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Refugee kids denied free lunch by Swedish school

TT/Rebecca Martin · 2 Nov 2012, 08:38

Published: 02 Nov 2012 08:38 GMT+01:00

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“They are already getting subsidized food by the state and then I feel that perhaps this should be looked over so that they don’t get double lunch subsidies,” said head of education in Borgholm, Lars Bylund, to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

The county council nurse, Elisabeth Olsson, in charge of health care for Kalmar refugees and asylum seekers, brought up the issue.

“I can’t understand why they shouldn’t have the same rights as the other children. If any children need free lunches in school, it's these,” said Olsson to DN.

While carrying out health checks in a temporary school set up for the children of asylum seekers housed on a north Öland camping site, she discovered that the children attending the school were not served a free school meal.

The makeshift school, housed in barracks on the site, currently has some 200 students, according to DN. The camping site is the temporary home of several hundred of asylum-seeking families, with the majority hailing from Syria.

At the moment, the children bring their own lunch, which Bylund told DN he thinks is a better solution for these kids than being sent traditional Swedish food from some municipal catering department.

However, according to Swedish school laws, all Swedish schoolchildren should be offered a “nutritional school meal”.

It is still unclear whether this should include children of asylum seekers to Sweden, according to Stina Sterner of the Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen), which has demanded an explanation from the local authorities and is looking into the matter.

Story continues below…

“We have started an investigation and we haven’t really reached an answer to that yet,” she told DN.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:10 November 2, 2012 by procrustes
Denying children food is just plain rude. To all the children it sends a very clear message: "you are different, you are less" irrespective of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. Sweden, want to know why immigrant children become angry adults? This is a prime example.

As for the logic of double-dipping, every single one of the Swedish kid's parents get a state child subsidy. Sweden is so tribal that it can see how it morphs into blatant racist behavior.

If one offers food to one child in the presence of other children, the civilized thing to do is offer food to all of the children.

Sweden, are you STILL a nation of classless peasants?
09:14 November 2, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Well if they get free food from the government already, then it does make sense that free lunch would be a double subsidy. Why not bring matpakke like other kids?
09:29 November 2, 2012 by RobinHood
It is very clear Sweden does not currently have the resources or the infrastucture to properly accomodate the (per capita) huge numbers of refugees it receives.

There just doesn't seem to be enough: free lawyers, free houses, free jobs, free healthcare, free unemploment benefit, free education, and now, free school dinners for all of them.

The problem is so severe, people are vandalising the immigration offices that seem to have been simply overwhelmed by more refugees than they can handle.

The solution is either to significantly raise what are already the world's highest taxes to pay for all this free stuff, or to significantly reduce the flow of refugees to a level where there are enough free resources to properly accomodate them all to the standard they deserve.

As Sweden is to absorb an additional 50 000 next year, I suspect a tax rise might be on the way soon.
09:30 November 2, 2012 by jonathanjames61
Why all this hola bula,Its simple get part of the children subsidy food money from Migration board and pay the catering dept to feed this kids.Simple maths, - m+c equals food for the kids.
10:38 November 2, 2012 by anonymous4
Give those kids the free lunch. Least you will know the food gets in their stomachs and is not sold or traded for something else on the black market.
10:52 November 2, 2012 by Skåne-American
This is outrageous! Are the refugee kids supposed to sit in the corner with a bagged lunch while all the blonde kids get to eat hot food? Länstingen and kommunen don't get to make that decision... unless Mitt Romney becomes statsminister.
11:21 November 2, 2012 by Emerentia
@Skåne-American. "Are the refugee kids supposed to sit in the corner with a bagged lunch while all the blonde kids get to eat hot food?"

No, it's not like that, these newly arrived kids go to school at a temporary school set up just for the children of asylum seekers at a camping site where they live. There are only children of asylum seekers at this temporary school. There are no school kitchens or cafeterias in these barracks presume, only classrooms so it's a little bit complicated to serve hot food there. Especialy if the kids has a lot of diet restrictions, that some don't eat meat or some kind of meats while some do.
11:24 November 2, 2012 by axiom
this is crazy, a few kronors per day for lunch, hardly going to drive the state broke
11:40 November 2, 2012 by Puffin

What on earth are you talking about? Matpakke is not a Swedish word and Swedish kids DO NOT bring packed lunches to school everyone gets a free lunch- even the kids of millionaires get free school lunches??
11:51 November 2, 2012 by Emerentia
@ axiom The average cost of a ordinary school lunch is about 30 kr. But if the kids have different diets it's getting way more expensive. If they where to give them ordinary Swedish school food, like sausage or meatballs with mashed potatoes,they would probably be like "What's this, we don't eat this, this is the wrong kind of meat, we want lamb". So then they are given lamb, even it's more expensive than the pork the Swedish kids get. But then they would go "No, we cant eat this, even if it's lamb, this hasn't been slaughtered in the way we prefer". So then Sweden has to import that special kind of meat, since that kind of slaughter isn't allowed here. But when they get the right kind of meat, slaughtered in the right way, then the cooking or the spices are probably wrong and they won't eat it, or it's like "No, this month we only eat at night". It's much easier to give this lunch money directly to these parents and let them prepare food that their kids want to eat.
11:58 November 2, 2012 by Kevin Harris
Everyone seems to be overlooking Mr Bylund's point that the childrens' parents already receive a subsidy to pay for a lunch which the children are supposed to bring to the school themselves. He says that having received that first subsidy for their lunch, they should not receive yet another free lunch; they should not have their cake and eat it, so to speak. If they receive a lunch at school, then the subsidy should be ended. But if they use the subsidy as it is supposed to be used, then the lunch is superflous. One lunch is more than enough for any child. Two lunches is gluttony. What kind of parent spends money given to him to feed his or her children on something else? If parents are spending their children's food money on other items (making a school lunch necessary), then the social services should investigate and act if necessary.

Mr Bylund is protecting the state from waste, which seems a noble thing to me.

If only there were a few more people like him about in public service. Then perhaps the vast quantities of public money that is currently wasted on extravagant SÄPO James Bond parties and the like, might be better spent, or even saved.
12:02 November 2, 2012 by Migga
The leftish media is at it again and only tells half the story. The site where the asylum seekers live is outside of town, so instead of bussing the kids for hours each day there is a school set up at the site. The site has no schoolkitchen so the kids go home at lunchbreak and eat there. I`d say it`s a good setup considering the situation.

If anything this shows that Sweden can`t take care of all asylum seekers coming here. It is runing out of room and resources. But it doesn`t make Sweden racist or a nation of peasants like some are screaming on about.
13:02 November 2, 2012 by Uncle
RobinHood has got it right to 100%.

THERE IS not enough money in the budget to accomodate these people. Period. Looking at the packages that asylum seekers receive, given their unemployment rate and their female situation, it is clearer and clearer that the free stuff that is floating in the economy starts to strain it.

In addition, the way it is put: "Refugee kids denied free lunch" is extremely leading. One could say: "Darkskinned refugees are denied free cars", "Black female invalid refugees are denied free iPads".

The food is ALREADY PAID for. If one wants to have the food provided in schools, one has to take the subsidy for the parents. However I can already see the Local journalism: "Refugees are denied food funds". With the help of public opinion they squeeze out more money that has been allocated. This is very destructive for the economy in the sense of budget reliability, rather than the actual amounts.
13:12 November 2, 2012 by Skåne-American

Thanks for clarifying.
14:17 November 2, 2012 by Svensksmith
Don't you know, there's no such thing as a free lunch.
14:18 November 2, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
A simple solution to all this: stop bringing in refuguees! Sweden (and no other country in Europe for that matter) does not have the resources to take care of the rest of the world.
15:15 November 2, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
No worries. Nurse Ratchedsson and her ätteklubba will soon get things in order.
15:48 November 2, 2012 by voidplay
@Spuds MacKenzie

If Europe doesn't have the resources who has ?
17:56 November 2, 2012 by Puffin
@ Kevin Harris - but other parents on benefits also receive moneyto cover food - so why not apply the the same logic to kids of people on A-kassa/socialbidrag/ sjukpenning - why single one group out? They don't mention the huge sums of money that kommuns get for housing refugees from central government

@ Emerentia - research shows that the food cost of a school lunch is between 5 and 10kr/day. Most schools even in tiny kommuns manage toabide by the recommendations to produce a choice of meals, plus soup, plus a vegetable buffé plus bread so most children have no trouble finding something to eat.
19:23 November 2, 2012 by johan rebel
The problem is that Sweden is giving hundreds of thousands of people the mother of all free lunches every day for the rest of their lives.

Guess who is paying.

Free school lunches should be abolished. Parents should feed their kids, not the taxpayer.
20:33 November 2, 2012 by Kevin Harris

Your arguement that as one group of people defrauds the state, that makes it OK for another group of people to do the same, is immoral.
20:40 November 2, 2012 by Emerentia
@ Puffin That is if you only count the products (råvara in Swedish) that is needed to make the dish. 30 kr is the average cost if you count everything, the cost of making the food, personel, washing up, transport etc. That means about 5140 per child and year. For 200 kids it will cost 1 028 000 kr. And since there isn't any lunch room they have to rent or build such a room, and then buy furniture, plates, utensils, cutlery, glassware etc. That will probably be quite expensive.

21:21 November 2, 2012 by Rachel Helling
There is no such thing as "FREE" in Sweden...... every benefit that goes to the less fortunate are paid for by the taxpayers. Taxes that every working person in Sweden pay for go to healthcare, infrastructure, benefits etc etc. I, as a taxpayer (31% of my frikkin income), have the right to demand the state to feed this kids! I am paying for the rich kids for their lunches at their school (when their rich parents could bloody well afford for it) so why shouldn´t the less fortunate be denied? Food is the main source of living so why deny these poor kids one of the vital source of life???? Wish the ones who are up there deciding these rules would end up poor, no families, no friends, no country, no money and NO FOOD!!! Maybe then these people would realise how it is to be with NOTHING!
21:39 November 2, 2012 by Emerentia
@ Rachel Helling The state are not paying for school lunches,the municipalities are. You are yelling about "No money, no food", but these families _are_ getting money already to feed their children. It's not that they get "nothing". They get a place to stay, without paying, they get education, without paying, they get health care and medicine without paying, they also get 2100/per adult and 1500 kr/per child in cash each month. If there are 200 children there thats 300 000 kr each month.to feed the children that they get from us.

@ Puffin, parents who get benefits (socialbidrag or försörjningsstöd in Swedish) don't get any money to cover the cost of lunch for kids, who go to school and get lunch there.

07:07 November 3, 2012 by rise
Hey guys, careful. If you're assuming the level of refugees simply too huge for Sweden to handle - and therefore against our wishes - the possibility of commenting the article will be erased just as it's being done for other articles.

For example you may be assuming Sweden, with its lesser population than the cities of London or NY, simply does not have the ways and means of feeding them all. Or you may be assuming Sweden actually is having very big difficulties in finding a roof over every refugee's head; finding enough of apartment buildings is at an end and soon there won't even be enough of the castles and mansions for them...



If assuming any of the above, the thread will be deleted.
10:34 November 3, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

It should be very simple: Either all the children get free lunch, or none. If the refugee kids have already a subsidy from the government. the Swedish children should also have it. Then, the government would stick to the motto of everybody is equal in Sweden. It looks like someone is trying to take advantage of the State, and that someone is certainly not the bunch of Swedish kids enjoying their free lunch.
11:28 November 3, 2012 by Rachel Helling
@ Emerentia .... wether it´s the state or municipality, it´s the same thing! The resources that are being used are paid for by all taxpayers around the nation. And of course they are not paying anything, they are refugees! How could we expect someone with no money, no job, no country, NOTHING to pay for anything? That´s why they need help! If they had money, then they wouldn´t be needing any help. If they had money, it would be a lot easier just to invest some money and move to another country and be a legal investor/immigrant!
21:38 November 3, 2012 by Darthkuriboh
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:40 November 4, 2012 by Emerentia
@ Rachel Helling No, the state and the municipality are not the same thing. The resources that are being used to pay for lunch food to school children on Öland is _not_ paid for by all taxpayers around the nation. The are payed for by the taxpayers in the municipality. As I told you earlier, these refugees do have money, they get 2100/per adult and 1500 kr/per child in cash each month. So a family with two adults and two children get 86 400 kr each year. If each family has two kids, and there are 200 kids in the school, it mean that 100 families living there, that means 1,6 million kr/year, just in cash. Then there's the cost of renting all the houses that they live in etc etc. Those things are payed for by the state, but the cost of schools and food in the schools in Borgholm municipality is payed for by the ca 10 000 people who live in that municipality. Not by all taxpayers in Sweden.
18:42 November 4, 2012 by musiktjej
Every child in Sweden gets barnbidrag which could easily be used for the kids lunch. So I think that they are actaully double dipping if these kids get a free lunch at school.

This is an issue that once again shows that Sweden has no business taking in foreigners if they have no clear plan, or means to take care of them and treating them like human beings.

They can bring bagged lunch?

Really? I worked in a school here in Sweden where it was absoultely forbidden for the kids to bring bagged lunch....go figure, kids who didn't like the food or had special circumstances were not even allowed to bring lunch but here they are forcing it?

Nice vad?
22:15 November 4, 2012 by godnatt
Sure their parents are parasites who will bilk the system every chance they get but taking it out on the kids is a bit much.

Feed the kids, reduce the handout to the parents accordingly...

Of course, close the gates to and these "problems" go away.
09:21 November 5, 2012 by rise

Yes, close the gates. No one is thanking the Swedish workers/taxpayers anyway. Instead the taxpayers are being called racists and "svenne hora" and such.

Close the gates!
17:16 November 7, 2012 by Emerentia
@ musiktjej They don't need to bring bagged lunches, they can go home to their parents and eat with them, with their families. The parents are right there, and they have the time to cook for their children and thet get money to do so. I can'ts see the problem with that.
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