A high school in Minnesota has taken away 40 students’ hot lunch meals and promptly threw them away in the trash, and then replacing the meals with cold lunches right after staff found out the students had around $15 outstanding debt or more.
On Nov. 12, the same day of the incident, Steven Unowsky, the Richfield Public Schools Superintendent, has reported to KARE 11 that the incident was a mistake and should not have actually happened, and the school had posted an official apology regarding the issue on the school’s Facebook page.
“We deeply regret our actions today and the embarrassment that it caused several of our students,” the statement said. “We have met with some of the students involved and apologized to them. High school administration will also be meeting with student government this week to talk about the situation and listen to what students have to say.”
“Our nutrition staff inaccurately and inappropriately implemented alternate lunch,” Unowsky said, and continued to explain that the staff should never have taken the student’s lunch if the tray and the student was already in line, even if they had an outstanding balance of $15 or more.
The school’s system currently applies that the students can be notified about their balance by just looking at the cash register instead of being publicly announced, and just before the parents can be notified on phone.
Should there be any issues, the school’s guidance counselor or a social worker can seek out and assist the student to help them with a plan that suits them and would work for them.
Due to the incident, a member of the Minnesota’s Republican Party, Rep. Tony Jurgens (R-Minn.), had responded: “Who in their right mind thinks it’s OK to dump some kid’s lunch in the garbage?” he said. “That’s the thing I have a hard time wrapping my mind around.”
As of late, the Richfield Public Schools’s debt accumulated total is worth around $20,000 worth of lunch debt.