Letters to the Editor: Aug. 6, 2022

There is much concern after the Dayton Daily News published an article regarding the upcoming end to the universal lunch program established during the pandemic. The program provided meals to all kids regardless of income reported on completed and submitted forms. By the time this letter is received, the universal program has expired. Congress did not extend the program prior to leaving for break. I believe this is an oversight and I am calling upon my state of Ohio to fill in the gap until Congress reconvenes and take action.

The need for continued funding for this program is heightened due to the inflationary impact seen on many parents. The increased cost of gas, food and other needs of the family will be exacerbated by having to provide school lunch for their child or children. Relieving this financial stress from families is a small investment in the educational success of our kids. We know that children learn best when they are supported and have a full stomach. Unfortunately, the school system serves as a safe haven for many to receive a friendly smile, attention, and a healthy nutritious meal. A hungry child cannot win!

As a parent and community leader, I call upon the Dewine Administration and Ohio Legislature to use funds to supplement the cost of providing school meals not covered by the federal government.

- Tonya Casey, Board Member of the Dayton Chapter of the American Heart Association

A recent letter to the editor (July 23, 2022) mentioned the problems related to releasing children from school to attend a weekly Bible study program. During the early 1950′s, as a third grade teacher in another state, I experienced the impracticality of this policy. Once each week, an hour and a half before dismissal time, the principal announced that those children going to Bible study could leave. After the noise and confusion of the exiting students ceased, about a third of my class remained. It was no longer reasonable to pretend to teach. Any new instruction would have had to be repeated the following day for those excused from school. Remedial work for more than perhaps an individual student did not make sense since it was not necessarily the remaining students who needed it. Paid as a public school teacher, I was now serving only as a baby-sitter. The remaining children played quiet, indoor games, read, watched movies, sometimes did a bit of their home-work. Basic education time for all children was shortened. I and the remaining children were held captive for optional activities of others.

I was glad that the district dropped the policy the following year. It seems to me activities that do not involve all enrolled school children should take place after school hours. Bible study could easily be scheduled after school hours without infringing on school time as are other non-curriculum activities. Bible study that stands “for the historic Christian faith” does not meet the beliefs of all families. I agree with the previous writer and feel that religious teaching does not belong during public school time.

- Mary Duerksen, Oxford