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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mean for the Sake of Being Mean

Foster children would be allowed to get clothing only from second hand stores

Under a new budget proposal from State Sen. Bruce Casswell, children in the state’s foster care system would be allowed to purchase clothing only in used clothing stores.
  Under his plan, foster children would receive gift cards that could only be used at places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores.

 This guy's a real prick. These are foster children, not juvenile delinquents. These are kids who haven't done anything wrong. These are kids whose parents have either died or failed them so completely that they have to be taken in and cared for by strangers, but I guess Bruce Casswell feels that they ought to be stigmatized a bit more.

And he doesn't even bother trying to make up some justification about how this is a "cost-saving measure" or something. Here's his rationale:

 “I never had anything new,” Caswell says. “I got all the hand-me-downs. And my dad, he did a lot of shopping at the Salvation Army, and his comment was — and quite frankly it’s true — once you’re out of the store and you walk down the street, nobody knows where you bought your clothes.”

Yeah. That's it. This whole proposal is based on spite. I never had new clothes, so why should they get any?Why should they get the chance to feel like they fit in with the other kids? Why should they be spared the pitying glances of their peers?

I also never had new clothes growing up, and I can tell you it's not a good feeling. I still remember when an older kid from our church said to me "hey, you're wearing my shirt!" He wasn't trying to be mean, I don't think, but it stung. It doesn't feel good to think that other kids' parents love them enough to buy them new clothes, while yours dress you in others' castoffs. Sure, it's easy to look back now and realize that they were being fiscally responsible by not buying new clothes, and that probably no one but me cared either way whether my clothes were new, but it still felt kinda crappy. And I had parents. For a kid who already feels stigmatized by being a foster child, this seems like kicking them when they're down.

1 comment:

Margaret Benbow said...

Yes, the guy sounds like a jerk. Probably misses the good old days when foster kids and inmates of asylums and work houses were dressed in burlap.