Idaho Lawmaker Wants Children to Work for Those Free Lunches

Idaho State Assemblyman Ron Mendive thinks his state’s schoolkids have to sweat for their pizza squares and chicken nuggets.

“If we could find a way for the students to work to earn credits for their school lunches, I don’t think we would see any waste that we’re doing in this program because it doesn’t mean much,” he said during a meeting of the Education Committee on Tuesday.

Mendive didn’t say if he envisioned first graders sweeping floors or wiping tables to pay for meals. He also did not specify how he would get around Idaho’s child labor laws, which require children to be at least 14 years old for nonfarm work. The law is said to be enforced by both local school boards and probation officers.

But as someone with a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union Foundation, Mendive is not a man constrained by reason. He has also stated that if you support abortion rights, that means you also support prostitution – as both are “a woman’s choice”. He claimed it was “a double standard” to say otherwise.

“Prostitution is a choice, more than an abortion,” he added. “Nobody is forced to do this.”

Regarding COVID, Mendive has viewed hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as superior to vaccination. He invokes the Almighty when he opposes vaccination mandates.

“Your personal relationship with the God of creation is not something that anyone else should be able to inquire about,” he said.

As a member of the Board of Education, Mendive was involved in a successful attempt to remove climate change from the curriculum of Idaho schools. He also joined like-minded lawmakers to oppose a $6 million federal grant for early childhood education intended for working parents with children under the age of 5. Mendive and his fellow maniacs claimed that the real purpose of the grant was to indoctrinate preschoolers with critical race theory.

Mendive has now outdone himself by suggesting that children work to eat at school. He did not respond to messages at his office in the Capitol and at his home in Coeur d’Alene for an explanation. He seems to think that teens with a little pre-lunch drudgery on top of their studies will say to themselves, “I had to work for that sloppy Joe!”

In the summer of 2017, a 6-year-old voter named Amiah Van Hill in the Coeur d’Alene school district decided she would work to pay for it other children’s meals. Amiah’s mother, Rachel Van Hill, had read her a note about a Seattle man who had been raising money to pay school lunches for children in his area.

“She was like, ‘This is amazing, I wish I could do this for kids and their lunches at my school… What can I do to raise money?'” the mom recalled.

Amiah Van Hill at her Lemonade for Lunch booth.

Courtesy of the Van Hill family

Amiah answered her own question by setting up a lemonade stand outside her home with a sign that read “LEMONADE 4 LUNCH.” She used a decency that happily coexists with the likes of Mendive.

She stayed tuned and by the fall had raised $23,000. She entered first grade after proving true American greatness.

“She was driven by making sure every child got breakfast and lunch,” her mother said. “She really wants to help.”

Amiah Van Hill at her Lemonade for Lunch booth.

Courtesy of the Van Hill family

When the pandemic hit, the federal government began paying for all school breakfasts and lunches. That ended last year, but meals are still free for children from a single household with incomes of $17,667 or less in The Coeur d’Alene School District. Single householders with incomes of $25,142 or less are eligible for a reduced rate. Otherwise, elementary school children pay $1.90 for breakfast and $3.15 for lunch. Middle and high school children pay $3.50 for lunch and $2.10 for breakfast. Payment is made through the parents. The school is careful not to signal in the cafeteria which students pay and which do not.

“No stigma,” Ed Ducar, the director of nutritional services, told The Daily Beast. “We don’t want to put any stamps or stickers on it. Just let them go through the line and they’re kids. And that’s good.”

Amiah Van Hill with proceeds from her Lemonade for Lunch booth.

Courtesy of the Van Hill family

The state representative from Coeur d’Alene, Mendive, wants the children in his district – and everywhere else in Idaho – to work to eat in school.

But a voter who is now 12 has a different path.

“She wants to do bigger and better things with LEMONADE 4 LUNCH,” Amiah’s mom said Wednesday. “She wants to inspire other children.”

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