Tired of deadbeat parents not paying for school lunches, the Chula Vista Elementary School District in California uses a highly effective tactic: no pizza or burgers for the kids - instead, they serve up the dreaded cheese sandwich of shame:
The cheese sandwich, they say, has become a badge of shame for the children, who get teased about it by their classmates. One student cried when her macaroni and cheese was replaced with a sandwich. A little girl hid in a restroom to avoid getting one. Many of the sandwiches end up untouched or tossed whole in the garbage. Sometimes kids pound them to pieces. [...]
Districts stress that the alternate meals are a last resort.
They send letters to parents. They hire collection agencies. Some place stickers on children's hands or put rubber bands on their wrists as reminders, said Peterson.
But alternate meals get the best results.
An effective alternate meal has to do two things: meet federal nutritional standards and flunk child taste tests. The cheese sandwich, typically served on untoasted whole wheat bread, apparently qualifies as one perfectly healthy stinker of a meal.