From the insult-to-injury desk of Americans Against The Tea Party, comes the latest example of how the privatization of education is leading the nation to ruin. In Lafayette, Colorado a former charter school principal is speaking up after being fired for what she claims was her refusal to shame the less privileged students during school lunches.
The dispute arose from a policy in the school mandating that poor children- either those who qualified for school lunch assistance, or those who merely lacked the necessary funds for lunch- were required to have their hands stamped whenever they were found to be without money in the lunch room. Noelle Roni states she first became aware of the policy in September and immediately upon learning of it, took steps to stop it. In an interview with The Daily Camera, Roni had this to say about her reaction,
[box type=”shadow”]“As soon as I saw it happening, I was like, ‘No, this is not OK. The students felt so humiliated, like they had done something wrong. They didn’t want to go into the lunchroom any more. It’s unethical and disrespectful.”[/box]
Roni says upon learning of the policy, she approached the cafeteria worker in charge of the stamping, insisting that it stop. Despite the principal’s decree, the stamping continued. Eventually the cafeteria worker in question resigned. Peak to Peak charter school executive director Kelly Reeser shortly placed Roni on administrative leave prior to terminating her, citing claims that it was Roni refused “to accept responsibility” for the resignation of the cafeteria worker, calling her conduct “unprofessional.”
Parents throughout the school district and especially those with children attending Peak to Peak, have expressed outrage at the firing and the policy, leading to a public outcry which has caused a recall election for two of the board members. Voting is expectedd to be to finalized on January 15th.
Peak to Peak President Thomas Willetto, who records show has been a supporter of the Republican party and conservative politicians such as Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann, refused to comment directly on the matter under advice from legal counsel. However in the email statement in which he declined to offer a direct comment, Willetto did reference the public reaction to Roni’s firing as cause for Peak to Peak board members to review the decision.
This case of poverty-shaming in schools comes just on the heels of another recent classist suggestion floated by a Republican in regards to schools and school lunches. Last month Georgia Tea Party Congressman Jack Kingston told a Jackson County Republican forum that he believed poor kids should be made to sweep the floors and clean the cafeteria in exchange for their meals.
This most recent case of a private charter school, run by an apparently dedicated Republican conservative, does give one pause when held in the context of the larger class war being waged by the right, which in this sense, seems to have developed yet another battle ground in which children — with no other business but that of schoolwork — are seen and used as pawns in their sick game of rich vs. poor.