A school district in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania started serving alternative lunches to students whose parents did not pay the weekly lunch fees, and it drove a cafeteria worker not only to tears, but led her to quit her job.
A recent lunch policy applied to the Canon McMillan School District and said:
“After overdrawing the cafeteria account by twenty-five dollars ($25.00), students in grade K-6 will be able to charge an alternate lunch which will consist of a sandwich, a fruit/vegetable serving and milk. Students in grades 7-12 will not be allowed to charge any additional lunches.”
If students’ parents do not pay the $25 lunch fee, the kids cannot eat a normal lunch, but instead eat a cheese sandwich, a piece of fruit and milk.
This affected cafeteria worker Stacy Koltiska in the worst way, as she had to look a first grader in his little eyes and tell him that she had to take away the hot plate of food. She told WPXI that the kid’s eyes “welled up with tears,” a sight that affected her greatly.
She called the new policy “lunch shaming,” but the school district firmly stands behind the policy, saying in a since removed Facebook post the policy is used to:
“…address accountability for deficit lunch accounts accrued by families with the ability to pay for their child’s school meals. There is no impact on students who are eligible for the national school breakfast and lunch programs.”
So the policy only applies to kids whose parents can afford the lunch, but don’t. Students in the free lunch program proceed as usual.
The district’s superintendent told WPXI that the parents who can afford to pay for lunch, need to pay, so it’s not left to the taxpayers.
Regardless if one thinks this is right, or wrong, at least the kids aren’t going hungry, even if it’s just a meatless sandwich.