Georgia Schools to Use Poor Kids as Janitors in Exchange for Food

ATLANTA – Beginning in 2014, Georgia public school students from poor families will be required to perform janitorial duties in order to receive lunch, according to new legislation. The law—a brainchild of Georgia congressman Jack Kingston (R)—intends to save the state money, as well as “teach poor kids how to be less lazy.”

Kingston, a likely candidate for the United States Senate next year, came up with the idea of making poor children, whose families cannot afford to pay for school lunches, work for their food after noticing that “the rich kids come to school with all this money, meaning they must have after-school jobs.” “The natural conclusion was that these other kids are just slackers—moochers if you will,” Kingston told the Jackson County Republican Party this week. “Yeah, they’re only seven or eight years old, but they need to understand that there are consequences for their laziness.”

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Kingston has suggested that, to combat this trend, poor kids should be required to sweep the floors in their schools before receiving food. “[Think] what we would gain as a society in getting people—getting the myth out of their head that there is such a thing as a free lunch.”

Georgia’s Republican-controlled legislature seized on Kingston’s “inspired” idea, and this week passed legislation that will assign janitorial duties—such as sweeping, cleaning toilets, and waxing gymnasium floors—to any child unable to pay for their lunch. “Everyone wins here,” Georgia State Senator Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) explained. “We’ll save a ton of money by laying off the more expensive, adult custodians we have now, and kids will see firsthand how their deadbeat parents have left them out to dry.”

Critics of the law argue that it will create a conspicuous class system in Georgian schools. “One group will be forced to perform menial labor if they want to eat,” said Larry Cuban, a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, “while another, simply by virtue of being from a wealthier family, will be spared such humiliation. We’re teaching kids that some are better than others. With this system, bullying, exclusion and poor self-esteem are all but inevitable.”

Kingston doesn’t disagree with Cuban’s prediction, but argues that such outcomes are “not necessarily negative.” “Look,” he explained. “These kids might as well learn early that some of them will work crap jobs just to be able to eat. We’re preparing them for life in 21st century America, and we get clean schools in the process.”

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