I swear these are people who would be honored to tell Oliver Twist that there is no more soup:
Children at a Utah elementary school were in tears on Wednesday after a district nutrition manager seized the lunches of up to 40 students over negative account balances.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the children had already received their lunches at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City when the child-nutrition manager ordered cafeteria workers to take the meals away.
They took food away from children?
But not to worry, the school district is looking into it:
Dear patrons and Uintah Elementary parents,
We have been investigating the lunch situation at Uintah Elementary School and would like to share the following information.
On Monday, a district Child Nutrition manager was sent to Uintah Elementary School to investigate the large number of students who had zero or negative balances in their school lunch accounts. That same day, the district manager and the local school kitchen manager started making calls to inform parents of the negative balances.
On Tuesday, the calls to parents continued. When lunch time came, students who still had negative balances were told they could not have a full meal but were given a piece of fruit and a milk for lunch. The district does this so children who don’t have money for lunch can at least have some food and not go without.
Unfortunately, children are served lunch before they get to the computer for payment. The children who didn’t have enough money in their accounts had their normal food trays taken from them and were given the fruit and milk.
This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize.
We are also investigating what type of notification parents may or may not have received prior to this week. The schools says they inform students when they go through the lunch line if they have a low balance. They say they also send notes home in the student’s Monday folders. However, when contacted Monday or Tuesday, many parents were surprised by the news. The district has specific guidelines for school kitchen managers on how parents should be notified, and we are currently investigating to see if these guidelines were followed correctly.
We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again.
“This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. ” Gee, you think? But what would you do, regardless? How would you tell Johnny in front of Suzy that he can pound it? How do you do that?
There’s a level of cruelty here, a Galtian world-view of punishing the have-nots for every bit of bad luck from the moment of birth onward. An accountant will tell us that the money has to come from somewhere, and I agree, but it is also about priorities. Maybe less money for tax breaks for the wealthy/businesses/developers could have funded a school lunch program for everyone in that district? We can do better than this.