please don't eat the government cheese

Missouri School District Busy Being Awesome at Being Horrible to Poor Kids

actually there totally isSo, let’s say you’re a lunch lady. Lunch person, whatever. Just go with it. Now, let’s say you’re a not-gender-specific lunch person working in Missouri. Still with us? Now, because you’re in a red state, you have a ridiculously high percentage of poor kids going through your lunch-scape. Let’s say you’re doing your lunch-providing in, oh, say, Webster school district, where a remarkably sad 45.8% of the kids coming through your lunch line are too poor to afford lunch and have to eat the entirely non-complete-meal that poor kids get*, which appears to be a cheese sandwich and a carton of milk. (Dairy is good for you shut up you don’t need anything else). Having fun yet?

Let’s further postulate, Wonkettonians, that you think feeding poor kids inadequate food in front of their peers, thereby starving them AND making them feel singled out, is a bad idea. What would you do? Perhaps you’d do the right thing and FEED THE KID THE REGULAR GODDAMN LUNCH:

Dianne Brame gave free hot lunches to a fourth-grader for two months after his eligibility ran out, KSDK reported. Brame said the child’s mother doesn’t speak English and might not have understood the paperwork involved for the compensated lunch program.

The child was supposed to be “reduced” to a cheese sandwich and carton of milk for lunch. But worried that he might be teased by other children for the paltry meals, Brame continued to feed the child the normal menu at Hudson Elementary School.

Dianne Brame sounds pretty cool, yes? Just the sort of lunch person you fancy yourself to be, all poor-helping and such. So, of course she was rewarded for her good behavior, right?

One of her co-workers reported her to Chartwells, the food service vendor for the school, and Brame was given the option of being “demoted and transferred” or released from her employment. According to MSN, she “could not work at another school because she walks to work” since losing her car after the death of her husband last spring.

YOU GUYS THIS IS LIKE AN AFTER-SCHOOL SPECIAL PLOT WHAT THE HELL. First she feeds the poor kid. Then one of her coworkers, who yr Wonkette likes to imagine is twirling his mustache in a dastardly fashion, reports her to the evil for-profit food service vendor (whose motto is, no lie, “eat, learn, live.” please go look at their website now because it is ridiculously sincere and full of large pix of vegetables). Said evil for-profit vendor promptly fires her. She is offered another position but can’t get there because walking to work because no car because husband died.

Good Lord Chartwells and Missouri and Webster Public Schools you are kind of awful. It is like you are in a race to see who can be more awful! Guess what? YOU ALL WIN. Know why? Because some or all of you are just stone cold misusing federal funds that are supposed to help the poor kid we started talking about ages ago before the jump. Allow, if you will, a moment for yr Wonkette to get downright wonky. You see, there are nutritional requirements for school lunches. Period. Remember the food pyramid? Now there’s the food plate, or pie. We’re not sure what it is, actually. With the new plate/pie/simon game from the 1980s graphic, kids get healthier food, like whole grains and fruits and veggies offered every day. Now, if one is a child of the poorer persuasion, does this mean you get unhealthy food, or no food? NO! You get a goddamn well-balanced nutritional meal and the federal government reimburses the school. SOCIALISM IS ALREADY HERE BITCHES.

There’s a silver lining here for Ms. Brame, as she was ultimately rehired but only on the condition she attend conflict resolution classes with her supervisor (WTF) and has been briefed on “official policy”  - which is that poor kids get the crappy cheese/milk lunch they are not supposed to be getting. Everyone in this story except awesome hero lunch lady and sometimes-fed poor kid sucks.

*Is this legal? In fact, it is not! But surely this is the kind of “illegal” for which there are no consequences, right? Actually, there are (!). The state department of education can take back the misused funds on behalf of the feds! Would Missouri do this? Eh, probably not because “Missouri.” You can’t have kids growing up thinking lunch is free.

[New York Daily News/Gawker]

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219 comments

      1. freakishlywrong

        I'm speaking of the Mayan calendar. Not such an awful fate after reading shit like that..and cheers, I'ma right behind you.

        1. finallyhappy

          that's right- America deserves the apocalypse- I am constantly sad and angry at what I read about things like this. There are the good people but I think the bad outweighs it (I am no Anne Frank) so evil aliens- come and destroy us and use our people to feed your livestock

  1. freakishlywrong

    Who does this to little kids? What's the point in shaming them on top of starving them? Fuck this shit sideways.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      I dated a stripper who had aged out of her career field; since she really had no other job skills she ended up as a lunch lady. She told me about doing the same thing as Ms Brame above for some of the poor kids, and even though Chartwell was contracted out to the school district, did not get (caught?) in trouble; in fact she now runs one of the biggest HS cafeterias in the district. Truly she rocked.

  2. SorosBot

    "Remember the food pyramid? "

    No; I'm old so I remember the four food groups, none of this shape-based shit they use for the kids today.

    1. mayor_quimby

      You see, the kids are too dumb today to memorize lists of groups, so just make a brightly colored poster with pictures of suitable food-like material.

  3. glasspusher

    If a cafeteria worker gives a kid too much food in Missouri, the system has a way of shutting that down.

  4. Tommmcatt_Again

    A plague of hateful small-mindedness has descended on this country. Us this really who we want to be?

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      In this case, it's not mere small mindedness, it s just pure corporate greed.

      Chartwell management meeting: "OK, good news. With federal funds, the district has upped the school lunch budget to $4 million this year, we've got the contract and apparently the doesn't give a shit how badly we abuse the federal guidelines, so we're rolling in gravy on this one."

      Feel better?

  5. snowpointsecret

    This would be a much better place for the federal government to step in than chasing down people getting high in their spare time, wouldn't it?

    1. Caradeloca

      This system sucks, but the feds aren't providing enough money per child per meal to feed kids well. In NYC where many schools have more than 90% of kids on free lunch, the food for everyone stinks. The for-profits need to go for sure, but priorities need to change. A few well-connected charters have done better, but only because of corporate support which is unreliable. When there's a massive "reform" movement aimed at shutting down public education a call for increasing dollars for school lunches can easily be shouted down as more "tax and spend" and "government interference."

  6. Goonemeritus

    Wait they rehired the nice lady and the poor kid gets to continue eating a balanced meal. The only downside is the conflict resolution class, I say we make that right by sending the nice lady a fruit basket or flowers or a fruit basket with flowers. I’m in if Wonkette will take my donation.

    1. Lizzietish81

      He's been put on the "free lunch" program.

      I think that's the cheese sandwhich.

      Also she's been rehired, but has to go to conflict training and be reminded of company policy.

      1. Goonemeritus

        OK I reread the piece and your right, how about this we give her cash to buy herself a nice dinner in thanks for being cool and the rest she can use to buy the kid the full meal. My mother was a lunch lady for years after her kids were grown, and though she didn’t need the money she loved the job. It was a pretty well to do area but kids would come to school without the funds to buy a lunch mostly because every brain synapse they had was used trying to figure out how to get laid. My mother always bought their lunch for them out of her own pocket because she is Italian and kids should eat.

        1. Angela Eloise

          We could start a Dianne Brame School Lunch fund via Crowdrise.com. Money collected can be donated to her to use to buy lunches for the kids she sees every day who need help buying proper, nutritional lunches. Who better than the lunch lady to know who can most use the help? We know who she is, we know where she works, presumably we could find out where she lives. If we were to raise enough money, we could also give funds to other lunch ladies in other schools.

          1. Goonemeritus

            You’re the best, tell us where to send the money or do the PayPal—Edrix are you and your team interested in helping set this up?

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Actually, the behind the scenes activities of the lunch ladies at the school cafeteria are fraught with peril and psychodrama. Some of those servers would just plain cut an assistant manager bitch. (See my other post in this thread, from whence I know about these things).

      1. SorosBot

        Now, be fair; it could be someone who had some personal grudge against Brame, and just decided that the poor kid was acceptable collateral damage to get her. Either way that person is a douchebag.

  7. chicken_thief

    The most depressing thing about this article is that the poorz get separate but also too crappier food. WTF? You have no food at home 'cause you chose to be born into the poorz instead of a nice Romney family, so here, eat a fucking shit sammich to ward off the growling tummy.

    YOU'RE WELCOME!!!

  8. BTWBFDIMHO

    Those poorz may also need some legitimate outlets for their overestimulated glands. Can we increase property taxes to, never mind.

  9. bikerlaureate

    An obvious solution to this problem would be bake sales, except that the "reduced lunch" kids would be salivating at all the baked goods.

    At least we're all free in real America.
    (sigh)

    1. Oblios_Cap

      "Are there no prisons? Are the Union workhouses still there?"

      "If they would rather die…they had better do it and decrease the surplus poplulation"

      My God, you're right!

  10. Beowoof

    For profit companies that provide services formerly provided by the government are run by profit hungry douche bags. More evidence republicans want suck every last dime they can from the government and then tell me how bad it is.
    And really, having a special lunch for the poor kids that is worse than a regular school lunch. Now that requires some real effort and douche bag skills.

    1. finallyhappy

      School lunch is always shitty here. Whenever I am in Paris, I marvel at the public school lunch menus- even for pre-school(they don't call it that). There they have a separate cheese course- really- not a crappy sandwich as the whole lunch! Sometimes the cheese course may be a yogurt as I remember and the lunches have several courses.

  11. actor212

    Bobby: I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
    Waitress: A #2, chicken salad sand. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?
    Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
    Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
    Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.

  12. Gayer_Than_Thou

    Poor, hungry children eating slightly more nutritious meals without paying? This is just the tip of the socialist iceberg that awaits us once Obama gets done taking our guns away and sending our grandmothers to the death panels. It's just the kind of thing they do in Muslim countries where ACORN and the Black Panthers commit all the voter fraud they want, and everyone is forced into paying for everyone else's gay married abortions. USA!

  13. Oblios_Cap

    No wonder all them A-rabs hate us for our freedoms. One of which is, apparently, to starve when there's food available.

    1. SorosBot

      "There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."

      Remember, one of our parties actually nominated a candidate who doesn't think people are entitles to health care, housing, or even fucking food. Shitstain.

  14. SayItWithWookies

    This alleged "Missouri" place could save an assload of money by not hiring a contractor, making the food in its own kitchen instead of reheating processed crap that was trucked in from a thousand miles away and preparing fresh, edible meals. Because there's some shit the free market doesn't do well, and that includes providing for people who don't have much money. But no, they'd rather spend money on some KBR wannabe so they can make a website with pictures of good food and cases full of Wonder bread and Velveeta. Fuck this dogmatically free-market bullshit.

  15. Serolf_Divad

    To be fair, if they'd fired me for feeding poor kids, those "conflict resolution" classes might not be such a bad idea, just from a preemptive standpoint and all.*

    *Maybe if Jesus had conflict resolution classes he'd have kindly asked the money changers to leave instead of going all postal on their asses.

      1. Serolf_Divad

        Horrifying, but don't worry about this kid growing up will all sorts of resentment against society and doing something unthinkable , because of it. If there's anything the last few decades have taught us is that being teased, bullied and otherwise ridiculed builds strength of character.

    1. SuspectedDemocrat

      Jesus would have been educated on the temple's official money-changer policies, and offered a transfer or reassignment.

  16. WhatTheHeck

    Starve a stomach, starve a brain.
    It's all part of the plan to keep each new generations stupid.
    And man, is it working.

  17. Kitty_Sanchez

    I grew up in one of the reddest red states and "free-lunch" kids (and there were quite a few, I'm sure) were never called out and never treated any differently, and we kids *understood* it was because it was way uncool to make them feel bad just because they were poor.

    Is it like this *everywhere* now, or is Missouri just a hellish exception?

    1. SorosBot

      Since some fuckwads brag about giving shit to people for buying their food with EBT cards, I'm afraid the shitheads are pulling this horrible crap everywhere.

  18. snowpointsecret

    The ad for this article here is for the Pizza Hut Dinner Box. Cheese and bread, huh? Sounds like Pizza Hut is the real vendor for this school.

  19. GoodDogThor

    Was the kid's name 'Oliver'? Did he plaintively ask "Can I have some more?". Sure sounds like 21st Century 'Murica = 19th Century Britain.

  20. glasspusher

    Nine o'clock mornings
    Five o'clock evenings
    I'd liven the pace if I could
    Oh I'd rather have ham in my sandwich than cheese
    but complaining won't do any good…

        1. poorgradstudent

          Living in Missouri, I can tell you firsthand that Southerners (like me) say Missouri is the Midwest but everyone else says Missouri is the South.

    1. DaiMacculate

      Yes, its very important we know exactly WHICH part of the "state" of Missouri this took place in. I'd hate to confuse one incredibly shitty area of it with another incredibly shitty area of it.

      1. largefooted

        Its very important for Wonkette to continue its increasing downward spiral of quality. Look back to its Missouri posts in '09-'10. Those were funny and quality. This is just shows that Wonkette follows the following process now:

        Have Google Alerts for a bunch of words
        Glance at the article.
        Write something
        Find pull quotes

        No wonder the traffic is down so much they have to use the "One Weird Trick" adds.

        1. DaiMacculate

          After having lived there for a significant chunk of the 90s and early 00s, I avoid all things related to Missouri, as it is a backwards hellhole from which seemingly nothing good can ever escape.

          So no, haven't really noticed.

        2. VodkaGoGo

          Traffic is up. Read any article from 2 years ago and compare page views and comments. And have you seen our panties? We sell panties now. They're unsoiled which is a thing we have to work on but still, we have panties now.

      2. VodkaGoGo

        Is that in the part of Missouri with all the billboards for adult bookstores along the highway? Oh, that's the entire state?

  21. BornInATrailer

    Shit, I thought having to get checked off for the free/reduced lunch and/or stand in a different line was already humiliating enough when I was a poor kid. But a separate even sadder lunch? Wow.

  22. MissTaken

    I would like to see the fuckwads at Chartwells try to eat, learn, and live on just a cheese sandwich and carton of milk.

    1. malsperanza

      They are fuckwad idiots because like so many Americans they grew up eating an exclusive diet of Kraft mini toaster pizzas, pop tarts, and Coke. If it weren't for the communists putting fluoride in the water, they'd have holes in their teeth to go with the holes in their hearts.

  23. DahBoner

    Maybe God will cause the shelves above her head to collapse and kill this wicked lady with a 5 pound can of beans, like he did with the city of SODOM…

    Ezekiel 16:49
    "'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

  24. gullywompr

    I've read quite enough shit about school children being wronged thank you very much. It's not that this stuff gets written, it that the stuff that was written about happened in the first place. Fuck everyone that thinks maltreatment of even a single child is an "unintended consequence", and fuck anyone who tries to fuck the hero lunch ladies that stand up for the kids. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck! Enough is enough.

    1. finallyhappy

      we are a fine state-it is true- but tell people you are from Montgomery or Howard or even PG- not Harford or Cecil

  25. larrykat

    At least the poor lunch isn't, like, refried beans and tortillas… because Arizona has already spoken for that menu.

  26. mavenmaven

    All I can say is that I hate stool pigeons, and one can guess what that "informant" would have done under Stalinist or Nazi regimes.
    On the other hand, respect for Dianne Brame.

  27. not that Dewey

    "Starve the little children, and hinder them, for they deserve to be shamed because their parents are poor, probably from making bad choices."

    -Supply Side Jesus

  28. FraAnima

    I assume this takes place in Winter's Bone, right? Why can't the kid just cook up some meth and make a few extra bucks for food? Capitalism rocks!

  29. UnholyMoses

    Dear Gawker,

    There is no such thing as "Missouri's Channel 5" because, you see, there is no channel for the entire fucking state. Thus, it would be "St. Louis' Channel 5" because that's the city in which the station is located.

    I realize y'all probably don't make it out this way very often — and, with stories such as these, I fully understand why you don't — but it would be nice if you could do some basic goddamn research, such as going to the channel's homepage and noticing the "St. Louis News" at top. Pretty simple, really.

    As punishment, you must go and make me a cheese sammich.

    That is all.

  30. PopeEdgardo

    "You can’t have kids growing up thinking lunch is free." Hey, don't feed them anything and they won't grow up at all. Problem solved.

  31. freakishlywrong

    Did Jebus send the tornado through Joplin to punish them for this shit? If not, he's not a just God.

  32. malsperanza

    Bread? Check. Cheese? Check. Put some ketchup on that cheese and you got the vegetable and the fruit. All 4 food groups.

  33. Estproph

    "…non-complete-meal that poor kids get*, which appears to be a cheese sandwich and a carton of milk."
    Years and years ago, in Missouri, I remember this as my school-provided lunch on occasion. It did have bologna, but otherwise, this was pretty common.

    "…likes to imagine is twirling his mustache in a dastardly fashion"
    I remember him too.

  34. Theywontlisten

    It's because the president is a nigg…. It's his fault for being a 1/2 nigg.. and it's the kid's fault for making the poor choices of being a poor and picking the wrong family . Personal responsibility you know? Oh yeah and fuck the snitch and the cafeteria tray it rode in on. Oh yeah and fuck "for profit" school lunch providers. The Mayans better do their thing and shut this whole fucking thing down in one way or another or fuck them too.

  35. VodkaGoGo

    So OT: it's still not clear if this gross thing popping out of my neck is cancerous or not so the next step is a biopsy and more waiting. I think maybe I'm going to spend some of my free time doing something new and truly worthwhile like pooping somewhere I've never pooped before and also maybe gambling like, a ton. Definately gambling a shit load sounds like a good idea.

    1. finallyhappy

      While I do not know your real name- I said a healing prayer(in Hebrew- because that is the only language God understands (- if he/she/they exist) using VodkaGoGo as the person to be healed. I figure if there is someone listening- they know who you are.

      1. VodkaGoGo

        In real life I'm called Kevin Donally. Kind of a typical fat Irish dumbass name. Spelled in Gaelic my first name is like 14 letters long and includes way more G's than any literate person would expect. I appreciate the prayer, being prayed for in Hebrew somehow seems way more legit than father Ron at my parish.

    2. sati_demise

      genuine hemp oil cures cancer. this is the hash oil or honey oil- not the oil from hemp seeds. distilled from buds

      1. VodkaGoGo

        So what would I do with that exactly? Like bathe in it or something? I'm going to skip that advice and listen to my doctor. I'm not ragging on you, it seems like genuinely well intentioned advice but also too I think if slathering hemp oil all over yourself or imbibing it or whatever cures cancer we would be talking a lot more about that.

    3. jello_mold

      VGG, hmm. Different. I;d try it but I can't plan ahead like some people. I just dress up and see who invites me to tag along to whatever. I am so sorry about you're having to wait. I hated waiting but I knew my lump was bad. I didn't want to talk to anyone but it kept me from getting too shit faced, so I hope you have somebody.

      Let's invent a drink, call it VodkaGoGo and raise a glass to your health. Maybe pepper vodka and…? what do you think? Is there a recipe already?

      1. VodkaGoGo

        I beat it once when I was a teenager but now with my rapid onset of middle age I'm not at all confident that I have the energy to fight it off again. But I've been in a rather dark mood the last few days and thankfully I'm feeling more optimistic again. It's good to feel normalish even when nothing is normal.

        I think if there was to be a drink named after me it would have to be made with well vodka, perhaps infused with peperoncini and finished with lime and served over a few ice cubes. That is a drank I'd be proud to have named after me.

  36. malsperanza

    Also too, here is how wonderful Chartwells is:

    "Chartwells is part of a huge, publicly traded international food services conglomerate based in the United Kingdom, the Compass Group, that reports annual sales of $9.3 billion. Chartwells provides the food each day for 2.5 million kids in more than 500 school districts across the U.S. "

    Nice little article about a kickback procurement scandal:
    http://grist.org/article/food-are-kickbacks-from-

    1. zumpie

      I was waiting for someone to post some info about the extremely evvvvillll Compass Group. I worked for them for about a year in a different division–not one bit surprised by this article. They're probably the sleaziest company I've ever worked for (and working in hospitality, I know from sleaze).

      It's another one of those companies filled with 2 types of employees: kool-aid drinking lifers and hapless dupes who stumble into employment. The lifers LIVE to tattle on the dupes.

  37. Dumbedup

    Ahh…and yet every sunday preachers across Missouri take to the pulpit and preach…christianity to the assembled….christians, who presumably elect officials who make these rules. These people would make Jesus puke, I'm pretty sure.

  38. shelwood46

    Hey, remember a few months ago when some whiny baby upper middle class high school students were complaining that they couldn't survive on the new Federal school lunches of only 1000 calories?

    Poor kids in Missouri should eat them.

  39. revmatty

    Webster Groves is considered one of the more liberal cities in the metro area. She could have been much worse off if she were further out in the county. That said Chartwells serves mostly low quality crap, not nearly enough fruit and vegetables are even more scarce. At least they stopped making chocolate milk the primary milk choice. It's not unusual for grilled cheese sandwiches to be the only hot option for breakfast.

  40. outragedcitizen

    God, this story makes me so proud to be a Missourian!
    Actually, I haven't lived there in sixty years and I swear to God I will never set foot in that miserable, backward, rush limbaugh-loving state again!

  41. mustangsavvy

    “eat, learn, live. unless you are a poor kid: in that case eat and shut up about it or I'll give you something to cry about.”

    Fucking hell this is awful.

  42. docterry6973

    What would be the point of giving poor kids the healthy lunch that other kids get? The whole point of poorz is so we can punish them and humiliate them in a hundred petty ways for being poorz, and, so, no good.

    I had short rations a few times in my childhood, and I didn't like it at all. Still don't.

  43. Steverino247

    I once had to travel to Missouri to pick up a kid whose relatives had put him in the local psych hospital. When I got there, I discovered it was the relatives who were insane, so I brought him back to California and he lived happily ever after. The end.

  44. drbill0620

    Supervisor calls out at the top of his lungs – "We need more processed artificial cheese product sammiches with yellow dye #3 down here. There's more poor kids in line."

    "And make it snappy or I'll send you lunch ladies to conflict rez."

  45. DocChaos

    A cheese sandwich and a carton of milk would be an improvement for my daughter, who manages to only eat the cheese puffs in her lunch most of the time, leaving me to throw out uneaten sandwiches when I pack her lunch the next day.

  46. Walter_White

    Sadly, this story reminds me of when I was a new teacher and was in the student lunch line on spaghetti day. I held my tray out for cheese and the lady dumped a teaspoon full on my spaghetti; I kept it there and jiggled it a little and she snarled "only one teaspoon". Afterward I realized why there was someone there rationing the cheese…because you only get one teaspoon, dumbass…

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