A Texas high school where nearly half of the students are ‘economically disadvantaged’ has opened its own grocery store — which allows students to purchase things like peanut butter, milk, and toilet paper with the power of good deeds.
Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas opened the grocery store last month, allowing students to buy food and toiletries with points which they can earn by doing good deeds, performing well in school, and helping out around the school district.
While the principal of the school says that this is a way to celebrate ‘going above and beyond in the classroom or doing something kind,’ Twitter users are calling it ‘harmful’ and ‘dystopian,’ insisting that children shouldn’t have to anything to have their basic needs fulfilled.
Shop: Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas opened a grocery store in November in partnership with First Refuge Ministries, Texas Health Resources, and Albertsons
In need: According to the principal, 43% of students are economically disadvantaged, and 3.6% are homeless
Earn more: Every student starts with a set number of purchasing points based on family size. They can earn more points by getting good grades and doing good deeds
According to Linda Tutt Principal Anthony Love, 43% of the 2,750 students enrolled are ‘ economically disadvantaged, and 3.6% are considered homeless.
‘We thought it was important to support them and their families and make sure they had food on the table,’ he told CNN.
Sot hey partnered with First Refuge Ministries, Texas Health Resources, and Albertsons grocery store to create their own student-run grocery store, where purchases are made with points.
Every student gets a set number of points depending on the size of their family. Then, they can earn even more points by doing things like getting good grades, mentoring younger kids, or doing good deeds.
‘One thing we really push for is students earning points by going above and beyond in the classroom or doing something kind,’ Love said. ‘These are the things we celebrate, and we’ll call home and tell mom and dad their student got a positive office referral and they get a reward for that.’
Dystopian: The story has quickly begun earning attention online, but social media users insist it’s not the feel-good story that the town and some news outlets are making it out to be
‘It’s a way for students to earn the ability to shop for their families,’ he added to CBS DFW. ‘Through hard work you can earn points for positive office referrals. You can earn points for doing chores around the building or helping to clean.’
The story has quickly begun earning attention online, but social media users insist it’s not the feel-good story that the town and some news outlets are making it out to be.
‘This is actually monstrous and a sign of a culture so poisoned by harmful bootstraps narratives that even children living in poverty due to a catastrophe have to jump through performative hoops to convince people they’re worthy of being provided with basic necessities,’ wrote one.
‘So students born into poverty have to do nice things in order to have the necessities to live. This is ridiculous. How about a “free” store where kids get what they need. How about some confidentiality and respect,’ tweeted another.
One Twitter users suggested a ‘better headline’ for a CNN piece about the story: ‘Texas High School uses behavioral coercion to provide necessities to students in a failed capitalist state.’
‘Texas High School teaches students that poor kids don’t deserve to eat unless they’re compliant,’ suggested another.
Not impressed: They’ve called it ‘behavioral coercion,’ monstrous,’ ‘child abuse,’ ‘horrible,’ ‘awful, ‘depressing,’ demeaning,’ and ‘grim’
‘I’ve been a teacher in alternative education for 7 years,’ wrote one more. ‘The kids that need food and toilet paper are also disproportionately affected by trauma that makes it harder for them to self-regulate. This is not helping the most needy.
‘I cannot imagine not just giving the students the food and supplies they need. This is child abuse,’ wrote yet another.
‘I worked for a large non-profit in one of the most impoverished rural areas in the country for 5 years where I helped grow programs similar to this. This is…not how to handle this. GIVE the food. Children in CRISIS shouldn’t have to have their meals based on their attitude,’ another commenter tweeted.
One said bluntly: ‘So if hungry kids in Texas are not “good” kids, they don’t get basic food items. Amazing.’
‘Welcome to today’s dystopian marker disguised as a heartwarming news story,’ said another, while others called it awful, horrible, gross, offensive, horrific, depressing, demeaning, and grim.
‘This isn’t the heroic take you’re reporting it to be. Students who need basic life supplies shouldn’t have to perform tricks to get them,’ yet another Twitter user said.
All for it! While the reaction on social media appears to be overwhelmingly negative, there are a few commenters who are praising the school
While the reaction on social media appears to be overwhelmingly negative, there are a few commenters who are praising the school, calling the system ‘super,’ ‘compassionate,’ and a great example of the barter system in action.
‘This is the proper way to help, within the community. Not through government theft and hand outs,’ one tweeted.
‘Is it jumping through hoops or is it providing just a bit of dignity to folks?’ asked yet another. ;They have an opportunity to shop and make they’re own choices vs being given a handout. They leave feeling that they have earned what they have just purchased, which just might help them feel better.’
Some have pointed out a bit of nuance in the story that commenters may have missed: Linda Tutt High School isn’t denying food and necessities to any of the students; rather, the system seems to offer a non-monetary way for the kids to earn extra purchasing power.
‘Read the article and not just the headline. This is great,’ wrote one commenter.
‘The families are given an amount to spend based on their family size. After that,kids can EARN more through hard work and good deeds. Our youth must be taught the value of hard work and being good humans.’
Go-getter: Two-time cancer survivor Stephany Hume recently underwent emergency surgery, during which she couldn’t teach her class at Sewell Elementary in Sachse
Nonstop: Within hours of waking up, she was back to teaching her students virtually from her hospital bed
Back in November, a story out of Texas sparked similar reactions, with social media users insisting it wasn’t the feel-good story it was portrayed as.
Two-time cancer survivor Stephany Hume, 50, had undergone emergency surgery, during which she couldn’t teach her class at Sewell Elementary in Sachse.
But within hours of waking up, she was back to teaching her students virtually from her hospital bed — a story that has been presented as ‘inspiring’ by local news but has been slammed as ‘horrific’ and ‘dystopian’ by social media users.
NBCDFW-5 shared the story in a recent broadcast and online, with the anchor praising the teacher’s ‘persistence’, describing her as ‘inspiring.’
Hume had her mother, a retired teacher, substitute during her actual surgical procedure, but just hours later, she was on Zoom reading to her kids again.
‘I was asking the doctor, “Can I go now? Can I go now?” And he’s like, “You have a temperature of 102. You have to stay,”’ Hume said.
While her students were happy to see her, social media users have had a very different reaction to the story since it was shared on Twitter.
Not OK: While her students were happy to see her, social media users had a very different reaction to the story since it was shared on Twitter, calling it a ‘dystopian horror’
They’ve called it a ‘dystopian horror,’ ‘exploitative,’ and an ‘indictment of the government.’
‘No teacher in the history of teachers at ANY LEVEL has ever been paid enough to justify going to these lengths. Doesn’t warm my heart at all,’ wrote one commenter.
‘This is not heartwarming this is dystopian,’ tweeted another.
‘This is not something to celebrate. This teacher deserves rest,’ wrote a third.
‘This isn’t heartwarming, and unless your story provides context about the crippling horrors of the current healthcare system in America, you’re being irresponsible,’ one more said.
Another corrected: ‘This should read: students in such jeopardy of missing out on skills/knowledge that teacher feels compelled to teach them from a hospital bed.’
And another tweeted: ‘There is absolutely nothing to celebrate about this. In fact, this story is a glaring example of how broken this country is.’
Yikes! Hume is no doubt a dedicated teacher, but said that the government should better protect teachers so they don’t feel a need to do this
‘There is absolutely nothing to celebrate about this. In fact, this story is a glaring example of how broken this country is,’ wrote commenters
‘This isn’t good for kids,’ chided one more. ‘It teaches them to not respect their health. It presents uncomfortable imagery. The reward is in resting and healing, not self-depletion. Maybe send the kids a motivating audio message?’
‘This is not a feel good story; it’s an indictment of our broken system,’ said yet another critic.
‘Every parent, police officer, and politician that has relentlessly pushed the full responsibility of raising, protecting, and educating children is complicit in this dystopian horror. Approval of this kind of self-sacrifice is selfish and cruel. Support your goddamn educators,’ lectured another.
One more horrified reader wrote that ‘it’s so uniquely American to pass horrific stories like this off as heartwarming moments and not evidence that the USA is a failed state in decline.’
‘This is barbaric, heartbreaking, and unacceptable,’ argued one more. ‘Let’s be very clear and never forget: somehow, Wall Street was given $3 trillion to keep rich people’s stock portfolios healthy in the pandemic while everyone else was told to go f*ck themselves.’