Feeding students: An investment now or an expense later
Guest column by Rep. Kadyn Wittman
Letting school kids go hungry is not unlike cutting off your nose to spite your face. Whether we like it or not, society will pay for kids who consistently go hungry one way or another. We can invest now as an upstream solution to building a brighter, healthier future, or we can pay later in downstream interventions.
Multiple long-term studies show that children who are well-fed learn better, can regulate emotions and mental health better, and are more likely to grow into well-adjusted, contributing adults. If that’s not enough to convince you that school lunches should be free, how about the argument that no child should go hungry because of circumstances ultimately out of their control? Still not enough? How about that fact that every child, at every stage of their life, goes through unique experiences that require the body to be nourished and well taken care of.
Despite extensive research that supports all the above facts, none were able to sway the South Dakota House Education Committee when voting on whether school lunches should be free for children across our state.
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