A 12-year-old student at Barber Middle School in Dickinson, Texas, had his breakfast thrown in the garbage due to 30-cent shortage in his account.
His mother, Jennifer Castilleja, reached out to ABC 13 Houston to help her find out more about the school district’s policy. She went to her son’s middle school in Dickinson Wednesday morning.
"My son called me and asked me if I could bring him some money because they took his breakfast from him and he needed money for breakfast,” Castilleja said.
Her son, a sixth grader at Barber Middle School, is on reduced meals. He uses an account that his mother deposits money into to pay for his meals, but it was empty.
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"I said, 'Well, I'm on my way, I'll pay for it,'" Castilleja told ABC 13 Houston. "And she said no, I would have to bring some money before he could have breakfast."
It was only a 30-cent reduced breakfast, but the cafeteria server threw his breakfast in the trash and sent the boy back to class.
"There were kids all around him,” Castilleja said. “I think he may have been a little embarrassed and upset and, of course, hungry."
The school district said in a statement: "Dickinson ISD's procedure is that we do not allow student charges for breakfast. Many school districts follow this same procedure. Students get verbal warnings to let parents know once the account starts getting low. Written warnings are sent home to parents before money runs out."
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Either her son forgot to let her know about the verbal warning or she did not remember to refill his account, Castilleja admits.
"Or telling the child, we are going to feed you, but go to the office and call your parent and let them know that you need money," Castilleja said. "Anything than sending them to class hungry."
According to the school district website, the current price for breakfast for middle school students is $1.25. But if the student does not have money, the school is not required to offer them meals.
It’s unknown if Dickinson ISD will change the breakfast policy. Castilleja gave her son breakfast and money to buy lunch.