School Throws Out Girl's Lunch Because She Can't Afford It

Say What!? 278

school lunchI'd just put my kid on the bus this morning when I saw the bag on the counter. Inside was the project she was supposed to take to school for music class. I'd forgotten to grab it on our way out the door. That happens, doesn't it? Moms forget. Mistakes happen. So should a school force a kid to go hungry all day because of one little mistake?

That's what happened to a teenager in Texas recently. Her lunch account was 70 cents short of the money to cover her meal, so the school made her throw the food out. The 14-year-old was told she had to go hungry all day.

Over 70 cents.

Imagine trying to concentrate on your schoolwork while your stomach is rumbling. Trying to take a pop quiz? Having to answer your teachers' questions while your belly is screaming, "Feed me."

And all because little kids are allowed to charge lunch, but high schoolers are not.

Now before you get all up in arms about how kids should be a little more responsible these days, let me fill you in on how this girl's lunch account came up short.

Like many schools, Stevens High runs its lunch program digitally. Kids don't bring cash; parents put money into an account. This girl's mom had her checking account set to automatically replenish the account when it emptied, but a bank snafu delayed the money. This kid was forced to spend a day with an empty stomach because of a bank mistake.

And to add insult to injury, she knew that food was sitting in a trash bag because she'd "touched it."

Can it get any more ridiculous?

Is this really how we should be treating teenagers? Punishing them for little mistakes by withholding food?

They're older than their elementary school counterparts, supposedly wiser and more responsible too, but they're still kids. They're still growing. And the last time I checked, hunger is not something to take lightly, least of all with kids.

Banning high schoolers from the occasional charged lunch is a good way to teach kids that they're going to be miserable without food, and not much else.

Do you think it's acceptable for high schoolers to go without lunch? What should be done with these kids?


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Maias... MaiasMommy619

That is beyond ridiculous! Such a stupid thing to make a child suffer over $.70...If I was her parent I would be so pissed with the school...

ruby_... ruby_jewel_04

What the eff? I'd raise hell if there were my child. They wasted the food that they could have let her eat!

Irela... Ireland69

My son's dad pays for his lunch and deposits to his acct. when he runs out of cash of course my son forgets to tell right away so that I can inform his dad.  They give him lunch and tell him he owes or if it gets past an amount they give him bologna sandwich.  That is just plain greedy that kid could have passed out if there was something wrong medically. Besides how embarrassing for her in front of everybody. That is just pathetic

Tripl... TripleC14

That's despicable. For less than a $1 to deny her lunch, and then to throw the food away anyway. Is there no compassion or empathy these days??


So many broken systems in this situation:

Parent (MoM, in this case):  Try to ensure there is money in the child's(student's) account.  It doesn't have to be a daily basis.  But, try to keep abreast of it.  And discuss with the student how much is in there so they will know what they are working with--teaching them how to budget is always great for any child's, regardless of age, future.

School System:  Undstanderable that this "no money for lunch" situations have caused a huge dent in the school budget in the past, but, surely, there is better way to work it out.  Like contacting mom via phone/email/SMS/Twitter/FB, anything to let her know that there is a overdraft for the school lunch program. Heck, even withholding grades can be an option, if the student ends the school year with fines/charges/overdrafts. As for the student, let the student eat--regardless of the problem. Even if you have to make a "I forgot/don't have any money" lunch or just give her the lunch she "touched" so it doesn't go to waste.  Too many starving kids (people) in this country and the world to throw away "un-touched touched" food. I know high schoolers are in the teens and should be taught responsibility, and possibly be treated as a "mini" adults, but, there is a time and place to squabble of about issues--feeding a STUDENT should never be the time to make examples.

This story just makes me sad for everyone involved.

nonmember avatar kaerae

This was stupid, but, let's be honest, one day without lunch isn't exactly a tragedy, it's a lesson. In the real world, we miss a meal for work, meetings, doctor's appt.,errands, and the world doesn't come to an end. Kids today never learn resilience because we refuse to let them experience discomfot - ever - The fact that a teenager missing lunch one day is national news is exactly why this whole generation is stressed out and dependent. It was ONE MEAL, chill the heck out!

Tripl... TripleC14

The point kaerae is the principle of denying a child food because of a $0.70 deficiency in her account, and then wasting the food anyway. It doesn't matter that you might choose to skip meals, there's a difference when it's your choice vs something imposed on you. And in terms of the "state of this generation", what's going on with the generation that would let a child go hungry for $0.70??? Some people and their priorities...

nonmember avatar Elyse

No one in that cafeteria could have come up off of $0.70 out of the goodness of their hearts so the girl could eat lunch? For goodness' sake, I don't make a whole lot of money but I have more than that in my couch cushions. This is completely nonsensical and disheartening.

nonmember avatar IslandMomOf4

I agree with TripleC14!!

nonmember avatar kayla

that is ridiculous! most schools around here just have you pay later, up to a certain amount and then give bologna or peanut butter sandwiches...can't believe they wasted that food!

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