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Letter: $90K of Taxpayer Money to Lock in Benicia High Schoolers in at Lunch?

"How can a school district abruptly strip it away, intrusively playing 'Big Brother' at a point when students need to learn how to progressively manage their personal development for school, college and the work world?"

The following letter comes from Benicia resident, Pat Anderson. Post your opinion to Benicia Patch here

I'm sorry -- but I find it pretty damn hard to believe that three-fifths of our School Board, in the space of 45 minutes, voted away up to $90,000 of our public educational funds to support an unproven, hare-brained scheme:  locking in all 1,400 of our high schoolers during their lunch period, and forcing cafeteria food on them.  That the vote was championed by Mr. Messina, who recently  bemoaned spending a quarter of that amount on a long-deserved parcel tax for our schools, is beyond belief!

All three board members showed immaturity and disrespect to the public and their colleagues by not tabling the motion until the full five-member Board could discuss this cock-eyed "program."

Under the vague heading of improved "safety,"  1400 of our teenagers are to be abruptly locked in, and told that their state-issued drivers licenses are worthless while school is in session.  NO hard research is presented in a public forum. Just anecdotes and hunches.  Goofy, unsubstantiated claims.  Fears are framed.  Whoosh.   We suddenly "lock down" with such stellar high schools as Vallejo's and Pittsburgh's.

Trying to magically eradicate a few automobile accidents among teen aged drivers, sad as they truly are, is hardly justification for shredding the earned liberty of every single student who steadfastly worked to earn their driving privileges.  Parents, we grandparents and students themselves worked and saved hard and long to support the student's driving responsibility.   How can a school district abruptly strip it away, intrusively playing "Big Brother" at a point when students need to learn how to progressively manage their personal development for school, college and the work world? 

BTW -- Did anyone ask the local food-serving merchants how they'll make up for lost revenues and the locally-generated sales-tax?  When the administration claims this will be slowly implemented, why the sudden rush to implement with a generous budget?  What other pressing and truly educational needs are dumped so that a "bait and switch" forced implementation can be rushed through?

In addition, a big "No thanks" to the imperious Ms. La Riviere.  Her sardonic statements and poor analogies at the Board meeting and in the press reflect a top-down nastiness towards others' points of view.  She seems regrettably tone-deaf to adolescents' needs to be allowed to wrestle with these stages and responsibilities of their own development.  

Locking in students to stand in even longer, dreary  food lines, -- fanciful  awnings or not --and sit in crowded quarters every single school day, chowing down on school cafeteria food?!   How "safe"  can that nonsense be for students' public health and student morale?   What of those who must return home for medical, dietary or parental needs?  And should some horrific Columbine-style event occur, why on earth cramp everybody into a fishbowl-on-campus?

Leave that $90,000 of our tax dollars in the educational budget alone, friends.  This sham is counter to real, serious educational needs.

Share your thoughts below this story, or click here to post your own opinion to Benicia Patch here

Babaloo March 12, 2013 at 04:08 AM
So basically you are taking away their rights as a "free" person. meaning they are not really free when they are at school. So that means the School is "responsible for them". ie. food, shelter. the school district is taking on alot of responsibility. How can the school purchase food for the entire school every day. Lunch must now be provided for those who cannot afford to pay for it themselves by keeping the children "captive". making them "a ward of the state" during school hours. if they were allowed to go home their food is " paid for by their families". if they stay at school ...and are not allowed to leave. then the school MUST provide food , shelter and safety for these children. Since they cannot provide food, shelter for these students, these students should not be "held captive or against their will". this subject will not go away until " our people are set free".
Babaloo March 12, 2013 at 04:10 AM
um,,our jobs are being outsourced already by " corporations" an inanimate object. and oboma...NOBAMA.. moneyboma...
JC March 12, 2013 at 04:29 AM
..."Not just locks... barbed wire for the fences and guardhouses at the parking lot exits which will probably be staffed..." Were we talking about the High School, or a Prison? I'm confused. I'm sure that EVERYONE involved with the decision, had an open campus, while in H.S. And none of them, chose to remain on campus- for every lunch, while attending school. So, how many additional cafeteria's are going to be built? Because everyone remembers that the Jocks were never hanging out anywhere near the Gear-heads who were no where near the Nerds. So at least 2 additional inside area's available to consume food are needed. (but should be more like 1 additional full-cafeteria, and 4+ inside areas, to consume food) And by treating the students like prisoners, I predict that they will begin to act more like prisoners. There will be a huge increase in altercations, between students. Along with declining test scores, and higher absence rates. Even today, High School students have no idea, of how to act in the real world - because they are becoming increasingly isolated from being personally responsible for anything. It used to be the kids responsibility to get to the bus stop on-time. Before and after school. Not anymore. If you were getting thirsty, you had to plan a pass by a working water faucet - BETWEEN CLASSES. Somehow, it became a constitutional right, that kids may bring drinks into the classrooms, and consume them during class? MORE LATER
Winter March 12, 2013 at 11:00 PM
the best money every spent was in deciding to protect our children by closing campus at lunch ... should have been accomplished years ago and will most likely save many kids lives!
"The Black Panther of Poetry" March 13, 2013 at 03:21 AM
hear .... hear!!

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