A father is outraged after a cafeteria worker threw out his son's lunch. The school district has since apologized for the incident.
According to KOMO-TV, a cafeteria worker at Mill Creek Middle School in Kent, Washington, threw out a teen's lunch twice last week after the student was 26 cents short on his meal account. Cafeteria workers are supposed to supply students who are short on money with a substitute lunch like yogurt or cereal, the station notes; but in this case, a worker took back the meal and discarded it in front of other students.
"He gets up to the front and they say there's not enough in his account, so they take his food, and in front of him, throw it away," parent Jimmie Keys told the outlet.
Parents are supposed to be informed of when their child’s meal account is short on money, local outlet KOMO-TV reports. But Keys said he was never made aware there was a problem until it was too late.
“It’s not that we don’t have the money, it’s a fact that there was a lack of communication for us to bring the money to the school,” Keys told KCPQ-TV.
The Kent School District has previously lost nearly $30,000 in a school year in unpaid lunch fees, so employees wanted to encourage parents to pay meal debt, the outlet reports. Still, district representative Chris Loftis says the cafeteria worker in question went too far. The district has apologized, and it's changing its policy so that parents are given more notification when students’ meal accounts are running low.
“In this case the system took charge instead of the common sense and the humanity and we got to fix that,” Loftis told KCPQ-TV.
In January, a group of Utah parents were similarly upset after cafeteria workers threw out the lunches of about 30 students because they owed money on their meal accounts. In response, the district changed its policies so that students will always be given an adequate meal, even if they have unpaid balances on their accounts.