One San Antonio teen learned the hard way about her school’s harsh policy on paying for school lunches.
The 14-year-old girl in question, from Stevens High School, went to pay for her tray of food recently and quickly realized she only had $1.05 in her school lunch account. Lunches cost $1.75.
The school took the girl’s lunch and threw it away, instead of allowing her to charge it and pay it back later.
The girl’s mother was more than a little upset her daughter had to go through the school day without eating because of a $.70 discrepency. According to the mother, who did not want to be identified, she had set up an automatic payment schedule to refill her daughter’s lunch fund, but there was a one-day delay in the processing.
School district spokesman Pascual Gonzalez explains that the district’s policies regarding paying for school lunches is very clear, and is published in the student handbook and the website. Elementary students are allowed to charge their lunches up to five times, middle school students once, and high school students are not allowed to charge any lunches.
"The policy says that there is no charge account that's built in, either have the money to pay for your food or you're not going to eat,” Gonzalez said. He then addressed the issue of throwing the food away. “I know it sounds terrible. I totally get that, but the law states we cannot take that same food and put it back in the for sale line.”
The reason for the no-charge policy, according to Gonzalez, is if there are unpaid expenses at the end of the school year, then the tax payers have to cover the cost. The school district’s unpaid lunches added up to $27,000 last year alone.