PA School District Threatens Parents With Seizure of Kids Over School Lunch 'Bills'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | July 22, 2019
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(This story has been updated HERE 07/25/19)

Terra Incognita.

Every year, every month, every week, every day presents a new step into strangeness as those with common sense and respect for their neighbor’s rights see government engage in even more bizarre, unthinkable behavior.

Case in point, the Associated Press reports that the Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania recently blessed about 1,000 parents with nice, tax-funded letters telling them that if they didn’t fork over cash for unpaid school food programs, they could lose their children to the tax-funded Luzerne County child welfare gang.

How sweet.

Here’s a taste:

You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child's right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care.

Which presents a few immediate, practical questions about how justified this could be, given the limited information the school officials have, and opens up a giant-sized door to see how this reflects on dependency, and the manner in which the state completely disregards individual rights.

First of all. The AP tells us that the district claims the parents all “owe” cash for their kids’ school-provided food.

The district says that it is trying to collect more than $20,000, and that other methods to get parents to pay have not been successful. Four parents owe at least $450 apiece.

But, do they?

As residents, they pay taxes, in many forms, the bulk of which go to…

The school system.

So, given that people pay a lot more than $450 in taxes to their city, county, and state via income, property, sales, and other taxes, it’s likely that, even at the extreme end, these parents have already paid a lot of moolah into this dysfunctional spider-web system. It just depends on one’s imagination to decide what the taxes are buying. Perhaps some people believe they’re buying books, or janitorial services, heat, teacher time, giant administrative time, retirement packages, security fees… the list goes on.

Moreover, a little journalistic investigation reveals that a 2015 audit report from the state sounded the alarm that this district wasn’t even in compliance with state statute.


Its “authorities” didn’t collect $31,261 in “non-resident pupil tuition” for kids who didn’t live in the district but attended its schools.

And this team of ne’er-do-well school authorities, paid with tax cash from resident-parents and from people who don’t even have kids in the system, had the gall to make what seem to be threats to these particular parents.

Luzerne County's manager and child welfare agency director have written the superintendent, insisting the district stop making what they call false claims. Their letter calls the district's actions troubling and a misrepresentation of how the Children and Youth Services Department and its foster care program operate.

And what was the flip response from Wyoming Valley West’s lawyer, Charles Coslett?

‘Hopefully, that gets their attention and it certainly did, didn't it? I mean, if you think about it, you're here this morning because some parents cried foul because he or she doesn't want to pay a debt attributed to feeding their kids. How shameful,’ Coslett told WYOU-TV.


Sure, some people could see the situation and think that these parents are “freeloading” off of others, but, as noted, this is complicated, and most of them likely pay far more than even the extreme high-end of the $450 the governmetn wants, paid through taxes on all kinds of things. One doubts that Mr. Coslett works pro bono for the district, so he also benefits from the tax system that’s hired him to defend it, from the taxpayers, some of them these very folks who received the letters. 

To so flagrantly disregard the horror a parent might feel when receiving the letter he seems to applaud is almost beyond comprehension, and is a dark indicator as to how people associated with the school system view taxpayers.

Even if the parents didn’t pay for the lunches, or provide homemade lunches, how is Mr. Coslett or anyone else fit to somehow assume the kids aren’t being properly fed? Is he monitoring every house every minute via remote camera? Does he know their schedules and preferences? If the families fast for religious reasons, will he suggest a letter be sent to them as well?

This happens to be a school district that saw a protest by students in 2016. A protest over school dress codes and, important, the lack of air conditioning in the 98 to 100 degree June-heat classrooms. Those would be classrooms that are supposed to be designed for the students to learn.

How many would like to bet on whether Mr. Coslett’s offices have A/C? Whether the administration works in A/C? Those would be the offices where Superintendent Irv DeRemer hangs out to get his six-figure salary.

It’s high time citizens realize they are all part of a giant parasitic relationship, and they are not the parasites. A government system like this demonizes a number of families for “non-payment” for food when the government system itself will put those people in jail if they don’t pay their taxes in the multiple streams the politicians create through their command-and-control statutes. Meanwhile, kids whose parents keep them out of government-run schools perform better than the kids in the government schools, and they still have to shell out cash to people like DeRemer.

According to the AP, the school district is sending a new, softer, nicer letter, which also will “not be a threat”, even though everything the state does is predicated on the threat that if you don’t comply, you will be fined, arrested, or physically harmed in the process, to the point of death if you resist.

Does anyone think this lesson has been taught in any of their wonderful, super-hot classrooms?

We’ll have to chew on that…