Should Schools Charge Students a Rental Fee for Forks and Spoons?
Thanks to "some high school idiots" who stole "handfuls of forks," a school is now charging students a 10-cent rental fee for each utensil. A mom asked Reddit if she's out of line for questioning the policy.
Many school policies are rooted in reasonable logic, but every now and then, administrators enforce eyebrow-raising rules. A mom, writing in the "Am I the Assh***" subreddit under the handle Girlboredatworktoday, shared one that's truly bizarre: Apparently, if kids at her daughter's school need a fork at lunchtime, they're being asked to pay a 10-cent rental fee.
The original poster (OP) explained, "My daughter packs her own lunch each morning, and it is typically a salad. That poor child forgot to pack a fork and asked the lunch lady for one up at the register. That woman told her that there is a 10-cent charge to rent a fork at the high school. Yep, if you do not buy a school lunch you must pay 10 cents."
So, the OP called her daughter's school for more information on this unusual rule. She was "transferred all over" after stating she needed to speak to someone about "renting forks." "No one knew what to do with me and even hung up on me the first time," she wrote. "I am assuming they thought it was a prank."
Finally, she spoke with the school nutritionist and was told that the previous year, "some high school idiots would run into the cafe line and steal handfuls of forks to then make 'clothes' and 'hats.'" The mom "asked if the kids walking around in fork hats and shirts were caught and punished, and she stated that they were." So, then the OP asked why they would punish the other 1500+ kids who didn't steal by "making them RENT EATING UTENSILS, and she stated that charging for the forks is a deterrent."
The OP said she wasn't sure how making kids pay for forks would prevent stealing and offered to pay the school $1 to cover the cost of any rental fees her daughter might have to pay over the next four years. "I wanted to know what to include to rent the seat she sits in while I was at it," Girlboredatworktoday said.
She then asked the AITA community if she's in the wrong "for fussing at the school over something so minor." "I feel like my child is punished for something she wasn't even a part of and didn't know about," the OP explained. "And I am mad she has to go around asking for a freaking dime to eat her salad."
Redditors were torn on the subject. Plenty agreed with the mom that requiring kids to rent utensils seems strange and unnecessary. "I see their point, but asking for a 100% returnable deposit instead would be better," wrote Crisis_Redditor. "Why are they punishing every student, now and in the future, for what one entitled kid did?"
AngelCat00 added, "I would think that having to go and ask the lunch lady to hand you a fork would be enough to keep a kid from taking handfuls of forks. Adding a charge on top of that seems like overkill."
Cheeto-fingaz said, "Children should not be nickel and dimed just to eat lunch. It’s just a fork for goodness sakes."
But some in the subreddit believed the mom was overreacting. BoredomHeights pointed out, "The amount of time wasted here should have been way more valuable than the 10 cents or whatever it would add up to if it happened a few more times. Seems like such a minor thing to get so worked up about."
A Redditor who said they work in a public school, writing under the handle Jcdoe, defended the policy, writing, "We have a ton of stupid little rules like this. They keep things from going off the rails and they teach the kids responsibility. You’d be surprised how hard it is running a village of horny sociopaths. They need boundaries, even dumb little ones regulating forks. Cut the staff at the school some slack. There are greater injustices than a 10-cent fork rental. And frankly, maybe she needs to learn to come to school prepared."
This wasn't the first time one of the OP's children had faced a questionable policy in the lunchroom. She shared on the thread, "When my son was little and ate at school, he got his tray and went to pay. There wasn’t money in his account, so they took his hot meal away and gave him the federal funded sack lunch of a peanut butter and jelly and an Apple. When I called later they said they threw his meal away since he couldn’t pay for it. What sense does that make?! They later apologized. His account was less than a dollar short."
The jury is still out on whether or not tGirlboredatworktoday will be deemed the "assh***" in this situation. In the meantime, she'd probably do well to buy her daughter her own set of reusable utensils.