interview with author
18 People Compare Some School Lunches, Show That US Education Is Underfunded While Their Police Is Overfunded (Interview With Author)
Some social media users showed how bad the situation in the US is while others illustrated how good school lunches look in other parts of the world (France looks absolutely magnifique).
18 People Compare Some School Lunches, Show That US Education Is Underfunded While Their Police Is Overfunded (Interview With Author)
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Some people believe that the police in the United States get too much financial support while schools and places of learning are underfunded. To highlight just how underfunded some schools are and how funneling some of the money the police receive into education would help, Twitter user Errvin started a viral thread. They shared an associative photo of what school lunches in San Diego look like, even though the city’s police force gets an annual budget of 566 million dollars. However, someone pointed out, Errvin's comparison wasn't entirely correct: the school lunch they posted is from a school in Wyoming, not San Diego.

Erv, who has a degree in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University, told Bored Panda that they used the photo as a metaphor for what San Diego school lunches look like. “Regardless, I still have first-hand experience eating lunch like that growing up, and I believe many San Diegans can relate. I also remember pulling the pic from that exact website, Sweet Water Now. Which is the name of my old high school district. Without thinking, I assumed they were related. Had I known thousands of people were going to see the post, I would have put a more reputable source.” Read on for Erv’s in-depth analysis of law enforcement, education, and the root causes of crime.

Meanwhile, social media users pitched in with their own comparisons: some showed how bad the situation in some other parts of the US is while others illustrated how good school lunches look in some other parts of the world (France, in particular, looks absolutely magnifique). Scroll down, have a look, and share stories about the school lunches you ate, dear Pandas.

Erv told Bored Panda that they usually focus on light-hearted posts but they thought that this was a serious topic that needed to be discussed.

“Having studied criminal behavior, to explain what causes crime is very complex. If we were to put it simply, most crimes are committed because of a sense of need or lack of resources. Social and economical inequalities are factors that contribute to this need. For example, those in poverty are more likely to commit theft to fulfill their lack of resources. In most cases, there is an underlying reason that a crime is committed that can be connected back to this thought process,” Erv summarized why some people commit crimes.

“Now, we have to look at the purpose of the police/law enforcement in regards to crime. Contrary to popular belief, they don't necessarily function as a preventative measure for crime. The perception of punishment sometimes acts as a deterrent to crime but most criminals are already fully aware of the consequences before they commit a crime. In most cases, police are used in response to a crime that has already been committed. So in practice, a larger police presence does not decrease crime,” they said.

Erv’s ideal understanding of how ‘defunding the police’ would work would be to reallocate the funds that law enforcement receives to fund “other entities that would decrease poverty, homelessness, drug abuse, etc. which are the root causes of crime.”

“For example, if someone were having a mental health crisis, instead of sending over a police officer (who is not adequately trained to assess such a situation) we can send over an [appropriate] professional. An armed police officer does not need to respond to this type of call,” they gave examples of what they mean.

“There are also many real-life examples where the individual needing help ends up dying at the hands of the police who responded. We can also put more funding in those specific departments that deal with mental health so that individuals can receive the care they need so fewer incidents like this happen.”

However, education funding is a very tricky topic. “I didn't intend for my post to get so much attention, so the narrative doesn't exactly fit reality. Here in San Diego, most of the public schools are funded by the state of California. Law enforcement is funded by the city. So we can already see the disparity there when it comes to moving funds from police over to education. However, there is still some truth in the argument that we need to better feed our students than to give our police assault rifles and armored vehicles. There is still so much more that the city can do for schools without state funding.”

In Erv’s opinion, police departments are prime candidates of choice for having their budgets cut.

“The city of San Diego has over $1.5 billion in its budget that it can choose to allocate to each department, yet 37% of that goes to the Police Department. The next highest is Fire and Rescue at 19%, which I believe is justified since Southern California is a major hotspot for wildfires. The next is Parks and Rec at 8%. There are over 40 other departments that make up the remaining 36%, equal to that of the police.”

Erv told Bored Panda that in their personal experience, the photo of the school lunch that they posted is “fairly accurate.” They shared what school was like for them and compared it to their father’s days in the ‘70s.

“I went to one of the lowest income high schools in California. Total minority enrollment was 99% and 79% were economically disadvantaged. Maybe I thought that was the reason why our school lunches were so bad. But through the Twitter post I made, I was able to learn that other high schools faced the same issues, even if the socio-economic status of the student body was better than mine. My dad, who was a high schooler in Hawaii during the ‘70s told me that his school lunches were always hot and fresh, which was miles better than our preserved and reheated lunches we are feeding our kids now. What happened between then and now?”

Just keep in mind that the issue is more complicated than simply throwing more money at education and hoping that everything works out fine. Changes in school lunches would require psychological changes in American food culture and how the US thinks about nutrition. And that involves a lot of hard work, personal growth, and won’t happen overnight. Not even with an endless supply of money.

It’s no secret that what we eat affects how we feel and how well we perform academically. However, where a kid lives and studies can mean drastically different school lunches. Imagine having to survive from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade just on cheap junk food and sugary treats.

"When kids eat healthier foods, this can have a really important impact on their cognitive functioning, which can then translate potentially to better academic performance," Juliana Cohen, an assistant professor of health sciences at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, told CNN. "So really, the healthier school meals are a win for both children and for schools.”

However, even though the situation in the US might not be as good as in some other Western countries, it doesn’t mean that all American students have it bad. Cohen told CNN that the US has some of the best nutrition standards in the world for school meals.

Unfortunately, there are other problems. "We don't have national standards for the lunch period length, and as a result of that, we see a lot of variability within schools. Some kids have as little as 15 minutes for a lunch period. Some kids have a lot more than that," Cohen said, pointing out that the less time children have to eat, the less healthy food they will eat.

Comments (130)
Electric Ed
I call fake. In both directions. Proof: all the aggregated comments here about food not always being that bad in the USA, not always being that good elsewhere. And the photos clearly being non-authentic - notice the identical trays in many of them.
Clara Bàrcia
I'm sorry but that "spanish" meal is quite inaccurate. Little girls and boys don't get "paella" and "gazpacho" at school. At most, some white plain rice, maybe with some tomato sauce, also chicken, and then water and a fruit (apple, pear, bannana, peach, depending on the season). We also give our kids salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, ...), it's also common to eat some fish, omelette, pasta, lentils, etc. We haven't got the best meals, but also not the worst. What I can certaily tell you is that they DON'T get paella or shrimp
Grinny Pig
Trust me school lunches in the UK are trash that photo is like a posh school ?
Carrot dude
All but a few of these pictures were just copied from this article: in which almost all of the commenters disagreed with the proposed meals. Also, the picture from the U.S. in this article is also a reasonably better meal, which is why it obviously wasn't included. I live in NYC, where one of the U.S. meals came from, and the school lunches are diverse, and some healthy, some not-so-much. Picking and choosing a couple of meals from the worse districts isn't providing a picture for all of America.
Karin Jansen
What's up with all these big ass lunches in Europe? As a European (Dutch) I feel so left out! We don't get anything. Bring your own sandwich, that's your lunch. I'm moving to France.
Ian Milne
All of the trays are identical. Does this mean every school in every country are using the same types of tray? Or is this just an illustration of what they might serve? These do not seem to be photos of an actual lunch that was served in each country...
chi-wei shen
In most European countries where school lunch is served the food is decent, but especially in France both bad food and bad table manners are seen as a mortal sin.
Vincent Philippart
Having been to school both in the US and Belgium, I can say that even if some of the photos in this article are clearly fake, the message is fairly accurate: the food in my american school was unhealthy, unsavory and unpretty. I lost a lot of weight because it just didn't spark appetite and ended up living off pb&j for a year. I'm not saying school lunches back home were good, we all complained a lot about it, but it was not the same level of bad.
Stephanie Keith
When are people going to realize that the people running this country do not give a shit about it's people? The people in charge do not give a crap about anything other than themselves. You can tell what I am saying is absolute truth. Just by looking at our healthcare alone compared to other countries. Those running things only care about their financial situation and lining the pockets of those around them. Wake up and look around and the proof is there. What is even worse than what I am saying. Is the fact that there is not a damn thing any of us common folks can do about it. That is the saddest part.
Maria Chevtaeva
That`s just sad. I used to hate lunches at school (in Russia), but compared to this crap, it turns out they were pretty good. Maybe not as fancy as the French or Korean ones, but at least healthy and nutritious.
I went to school in New Zealand. We didn't get school lunch. We had to bring our own.
The kids I went to school with, all they wanted were McDonald's & pizza. They didn't want fruits nor salads. Hard to feed them. My school tried to provide fruits and veggies and they were all thrown away.
Cat Nip Gal
At school (American), a normal school lunch would be a fruit, a side(salad, baked beans, ect.), milk or water, and a main dish like pizza of Popcorn chicken, different meals for different days. It is actually very good.
This is comparing apples to oranges. I wholeheartely agree that many countries spend money to restrictively on education and on the wellfare of the young. However, simply arguing to defund the police is no good idea. No one wants to life in a police state, but I am pretty sure we do not want to live in a satte without police. (Unless you are a "this home does not call 911" redneck maybe.)
Dippin Dot
*NOT ALL US PUBLIC SCHOOL FOOD IS BAD* Where I grew up we had really good school lunch! Hot chocolate chip cookies baked daily (you could even get them fresh out of the oven before school), daily salad bar or custom sub sandwiches, homemade pizza, frozen yogurt... we had the option to go off-campus for lunch, but there were some days where nobody wanted to because it was a really good meal being served.
Jeff Requier
dont be fucking stupid! Defunding the police isnt going to do anything but have less officers and shitty paid officers. You Americans already have shitty paid officers. Thats how you get dirty cops. They can always do car washes to raise money. The education system has nothing to do with the local police depts. Every country on this list has police with the same or better weapons than American police. SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL WITH LUNCHES DERRR
Violaine LB
The French one looks accurate enough to me but at least in my school it definitely wasn't free... It was subsidised, but you still had to pay something (every three months).
Lets face it though, you put most of that in front of kids in America and they wouldn't eat it anyway, although their food is still trash by comparison, you can't even tell what some of it is!
The American meals have very little appeal and not much nutritional value apart from the tiny carrots. In Australia there are no free lunches provided at all. Boarders get lunches but no day school that I know of provides free food. Parents must pack food for their kids daily (Fruit, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) or give them each about $7 to buy a drink, something for lunch and a snack.
Shelby Rinck
First, I think this is fake, my lunches all through school weren't too bad, and you got to pick what you wanted, of course that was 50 years ago, wasn't it Michelle Obama that was responsible for school lunches for 8 years?
Tabitha L
I used to work with students at schools across the US. I would eat lunch at the schools. I have never seen a school lunch like what was depicted. I've been to schools with gorgeous cafeterias that make you think you are in a restaurant. I've also been to cafeterias that just have regular food - sandwiches, pizza, salad. I'm not sure it is fair to show half eaten food. I can't tell you of my own high school because I took class during my lunch period so never went to cafeteria.
Scott Brynildsen
School lunches when I was a kid in Washington State were baked potatoes and spaghetti with cheap sauce. The problem with this clickbait story is that we still need the police otherwise it's called ANARCHY. It is true they do not need tanks or military weapons, but that's not mentioned.
I don't know what to think. How is it police related? Why compare with a refugee camp?To increase refugee hate? The facts are not even true, in France school meals are not free, there is a social pricing. There are very few small cities that give free schools meal(paid by city taxes), not a lot, maybe less than 50 in thewhole country. I don't get the point of this thread. It's like comparing the nuclear budget of a country and the numbers of benches per cities.
That is not even remotely edible, but I don't see the connection with the police. Police do their job. They have to do their job - and with this I mean they have to be considered accountable when they don't, including excessive use of force which is NOT doing what should be the police job. The connection is a straw man argument. Police have to do their job fairly, and be founded for that, and food in schools should be edible.
Leo H
Sorry but the police keep me safe. Defunding the police is code for union busting
The lion tamer
In Greece there is no thing as school cafeteria or lunch for anyone in public schools, so...
deanna woods
I don't know where these horrible lunches are being served, but it was never like that in my (American) school. The food was pretty decent and tasted pretty good. Those bad lunches just look like something someone threw together for this article.
Jeff Requier
Brazil has cops who shoot people in the street and kill off their prison population when it gets too full. I know this because of my uncle living there 3 years helping to build housing for handicapped children who would be put on the street
Jeff Requier
Cities already spend money on social programs to help drug addicts. Whos helping the gang bangers and car thieves?
Bella Martin
Well in Australia you have to bring your own food to school. There are strict guidelines on the nutrition of the food. I believe if a child comes from a "difficult home" they may be provided with assistance. Otherwise its Vegemite sandwich :)
Fake fake. I've had school lunch in Sweden for many years and dry fish and dry potatoes was all we got. If you wanted regular lunch you had to pay for it just like the teachers did.
Everyone calm down
All this hysteria about defunding the police. Good luck with that when you call the cops and there are not enough left. A mass hysterical knee-jerk to George Lloyd's death. 9/11 does not reflect every single Muslim, the death of George Floyd does not represent every single cop in the USA or around the word.
Caryn Zent
Now that's just stupid. Trading law enforcement for food.
Halee Brady
I live in the USA, and while the school lunch isn't phenomenal they have quite a lot of options, and most are quite good.
Hungary's school lunch will be leavin' you hungry. (get it? lol)
If anyone ever wondered why America has the largest rates of obesity... this is it. You teach kids to eat processed shit and when they grow up to be adults, they continue to eat processed shit. I only eat one meal a day, dinner. I have done this since I was 5 years old because my parents never had time to make breakfast and I refused to eat school lunches. You want kids to turn into healthy adults, feed them real god damn food. Saves so much money in the long run as we wouldn't have our health care system flooded with heart disease. Nothing even comes close to the cost and rate of heart disease in America. Give kids a god damn apple. Biggest reason for this is that corporations lobbied to be the ones to provide school lunches because it is a huge industry. We sold kids out for profit. Shameful.
And the Federal govt buys millions of pounds of fresh produce every year to stabilize crop prices. They froze 18 million pounds of blueberries a couple years ago for example. Why isn't this food making it to schools like intended?
Giving the kids a good nutritional start in life surely brings down medical costs later in life? Would love to see some statistics on that...
Leo H
Can we defund Congress and use that money to feed children. Nancy Pelosi is rich but get great free healthcare for life just for being in congress
Leo Domitrix
Wow. So instead of investing in the health and well-being of OUR CHILDREN... ALL of them... y'know, our future? ... You never went hungry as a kid. I did. Feed the children. BTW, you CAN HAVE NONBRUTAL COPS AND FEED KIDS... So... let's work on broader thinking, maybe?...
Virgil Blue
"What shall we feed the kids?" How about leftovers nor even fit for dogs?" "Great idea! What? Sarcasm? What's that?"
In china my parents had meatballs, rice, dumplings, and fried vegetables for lunch as kids. I dunno about the lunches in other places but china for sure has great school food.
Dian Parama Kosala
3rd world country : "You guys got lunch eh??"
Fly Girl
I am not going to challenge the authenticity of photos, but to be fair, very few people in the US would agree to tax rates as high as France. People making a MODEST income in France easily pay up to 40% in taxes. Also, even if we were to give healthy looking school lunches such as those seen in South Korea, Finland, etc. to American kids, they will most likely turn their nose up. I really think America parents need to take some responsibility on their kids' diet/nutrition. Get them in the habit of eating more fruits and vegetables before school age will be a start. There were schools who tried, and half the time kids dump whole, uneaten apples in the bin.
Kim Lorton
Greed is everywhere. Right now, we can blame good ole Betsy DV, who can't even be bothered to fix anyrhing!
(To be read like a foghorn) BOOOOOLLOCKS!
Leroy Fong
We don't even have school lunches in Australia! You just go to the school tuckshop(a shop, typically one on school premises, that sells confectionery, snacks, and soft drinks.) and jusst order your own food. How sad. :(
pusheen buttercup
my own school lunches were not unlike these pictures (from USA)
Mark Fuller
Yep. Inclined to agree. This post hasn't landed well. Not saying there isn't a point to be made but it's quite uncanny that the same supplier of plastic dinner trays has an international presence.
Police only get paid only 60,000 dollars a year which is the common yearly amount and school teachers get paid more for sitting inside while police work hard and keep the city safe...
I grew up in the US and went to school. It’s true we received food like this. And in high school we weren’t allowed to leave and go get food from anywhere else like a fast food restaurant or even home. I didn’t want to bring food in a lunchbox and have it be cold all day. So I just ate what was there.
Jessica Cole
"Damn we sending kids to school on Fyre Island?" Ha!
BiLal Asif
The greatest country in the world
Marley Lennon
For lunch at school (in America) I normally get one or two mozzarella sticks and a frozen cup of ‘marinara sauce’ and three pieces of broccoli
When I was in public school, they traumatized me from eating cheese pizza because the cheese tasted like macaroni. Also, the bean burgers made everyone really gassy.
Tommy Collins
Very interesting to see the variety of foods that the kids get from various countries, thank you for the post.
Diana Warburton
Now Show The Photo of the cafeterias AFTER the kids are done. Because in NY it looks like the Animal House Food Fight ! Food all over the floor and walls.
When will the Americans realize their whole system and the bullshit "U-S-A--We're #!" is just that--bullshit!? You've been brainwashed. Capitalism is dead. You live in a neo-Feudal system, where the CEOs are the oligarchs.
Have you watched kids eat lunch at US schools? 75%+ of the food gets thrown away because they have so little time to eat before they get to go outside. There is no incentive to eat good food when your reward for finishing is escape to the outdoors.
Eric Mac Fadden
The Brazilian school meal (on public schools, of course) - when they exists - are usually pasta and sausage, sometimes rice and beans with some kind of meat, an apple or a banana.... all well-wet with some generic Kool Aid.
I studied in korea as an exchange student twice, and I love their cafeterias!!!!!!!!! Amazing food. Even when its bad, its good. Even though I have to admit that i went to their uni and food is not free, but still relatively affordable + healthy
Fake. But people believe whatever they see...
Bwaahhh, I would not eat this. What even is this??
mph seti
Yeah, but they don't have FREEDUM.
Cherry picking and fake meals (just look at the same tray on the same table).
Those who called for defunding police... Who would they call id there's an emergency? Break-in at night or having being rubbed at gun point?
Mama Panda
You can thank Michelle Obama for our wonderful (cough bullshit cough) school lunches in the US. Seriously tho', comparing what the average good police officer endures while on the job (crime scenes, identifying bodies that are mangled from drunk drivers, having to notify the parents that their kid is dead, dealing with angry people who blame them for everything even tho they are trying to help, and being cussed at to name a few) to school lunches? Sure down vote me but I just don't see the relevance here. There are other areas that need a restructure of funding that will benefit the children and keep them safe.
Foxxy (The Original)
Wow, I bet criminals get fed better than kids at school in the US. That food looks absolutely disgusting. In saying that our hospital food is almost just as bad as the US school food. So gross.
Leo H
Im guessing foreign parents pay for their kids meal. In america everyone gets free breakfast etc reguardless of their parents wealth. Maybe if we stopped this practice we could afford better meals for the children
Viktor Feurer
This comment has been deleted.
Tyler Duffy
The dumbest argument ever. The US spends way more on education than most other countries meanwhile they consistently underperform. It's not about money. Its culture. Especially when you look at the worst performing school districts in the US. DC is one of the top spending districts per student and DC schools are the worst in the nation. Culture Culture Culture, it all leads back Fatherless Black households. 75%-80% of these kids live in a Fatherless household, the absence of a father in the household leads SIGNIFICANT increases in poverty, DECREASE in education, INCREASE in incarceration rates, INCREASE rates of Violent crime. This is exactly why this problem will never be solved, liberals are incapable of acknowledging what is causing the failures of the black community's are. It's the result of decades of democratic policies. They encouraged the decline of the Black households by literally telling Black women that the state would pay them money raise their children but only if there wasn't a father in the home. They caused this. Then Democrats AND Republicans started shipping the jobs of Black men overseas. And now Democrats call for more illegals to welcomed in futher taking the remaining jobs of the uneducated Black men they created. Now black men are doing so bad Black women see the father of their children as a dependent. Well done Democrats.
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