Oddly enough - Can't pay for lunch? Hard cheese

19th September 2008 at 01:00

America, America, the land of plenty, where combine harvesters the size of cathedrals slice through wheatfields the size of Wales.

You might think children are not forced to go hungry there, but no one Stateside likes a debtor who hasn't first grafted long and hard for his pancakes.

In an effort to recoup $207,000 (pound;116,000) in unpaid dinner money debts, officials in the Edmonds district of Washington state are taking lunch trays from children whose accounts are in the red and replacing them with a cheese sandwich.

Under the rules, the child is allowed to pass through the canteen. But if the cashier finds their account is more than $10 overdrawn, the food is snatched away. The child is then issued with the pauper's sandwich.

Protests against the practice later forced officials to allow children to claim a free glass of milk with the sandwich. Cashiers reported pupils crying as their food was taken away.

It's almost enough to make you grateful for Jamie Oliver.

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