I was absolutely appalled and outraged over the recent decision by our republican controlled legislature to not approve funding which would have provided milk  for low-income children in our schools.  What an absolute example of class separation that you have just taught these young, impressionable children.  Which ever side of the financial boundary your child falls on, the trauma and damage is done.  If the parents can not afford this, the child is subject to ridicule, feelings of embarrassment, low self-esteem, and even bullying;  while the other children are made to feel superior, affluent, and entitled.  By this simple act, you have, again, clarified to all of society that we live by the standard of the “have and have-nots.”

Lawmakers in the North Dakota House voted 24-69 against a measure sponsored by Rep. Josh Boschee, D-Fargo, to allocate $560,000 in state funds to ensure all kindergarten through third-grade students from low-income families get milk or juice during class breaks.

No matter how they try to explain themselves, these Republican North Dakota House legislators who voted against a milk-for-children appropriation; come off looking stingy, mean, cold-hearted, and uncaring.  Their excuses ranged from “too expensive” to “other sources of funding can be found” to  “why should the state do it?”  This came about because the federal government said that they would no longer fund the program, so it now falls back on the states to decide.  I could possibly understand the “refusal to fund” mentality, if our state was in the red financially, but this is not the case in North Dakota.

In a state busting with oil revenue (when all spending is approved, surpluses will total more than $1 billion), the Republican-controlled Legislature falls all over itself to fund roads, bridges, higher education, and passed 6 of the toughest anti-abortion laws all on the primus that “we care about the safety and well-being of our unborn children.”  We as a society must either support children of all ages, or not.  These legislators obviously talk out of both sides of their mouths.  They push tax breaks for oil companies and big corporations (most of them from out-of-state). But they refuse to squeeze out a few pennies, so that a few children can ha­ve milk or juice during classroom breaks. The callousness  of this one-act is startling, disappointing and this is in a state that says that their official state beverage is…you guessed it…milk.

I challenge all people, to stand up for the rights of children and I ask that all local school districts and communities attempt to bridge this unfortunate mistake.  My oldest son, who lives out-of-state, voiced his disappointment over this occurence by saying, “I am ashamed to say that I am from North Dakota.”

And this from the people entrusted to provide for the citizens of North Dakota, when not to long ago, our main source of revenue was from agriculture products and we were thought of as a rural state and not an urban one…how soon we forget our past.

Advertisements