Home / Uncategorized / West Virginia Republican Lawmaker Suggests Poor Kids Do Janitorial Work To Pay For Lunch
West Virginia Republican Lawmaker Suggests Poor Kids Do Janitorial Work To Pay For Lunch

West Virginia Republican Lawmaker Suggests Poor Kids Do Janitorial Work To Pay For Lunch

A lawmaker from West Virginia, on the heels of that state overwhelmingly passing a bill that enhances the affordability of school lunch programs, suggested a different route: Make the kids work for their lunches by doing janitorial and housekeeping duties.

ray canterbury wvRay Canterbury (R-Greenbrier), in contrary to supporting The Feed to Achieve Act, which would establish non-profit organizations to collect private donations to go towards paying for the breakfasts and lunches for poor West Virginia students, offered the following alternative plan:

I think it would be a good idea if perhaps we had the kids work for their lunches: trash to be taken out, hallways to be swept, lawns to be mowed, make them earn it. If they miss a lunch or they miss a meal they might not, in that class that afternoon, learn to add, they may not learn to diagram a sentence, but they’ll learn a more important lesson.

Canterbury argued that the bill, which passed by an 89-9 margin, would “destroy their work ethic“, since the children would be getting free meals.

West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the union, with 26% of children living in poverty, and 55% of children qualify for free or reduced priced meals.

Democratic lawmaker Meshea Poore took offense at Canterbury’s proposal. She said:

I’m offended anybody in this body would dare say a child has to work for their meals. I can’t believe someone would say a first-grader, a second-grader … a fifth-grader has to labor before they eat. This isn’t an entitlement bill.

Indeed. Children already suffer enough emotionally and socially from being poor. Making them do janitorial and housekeeping work in order to eat is beyond insensitive, and further stigmatizes them. We think that Ray Canterbury is just another out of touch Republican who is “out to lunch” with this proposal.



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I'm the founder of Progressive Populist and a passionate Liberal-Progressive who despises the Tea Party


  1. Author Image

    What is it with libs and handouts?? Why on Earth shouldn’t these kids have to earn it?

    • Author Image

      exactly gelgamark,put those lazy first graders to work cleaning bathrooms.

      • Author Image

        I was a janitor for the Los Angeles Unified School District. The chemicals used in cleaning the school looks exactly like Kool-Aid. How would explain to the parents about all of the accidental poisonings that would happen if kids clean the schools. Besides wouldn’t their time be better spent studying so they can get the education to get out of poverty?

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      Do you have kids? Do you make them work before you will feed them? If not, aren’t you providing them something they didn’t earn, thereby teaching them that they are entitled to free meals? It is people like you that makes me question how the hell the human race ever evolved past the single cell organism stage.

      As for Ray Canterbury, it looks like he should take his own advice and work for a few meals, while working off a few meals while he’s at it. I love it when fat people want to make others work for food.

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      First there child labor laws. Second if your a Christian it is your duty to help those less fortunate. Third do you make your 5 year old mow the lawn before he or she eats?

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        4th, it is NOT the child’s responsibility to pay for his lunch. It is the responsibility of the parent. You want to have mom or dad come in and volunteer time to pay for kid’s lunch, fine.

        But to think that a five year old is responsible for providing for themselves is encroaching upon insanity, and a damn good example of what is wrong with today’s Republicans.

        I know! If a person with children applies for Food Stamps, we should force the kids to work in the Coal Mines to pay for those food stamps. Why should adults take responsibility for themselves and their own kids? Put those little freeloading 5 year olds down a mine shaft….

        Gelgadork, you probably think this is a fine idea don’t you?

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      Gee tell that to all the REPUBLICAN VOTERS in these RED STATES that use these free meal programs. I bet you didn’t do ANY CHORES growing up before you were allowed to eat. So your parents were just supposed to GIVE YOU free food?? How dare they!! They should have attached dusting clothes to you and set you crawling to clean before you got breast fed you freeloader!!

  2. Author Image

    Sounds like a form of slavery to me, especially since the majority of the children will likely be minorities. The fact that this could even take them away from learning and maybe cost some of their parents to lose jobs just adds to the stupidity of it. Does he really think that this will help the children and their self esteem when their classmates start ridiculing them for being janitors, etc?

    On the plus side when one of them gets injuries and the state/tax payers gets sued and have to pay for medical treatment and other cost for the children the votes might decide vote this idiot out of office just makes it that much better.

    • Author Image

      Well a higher percentage of black kids are poor than white kids…so the slavery issue may work since it’s in their heritage. I’ll laugh if they sell each other into this slavery like they did in Africa. Why are you so excited at the notion of them being injured and sponging more money off the government? Lol how backwards can you get??

  3. Author Image

    The only way something like a ‘work to eat idea’ would work is if ALL were made to work for it no matter how much money their parents may or may not have. For some kids, the food they get at school might be the only food they’re sure of in a day. As someone who got through school on free/reduced lunch, as someone who was bullied as a child, I’m both appalled yet unsurprised to read about someone wanting to paint a target on children’s backs for something they have no control over. The world is harsh enough, why do people want to keep adding to it?

  4. Author Image

    What is more distressing than the fact that this POS could suggest this it the fact that the only comments I see here are from more dirt bags who think that feeding children lunch is some kind of imposition on them personally. I’d be willing to bet that every one of these smug jerks has the temerity to identify themselves as “Christian.” Here’s a newsflash for all of you, you don’t have a Christian bone or thought in your bodies.

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      Why should I have to pay for someone else’s kids to eat? Are you a slow adult or something?I’m not xtian by the way, simply rational and I’m not ruled by emotion like you effeminate goofs.

      • Author Image

        You’re a POS that’s no better than my fellow Torontonians who say the same things online in local media, and need to be doing some of the same work yourself. Either that, or stop watching the usual right-wing nonsense TV that you get your ‘news’ from.

  5. Author Image

    So now people that don’t agree with your views are effeminate? Really don’t see how that fits in with providing poor children with a decent meal. I would much rather see my tax money go for this purpose then for building more bombs and weapons of war. Who knows? Maybe one of these children will become a renowned physician or scientist whose work saves many lives. Also, having an advanced degree in chemistry, I don’t really care for the slow adult comment. And as a scientist, I know rational thinking is not the same as cruel and selfish thinking.

  6. Author Image

    I guess you read the head line but not the story there gelgadork. It says the bill passed will collect from private donations to fund the extra lunches. So you don’t have to pay for anything. Are you sure you are not Christian? Your willingness to let children go hungry sounds much like the Christians of today.

  7. Author Image

    I saw a documentary (or maybe a news story) recently that shows that in many Japanese schools, the students all participate in janitorial / housekeeping duties. Frankly I think it’s a wonderful idea, but it should not be targeted at the poor kids, who are already swimming upstream against potentially being stygmatized by their better-off peers. No, it should be required of ALL kids to do this. Community responsibility for the cleanliness, health and ambience of their collective surroundings. It would teach the kids a lot about cooperation, consideration and the hard work of keeping a space livable, rather than having some invisible pixies spiff it up overnight. Provide food assistance to the kids who need it, but put their wealthier classmates alongside them with a dustmop.

    • Author Image

      I’m sorry, Charlotte, but most of the kids have tons of homework (in addition to household chores and part-time jobs, most likely) to do for them to be doing this as well. If the state can afford to build super jails, give big budgets to the state police and municipal police forces, and all of the other things money’s wasted on, they can find some money in the budgets to spend on janitorial staff and NEW schools.

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