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School officials throw away children’s lunches over unpaid accounts

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A Salt Lake City elementary school is under fire after school officials snatched up the students' lunches and threw them in the trash can, and according to a report by The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, it was all over unpaid balances on the children’s school lunch accounts.

The child-nutrition department at Uintah Elementary became aware of about 40 accounts with outstanding balances and in an effort to collect, the child-nutrition manager visited the school on Tuesday to repossess food that had not been paid for.

According to the school, they were not aware of which children owed money until the child went through the lunch line, so after they got their lunches and sat down, their lunches were taken and thrown in the trash.

Of course, the school claims that the act of throwing the food in the trash wasn’t a malicious one, and explained that once food is served to one child, it can’t then be served to another. Additionally, the school handed out milk and fruit to the children in lieu of their reclaimed lunches, which is the school’s standard policy for kids who can’t pay for their food.

Yet still, parents aren’t happy about the incident.

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter was one of the children who had her lunch taken away.

“I think it’s despicable,” she added. “These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up.”

Apparently there was some sort miscommunication between the school and the parents. Lukes said she had no idea that there was even money owed on her daughter’s account.

Nonetheless, the school later issued an apology via their Facebook page.

“This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize,” the post said in part.

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Jennifer Cruz can also be found on Facebook , Twitter, and Google+.

Be sure to check out her other Examiner columns.



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