Long gone are the days when children can be bullied into handing over their dinner money under duress!
Technology, and parental engagement have joined forces to ensure that children no longer need to carry cash to and from school to pay for their school dinner. It’s a win-win situation for both parents and schools, the only loser in this cashless equation being the corner shop (which used to do quite well out of the re-routed dinner money which was spent on the way to or from school).
Many schools in Ireland are switching to cashless electronic payment system to protect their pupils from bullying, and they are finding the results most beneficial. As part of the scheme, pupils are issued with individual smartcards which they use to buy their lunch in the school cafeteria. The cards are pre-loaded by parents who have logged on and topped up their child’s account, and each time the pupils uses the card, the money is automatically deduced from the card balance. Pupils enjoy the sense of responsibility which comes with smartcard ownership within a cashless environment, and parents are happy to have the ability to check exactly what their child has purchased in the cafeteria.
Apart from the problem of bullies trying to take school dinner money from children, the swipe card system also addresses the problem of children on free school meals selling their dinner to other pupils. It also discretely manages the identities of those children who are entitled to receive free school meals thereby ensuring that no child can be made to feel inferior.
A level playing field is a fair one which leads to a happy and inclusive environment for all.