Let's face it: School cafeteria lunches aren't always glamorous, but they're often a necessity for many students who can't afford to bring their own lunches from home. Having affordable food options is important for all students.
Recently, a cafeteria worker at Wylandville Elementary School in Pennsylvania was forced to take a hot lunch away from a first grader during the first week of school as the result of a new district policy. Because of this, she resigned.
Koltiska said when she took away the boy's chicken his eyes welled up with tears. Being forced to humiliate this child in front of everyone was more than she could stand, so in protest of the new policy, she quit.
The new policy responsible for this is known as Rule 808.1. The rule states that students who owe more than $25 on their hot lunch account will not receive a hot meal. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will receive a replacement meal, while students in seventh through 12th grade will be given nothing at all.
District Superintendent Michael Daniels expressed doubt as to whether Koltiska's story happened or not. He said, "There has never been the intent with the adoption of this policy to shame or embarrass a child." He also said that parents were notified of this policy in August and are also given weekly notices regarding the balance of their lunch account.
Daniels went on to note that before the policy, there were more than 300 families in deficit. Now, that number has gone down to 66. He said those families owed between $60,000 and $100,000 annually. The district is now owed around $20,000.
Koltiska understands the financial benefit of the new policy, but said, "there has to be a better way than involving the children." Especially since so much food is thrown away every day by the school. She says, "it comes down to Profits Over People but this time the People are Our Children."
Koltiska admits parents should be held accountable, and Daniels admits children shouldn't be shamed or embarrassed as a result of this new policy. Tens of thousands of dollars have been saved that can be used by the school, but is it worth it if it hurts the students it's trying to educate? What do you think the solution should be?