At a special meeting held by Trimble Co. School Board in Kentucky on June 17, several parents complained strongly about the policy of disposing of a child’s lunch when their account has a past due balance.
According to reports, a 10-year-old girl’s lunch was removed from in front of her on May 20 as she sat at a table with friends. It was thrown in the trash and she was handed a cheese sandwich instead, NBC 12 reported.
“My disappointment is that I didn't know anything about it,” the child's mother, Lori Ritchie, told the meeting, according to KFVS. “I didn't know my kid was embarrassed. I didn't know my kid was crying. I didn't know there was a negative balance. I really didn’t.”
Another parent spoke up about a similar incident involving her son.
“This happening in front of other students, some of which can be quite cruel in normal circumstances, humiliated him,” stated Jennifer Brown.
Other parents had already voiced their view on the matter in comments to NBC 12 when the incident occurred last month.
“The other kids did notice,” commented Kim Wright, another parent. “several parents have contacted me saying their kids came home upset because their friend's food was taken.”
Wright set up a petition to have the policy changed, and obtained over 1,100 signatures.
“How is it ethical? How is it moral to do this to children who have no control over the situation, whatever the situation may be?” Wright asked. “Whether it's the fault of the school or the parents, the child does not need to be in the equation.”
“I think it's all bullying,” Doug Joyce, the girl’s grandfather, declared. “They kick kids out for bullying, they need to kick grown-ups out for bullying.”
Following Wednesday’s public meeting, there was no indication that the terms of the policy would be changed.
“We don't want any child to be embarrassed or receive an alternative meal, so we are really going to beef up the communication,” one board member stated.
“This was a little disappointing that we didn't get a resolution quickly, because that is what we usually expect,” Ritchie commented in response. “But, the support and outpour of all this just proves that is (sic) really is our kids that come first.”