As a parent, I support Tacoma’s teachers and am thrilled the parties reached a compromise resolution. That being said, The Seattle Times’ coverage of the strike was disappointing, as it did not mention that students eligible for free or reduced school meals were forced to do without.
The Tacoma School District prided itself on providing meals at 12 schools during the strike; however, this constitutes only 22 percent of Tacoma’s schools — which is wholly insufficient as 58 percent of students receive free or reduced meals. Further, the school district refused to bus students so they may eat, even though drivers did not strike, and parents were happy to serve meals.
Tragically, many students do not know from where their next meal will come. This is why school-meal programs, substantially reimbursed by the federal government, play a pivotal role in reducing food insecurity by providing nutritious USDA-approved meals. Additionally, research shows that children enrolled in school-meal programs score better on tests, demonstrate improved learning skills, and have considerably lower rates of absenteeism.
Hopefully, other school districts will learn from Tacoma’s mistakes and protect their children.
Leslie Schaar, Tacoma