great: http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cn/CEPfactsheet....

> Maybe in areas where 99% of the kids would qualify anyway?

Yes. Which there are a lot of, because poverty is so extremely concentrated.

Even if it doesn't increase kids' knowledge, it still draws attention to it (both to peers and the kid themself) and provides an opportunity for bullying.

People spend money on the things that they are not given for free.

I don't know if my comment is worthless, but even well off Americans/Westerners take for granted an immense number of things they receive effectively for free. If everything was itemized and billed directly society would be organized very differently.

This is not subsidized just through tax revenue but through forced borrowing as well as things others are obligated to perform for free (as complex as hospital care to as simple as clearing the sidewalk of snow in front of your property.)

Some of these things may last indefinitely, others the economics simply will not permit it, yet they are viewed as existing indefinitely by most.

I'm fairly confident they did evaluate their priorities.

"Free" lunches are provided by the state, so they don't need to budget for that expense. Lunch @ $3/day, 20 days/month in school, school year runs 10 months/year. Those "free" lunches just paid for the iPhone.

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