Children who receive school lunch assistance should be made to work for their lunches, a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates has claimed.
During a delegate discussion of Senate Bill 663, which is also known as the Feed to Achieve Act, Ray Canterbury from Greenbrier, argued, "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."
The new measure, which has already been unanimously passed in the state Senate, seeks to not only provide school children with a meal, but also to help children understand the value of working for something.
"If they [students] 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 stated, according to the State Journal.
"I think what we're doing is undermining work ethic and teaching students they don't have to work hard," he added.
The bill passed the House of Delegates with bipartisan support 89 to 9 and is expected to be signed into law before the end of April.
However, not all delegates were thrilled that school children - from kindergarten through high school seniors - would be required to work for their school meals.
"I'm offended that anybody in this body would dare say that a child has to work for their meal," Meshea Poore, a Democrat from Kanawha, said during the debate.
"If they can't afford it, tell them to pick up some trash? Tell them to wipe down the chalk board? I cannot believe that anybody in this body would say a first-grader, a second-grader, a third-grader, a fourth-grader, a fifth-grader has to labor before they can eat."
"It is pathetic that in a country as wealthy as this, that we're talking about whether we should feed kids or not," House Majority Leader Brent Boggs said. "Somebody better check your pulse and see if you're still living if these things don't touch you."