Minnesota School Apologizes for Throwing Out Hot Lunches
This story has gone National, and it started in Richfield, MN, at the Richfield High School. On Monday, November 11th, a video, that was shared on social media, showed almost 40 students had their hot lunches dumped in front of them and offered a cold meal instead. This was after cafeteria staff saw that there was a $15 or more debt in the student lunch accounts.
The school district quickly apologized for the incident including the principal stating that what happened to those students was wrong. According to Kare 11 the policy is:
What should have happened was one of two things; first, if a student is in the line with a lunch on their tray, no matter the balance at the register, they will keep it and be allowed to eat it, according to Unowsky.
Their balance would be noted at that point electronically, not verbally in front of others and then a call would go to their parents. The student may then, in private, be approached by a social worker or guidance counselor to figure out what help they might need.
Second, a student with a negative balance would be notified before they get into a lunch line, again, privately.
What happened on Monday, the leaders admit, was a total failure.
Interesting to note, the Richfield School District will have close to a $20,000 lunch debt, and that is with approximately 65% of students in the district qualifying for the free lunch program. The Richfield School District has their policies on their website, under the Food & Nutrition Department, and you can read their debit policies here.They also have a link to their Sunshine Account Page where people can donate money to help offset some of those lunch accounts.
In my most humble opinion: This never should have happened. I understand that outstanding lunch debts are a real concern in our schools, but, the students should NOT be penalized for the parents actions, or inaction. Fortunately, or unfortunately, those students have phones in their hands and they record everything. In this case, it was a fortunate thing, the school district was in the wrong and they are doing everything they can to make it right. And the first step is admitting they were wrong. Kudos to the district for owning up to the mistake, and trying to rectify it. Students should not be "lunch shamed" ever. This just shows that there is more work to be done to make sure that our kids are eating a healthy meal at school, and not be held accountable for circumstances outside of their control. I did look for the original videos taken on Facebook, it looks as though they have either been removed or I did not have permission to see them.