Parents in Kokomo, Indiana, were at odds with a local high school over a cheese sandwich that was reportedly served to students who owed $25 or more on their lunch accounts.
A photo of the sandwich (shown below) was shared on Facebook, prompting parents and students to speak out in objection.
“When we got up to the line, to pay and put our numbers in, the girl that was in front of us, they were like, 'You owe $25.60, I have to take the tray from you,” Kokomo High School senior Sierra Feitl told WTHR of the incident, which occurred upon returning from winter break.
Feitl later learned that students who hit the limit on lunch debt were offered an “alternate lunch” of either a cheese or peanut butter sandwich with milk.
Feitl took a picture of the lunch and posted it to Facebook, where it was shared hundreds of times as of Jan. 6, according to WTHR.
“I think the worst part was that they did it when you were paying, in front of everybody else," Feitl said. "So if you didn't have the money that you needed in your account, everyone got to see that."
The post prompted comments from those on both sides of the issue.
“Someone said, 'Why are people mad at the school for this? They should be mad at the lousy parents that allowed this to happen,'" Feitl said, reading a comment on her Facebook post.
Parent Kim Willhite called the sandwich a “slap in the face” to students.
“My kids are not in an institution," parent Shannon McCoy added. "This is for learning and they want you to be healthy and all that when you come to school. Well, how are you going to be healthy if you're eating a cheese sandwich?”
The lunch policy was reportedly enacted at the end of the last school year, and doesn’t apply to students who meet requirements for free or reduced-price lunches. Students qualify for free or reduced lunches if their family income is below $45,000 a year.
“It doesn't matter how much a parent makes, or what's on their lunch account," McCoy said. "Don't ever feed my kid just bread and cheese, that's just not right at all."
The policy was reportedly put in place after the school had to pay $50,000 in unpaid school meals.