A group of parents in Attleboro, Mass., are outraged after they learned their children were denied lunch or forced to throw away their trays of food after some school workers were concerned they could not pay for lunch.
The children affected were those who had no cash with them, or their pre-paid accounts did not have enough funds to cover lunch. Some reportedly had over-extended accounts.
Kids cried and reportedly went home hungry. Some children offered to share their meals with those who could not have lunch.
John Greaves, a parent of an 11-year-old fifth grader told the media he was angry, stating "there are people in prison who are getting meals, my daughter, an honor student, is going hungry."
He indicated if the school had notified him, he would have brought money in.
Approximately 25 students were affected, reported Raw Story
. The incident occurred at the Robert J. Coelho Middle School.
School officials told the media that the contractor, Whitson's, that provides the cafeteria services, went against school policy when it forced the students to throw away their lunches. The standard procedure is to give a student a cheese sandwich and milk if the funds are not in the account or if the student did not bring cash.
“There is no way any child in my school district will ever go hungry,” Superintendent Pia Durkin said, reported the Sun Chronicle
. “Children need to eat.”
The onsite director in charge of the food services has been placed on administrative leave.
A Whitson’s spokeswoman apologized for the incident.
“We agree that this situation was not handled correctly,” Holly Von Seggern, vice president for marketing and community relations at Whitson's. “We really want to apologize to the parents of the children who were affected.”
Whitson's offered a full apology to the Attleboro community on its website
. The company noted the workers responsible acted on their own behalf and that it was conducting a full investigation.