In what she has described as a “form of bullying,” a New Jersey mother has accused her ten-year-old son’s school of repeatedly throwing the boy’s lunch away.
Amy Ross’s son Jake has Asperger’s Syndrome, and, as she said, Jake occasionally forgot to “relay notes and messages” to her from the school. Thus, she accidentally let his lunch account balance slip into insufficient or negative balances.
As a result, when Jake tried to purchase his daily lunch from the school cafeteria, funds on his account couldn’t cover the price of his lunch. Cafeteria workers reportedly took the lunch back from the child.
The confiscated lunch was then thrown away “for sanitary reasons.”
“It’s between the parents and the cafeteria,” Ross said. “It’s not between the child and lunch lady. Let the kids eat their lunch.”
Ross reported that the school had taken her son’s lunch “numerous times since third grade.” She has called the school several times to complain of the problem, and a principal apologized for doing so last year.
Dr. Annette Giaquinto, district supervisor, said that issues of account balances are handled calmly, and noted that “everything is done to both follow the policy but also to respect the child.”
Similar cases have been reported from Salt Lake City’s Uintah Elementary School, where 32 kids’ lunches were thrown away on Tuesday over issues of unpaid lunch accounts.
The Utah school’s spokesperson Jason Olsen has since apologized. The cafeteria manager and a district supervisor were placed on paid leave while the issue is investigated.
“This was a mistake,” Olsen said. “There shouldn’t have been food taken away from these students once they went through that line.”
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