Free meals for all students isn’t welfare, and the benefits would far outweigh costs

·3 min read

Free school meals

The May 16 op-ed “Why isn’t school meal program serving only those in need” really missed the boat.

It argues that free school meals for all would be a welfare program. It’s no more a welfare program than free books.

As a Child Nutrition Director for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 15 years, I know that free breakfast has been scientifically proven to increase standardized test scores, concentration, comprehension, memory, learning, cognitive function, attention, participation, student nutrition, and sense of community. It has also led to decreased tardiness, behavioral issues, absenteeism, and stigma.

None of this was mentioned by the authors — I suspect on purpose.

Free lunch programs can do the same for all children. Most importantly, it removes the stigma associated with making a differentiation between two student populations — paid and free/reduced. I saw this firsthand.

Meals in school should be free for all students, breakfast and lunch. The benefits would far outweigh the cost.

Mark A. Rusin, Wendell

Voter fraud

When asked to justify voter suppression efforts despite the lack of evidence for widespread fraud, Republicans claim it’s not about fraud, but about election integrity.

So if it’s about integrity, why are they passing laws that allow Republican legislatures to overturn elections and allow Republican election boards to refuse to certify legitimate elections? Can you think of anything more undemocratic and with less integrity than a dictatorial political party overturning the will of the people?

A seminal report showed the incidence of voter fraud is between 0.0003% and 0.0025%.

Voter fraud would have to be a thousand times more frequent before it could even begin to have a significant impact on the results, whereas the effects of voter suppression would be felt immediately.

We do have an integrity problem in our government, but it’s not with the actual election process.

Leo Sadovy, Wake Forest

Cheney’s future

Liz Cheney would probably be a better president than our last three.

Jim Holloway, Raleigh

COVID vaccines

The writer of “Colleges, vaccines” (May 16 Forum) suggests that mandating COVID vaccines for college students is authoritarian and says “this is a personal health matter that should be left to the individual.”

Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, emphysema, psoriasis — these are “personal health matters.” Contagious, transmissible illnesses, especially airborne respiratory diseases, are public health issues.

The more people who are vaccinated, the better off we’re all going to be, especially the vulnerable who can’t get the vaccine, or whose immune systems don’t respond to it.

One person’s authoritarian overreach is another person’s sensible public health initiative. Vaccine mandates? Bring ‘em on!

Steve Doares, Holly Springs

COVID patents

Regarding “U.S. backs waiving intellectual property rules on vaccines,” (May 6):

The technology to develop the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines came about because of financial support from NIH. Those are our tax dollars. Moderna recognizes this and isn’t resisting sharing its technology. This is an unprecedented world health crisis. and this makes sense.

For those who remember polio, neither Jonas Salk nor Albert Sabin benefited financially from their vaccines. Salk refused to patent his. Sabin donated his strains to the World Health Organization. Sharing this technology with mankind was considered sensible and protective of U.S. interests. So deciding to share COVID vaccine technology has financial and ethical precedent.

Janice Woychik, Chapel Hill

Street racing

Regarding “Street racing surges across U.S. amid coronavirus pandemic,” (May 14) and related articles:

The hooligans with extremely loud cars were terrorizing residents and motorists on Roxboro Road by West Point on the Eno Friday night. This went on from about 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. Hopefully the Durham mayor, city council and police can soon quell this increasingly frequent and dangerous behavior throughout the city.

Wayne Anglin, Durham

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