Your money’s no good at Lake Highlands High School. Beginning this fall, the only way to pay for purchases in the school cafeteria or student center is by electronically scanning a student ID card. The measure is designed to speed up the serving line at lunchtime, and it’s also likely to reduce complaints of lost or stolen money by students. Parents can put money into their student’s account via this website, or students can bring cash or checks before 10 am each morning to add to their account balance.
Students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Breakfast/Lunch Program are expected to appreciate “blending in” with kids buying their lunches, but students who occasionally pay cash for impulse purchases are bummed at the hassle. If you discover you’ve forgotten your lunch sack or your sandwich got smashed or your buddy’s French fries look especially tasty, pulling a fiver out of your wallet will leave you hungry.
School administrators are hoping the new measure will increase student compliance with wearing IDs at all times while in the building. If they need it to eat, they’ll get used to wearing it, school staff members say, and there’ll be no need for disciplinary measures for kids without IDs. In the age of homeland security and Muffin Men, every warm body in the building is required to sport an ID badge.
The cashless trend follows similar measures at universities all over the country. Most colleges now charge your student account for purchases like textbooks, school supplies and spirit wear in the college bookstore, as well as meals at campus-area fast-food joints like Chipotle and Subway. Even the photocopiers, vending machines and washers & dryers accept student IDs instead of quarters.
How soon till our kids don’t know how to make change?