June 5th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

Bus driver loses job over Facebook post about hungry student

(CNN) - Haralson County, Georgia, school bus driver Johnny Cook couldn't get the story out of his head: A middle school student told him he hadn't eaten, and had been turned away from the lunch line because he owed 40 cents. Cook wrote about it on Facebook, and the story spread.

Haralson County Superintendent Brett Stanton says it didn't happen that way; the child would have been offered a bagged lunch, Stanton told CNN affiliate WGCL, but he didn't go through the lunch line.

Cook says he still believes the student; the bus driver was fired after he refused to remove the Facebook post and apologize. "I'm proud that I was able to take a stand where others might not have been able to, and that I can maybe, in some little way, cause a change," Cook told WGCL.

It's not the first time a student has reported going without a meal because of school lunch debt; in some cases, they've been told to dump the food they've selected and are given an alternative snack, such as cheese and juice. Middle school students in Attleboro, Massachusetts, were turned away from lunch earlier this year, and about 40 elementary students in Edgewood, Kentucky, went without regular lunch during state testing period because of overdrawn accounts, CNN affiliate WCPO reported.

How should schools handle kids whose lunch accounts are overdrawn? What's your school's policy? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments or on Twitter @CNNschools.

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Filed under: Bus driver • School lunch • Technology
soundoff (320 Responses)
  1. fantastic

    I just have to say that I made my own lunches from 2nd grade on through the present (going into my 5th year of college). My parents both work hard, and they didn't always have the time to do it, so they thought it would be great to teach me responsibly and self-reliance from a young age. There were days when I didn't want to, or forgot, and those were the days I didn't eat lunch. They didn't hand me money in high school, I was responsible for making my own. If I wanted something, it was on me to buy it. Sorry, but I'm still here, I turned out fine. The children of today are spoiled, for the most part, in that "adults" see it necessary to accommodate them in any and every way. Why can't they be responsible for their own problem? And if you miss lunch, too bad, you're not going to wither away.

    June 11, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Fail

      Unlike you not all of us grew up able to afford a discounted lunch let alone pack one. There are kids who's only meal of the day comes from the school lunch. For you to think that it's the kids fault makes you a moron. I was one of those kids. Fortunately you haven't experienced a hard life as a kid, maybe you would have a little more open mind if you had.

      June 12, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
      • martyc909

        I can honestly say, some of my only meals came at school. You never know what goes on at home to be judgmental of kids who can't eat.

        June 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  2. HiringDriversnow.com

    Yikes! Check out current Bus Driver Job openings at HiringDriversNow.com! :)

    June 10, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  3. Kathy

    This happened to my son at his high school! He got up to the cashier with his tray and she said he was overdue on his account...took his tray and dumped it in front of all the line and gave him a cheese sandwich. My son was humiliated and to make it worse she came over and gave my son an application for free lunches in front of his whole table. Then 5 minutes later came over and apologized and realized she made a mistake and he wasn't over on his account. Day late and a dollar short...the humiliation was already done! DISGRACEFUL!!!!

    June 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  4. cindy50

    What has become of humanity, does no care anymore this so sad!

    June 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  5. Chris

    Working in school cafeterias, I have seen students receiving subsidized lunches throw them away and then pay cash for "extras". Obviously these students in particular don't really need the subsidized lunches. Parents would be amazed at how much food their children throw away every day. I have seen students returning their hot lunches because their account is overdrawn – students are given notes when the balance is low; parents can pay on-line or send in money and can check on-line to see how much money their child is spending on "extras".

    While I hate the idea that a child is hungry, I also know parents MUST assume responsibility for making sure their child eats, whether they complete the subsidized lunch application forms, provide a packed lunch OR lunch money. The school provides the lunch, it is up to the PARENTS to provide the MEANS for the child to obtain said lunch.

    I have had students tell me they make their own lunch because their parent doesn't want to get out of bed to do it for them. These students are also responsible for making their own breakfast and getting themselves ready for school and to the bus on time. No (elementary aged) child should have this type of responsibility.

    June 9, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Fail

      Could not have been said better.

      June 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  6. tim

    This happened to me in high school at Redmond High School in Oregon. I didn't think it was a big deal because I was able to go to my parents and let them know. In my case, it only happened every once in a while. I could deal with it, but younger kids should have their parents notified by the school so that the debt can be removed and they don't go hungry. It's important, especially for children, to eat so that they can perform better in school.

    June 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  7. Mainscribe

    For adults to withold food to children in need is criminal. If the parents can't take care of their children, report them to the proper authorities. Feed the children and be lucky the bus driver doesn't sue you for 10 million bucks...Hire him back before he does.

    June 8, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • Lunchlady11

      Its a disgrace for any parent to have a child and not pay attention to their account and keep it in the positive so the student wouldn;t have to go through this. It is a criminal offense for the parent, it is the parent that should get in trouble for this for not taking care of their own child. Schools have thousands of students to feed and if they fed them all for free when they owed money, there wouldnt be a lunch program to feed the kids.

      June 10, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  8. Dmitry

    if at the time the school is over a kid comes to me and says they had nothing to eat all day because of some schools administrative BS I would make a big deal of it. I have no idea who they are trying to teach and what is the lesson, but as far as keeping kids hungry they can go to hell with their education.

    June 7, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  9. timmy

    Ahhh...the mother state. Learning how to handle money and the importance of it is dire for the successful integration into adulthood and wealth. The vast majority of individuals have no concept of how to use money as a tool and how to grow wealth and we all pay for that in exhorbitant taxes for some and no taxes for others. Perhaps the best way to start teaching is for a child to take money with them to school and have the pay for lunch and if they 'forget' then let them go hungy for that day. I remember having days with lunches- the human body is a wonderful instrument and is designed to be able to weather such times. I think we teach our children they are helpless and when something goes wrong powerless. Missing lunch is a wonderful learning opportunity and also one to start teaching personal responsibility. Our children are not pets and they are strong and resilient and going through tough times is proven to be of benefit emotionally to the growing organism. My children are given 'emergency' money for a days lunch when they forget. If they forget their lunch money, they use their emergency money and if they forget to replenish and their lunch money, they go hungry that day and they always remember to tell me on that day they had no lunch that they need to replenish. It has been well over a year that a lunch has been missed. At the end of the year, if they have emergency money left over, I double it or trebble it and they have that to spend on anything they wish. Some will shout about kids stealing, etc. Another learning opportunity of how to handle money...keep t safe, keep ones self safe. They never tell ayone they have it or that they pay cash for lunch. Never had a problem. Yes, there are those without that ability and I would say use tokens for those people as if those tokens were money. It will teach the same skills. Charging, giving free lunches...teaches others will bale you out and to not worry about being in debt- teaches irresponsibility and we are helpless without the help of others and we carry that with us our entire life. On the other hand, my child once used her emergency money to pay for the lunch of a friend who forgot hers. Hmmm....empathy. Everything we do at every moment teaches someone something.

    June 7, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Sherry

      A child should never go hungry because a parent did not give them the money to pay for their food. It is a PARENTS job to make sure that their children have money for things such as this. Children do not have jobs and should not be responsible for this. You are able to give your children lunch money and spare money but this child did not have the same luxury. Your children are lucky to have the privilege and to be able to learn from this experience. In this country that we live in though no child should go hungry.

      June 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  10. Dolly

    As a member of the community in Haralson County Georgia, I can say that this has gotten out of hand. Do people know that the kid said it didn't happen like he said it did? If anyone out there knows this man, they would know he is continuing to cause an uproar to get attention. It is a school policy that you can not use social media like he used it. Let's say the rumor is true about his wages being garnished because he will not pay child support. That is a sad shame that he is willing to lose his job over another child, but he will not take care of his own! Investigate him and his parenting skills. It might be interesting to see what is uncovered.

    June 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Melba Cook

      Before you accuse Johnny of not paying child support, maybe you ought to talk to his ex wife and see what she says. When you berate a person, know that what you are saying is the absolute truth, before you open your mouth.

      June 6, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
      • J Smith

        Just like Johnny Cook knew for absolute sure that this kid didn't get a lunch before he ran his mouth on FB, right? The video clearly shows the kid didn't even walk in the lunch line. I guess Johnny didn't get the full truth before berating an entire school system. He needs to worry about feeding his own child and paying his child support so it doesn't get garnished.

        June 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Donna Cook

      Hey Dolly ... Johnny is my brother ...... BEFOR YOU GET ON THE INTERNET AND WRITE SUCH ABOUT HIM HOW ABOUT YOU GETTING YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT ...... AND ON TOP OF THAT >>> IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSSINES.. ABOUT HIS LIFE ...... STAY OUT ......... ONE THING YOU DONT DO IS MESS WITH MY FAMILY ☺ OK DOLLY

      .

      June 7, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • amy

      FYI... it is typical for parents to pay their child support through their check. It's easier that way, versus going to the CS office or by mail. My ex did it for years, that doesn't mean he did NOT want to pay.. and if it's school policy that you do not discuss things like these on facebook, then why aren't some ladies of the BOE in that district as well as another district not fired too?? These two women are related to each other and had no problem discussing this on Facebook, BTW on COMPANY TIME!! I saw the posts myself .. they were during school hours on a school day. Or do they only fire people who aren't on there side and keep hush hush?? Please get your facts straight before you get online and start talking too. aren't you the pot calling the kettle black??

      June 7, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Guest

      His personal life as a human or a father is no one business except his and his kids mother. There is nothing wrong with him standing up for a child and we for one know his kids are well respected and show a lot of respect to people. The first time our boys rode Mr. Johnny Cook bus we was greeted as soon as we came out the front door and even the children spoke when we got to the bus doors. Never the less as a divorced Mother if one is not paying their child support on time and as arranged they will arrested no later than a few weeks of non payment so if that were to be true he wouldn't be able to speak up or defend himself if he was arrested which he is NOT, so for the one who want to slander his name because of lack of respect or jealous or whatever reason you need to get your fact straight and chill out yes it need all the attention it can get because kids are going hungry and no one is doing anything about it in the school system, I understand there are a lot of children in school and eating lunch at one time but that is where that Childs teacher comes into play, the teacher needs to make sure everyone goes through the line weather they don't take a meal or not and find out why not just brush it off. I'm sure if it was some of you guys children you would be highly upset knowing your child didn't eat and no one ask why I WOULD BE. If you don't agree with Mr. Johnny then fine but that's you and not him. He has a heart unlike most folks trying to break him down. Before you bad mouth anyone get all the facts Mr. Johnny's the Schools the Childs not just on side of the story.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  11. Duh

    So should kids be embarrassed if they bring a sack lunch to school since it's soooo embarrassing if they're given one at school? That's crazy. End the school cafeterias, make it so all kids have to bring their own lunch, and be done with it. Then the schools don't lose money, no one has to worry that they don't have money, and it's totally on the parents to feed their kids, where the responsibility should be. If a kid consistently comes to school without a lunch, the school should call CPS. If the family is poor, guess what, there's SNAP so they can get the food to stick in their kid's sack lunch.

    June 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • JD

      I can remember being a grammar school student in the 60's and one day I forgot my lunch money. I felt at the time that no money = no food so I watched everyone else eat. I was a bit embarrassed but I didn't die. I also NEVER forgot my lunch money again. Why did others not offer my some of there food? Because they were 6 years old and didn't connect the dots yet. Later, my teacher found out and made sure I knew that if that ever happened again that I am to tell her. It never happened again but I felt reassured in the fact that I had a "safety net" if I ever did.

      It would seem that policies and procedures need to be updated and stated plainly to the school system in order for this to never happen to any young child.

      With all the tax money and all the lotteries that go on in most states, why are children forced to sell candy and other useless things in order for schools to have the things they need? That is the question I would like an answer to! I remember in junior high I was asked to sell toothbrushes door to door. What was my incentive? A jam-box radio. I felt even then that we were being used by the school system to make up the financial shortfalls that the politicians failed miserably to meet themselves.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Liltiger822

      Most schools are mandated to provided free/reduced lunches to children. Taxpayers get screwed either way, if the parents are on food stamps or if they are receiving free/reduced. It all comes from our pockets. The dilemma is that if a child is NOT on a free/reduced lunch plan, is it fair to punish the child because a parent forgot to pay? This happens ALL THE TIME at my children's school! My husband and I are pretty involved parents (in fact, my husband was the school board president for over 6 years) and at times we forget to reup our children's lunch money. So we, who pay all full fees, all full lunch, etc., have our child get dry cereal for lunch because he only has 50 cents left on his account. While the kids who get free/reduced lunch get it every day, and a lot of them just throw it away. And it is absolutely true that they would rather take the food out of the child's hand and toss it into the garbage, than give it to them when they owe money. And I don't live anywhere near Georgia, I'm in a suburb of Chicago, so this obviously is happening EVERYWHERE!!!!!

      June 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  12. LovelyE

    I've read some pretty disturbing posts regarding whether or not it is appropriate to feed a hungry child. A lot of assumptions have been made regarding the child and his family situation. I am the second oldest of 6. Both my parents worked but could neither afford to send us to school with money for lunch each day or pack lunch every day. I am grateful for the free/reduced lunch programs of the 80's.

    Now before any of you sanctimonious types try to go in about how it doesn't take that long to make lunch, parents not making time for their kids I need you to consider the fact that not every parent has flexible hours at work that allows them to arrive a little later than normal, or the fact that there are many parents whose work dictates long grueling hours of physical labor and does not afford them the luxury or the energy to make lunch every day.

    My point is there is always going to be someone taking advantage of the system. Whether its the ghetto fabulous welfare queen or the rich lady who found a loophole that allows their kid to get free lunch, the children should not have to suffer. If we would bring back educational programs that taught children how to manage a household (Home Ec anyone?), stop blaming everyone else for our personal woes, and have some compassion these generations behind us might not be in such bad shape.

    June 6, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • George

      I still can't see any scenario where it is physically impossible for a parent to prepare lunch for their children. Bare minimum you can get loaves of bread and huge jars of PB and J that take literally seconds to throw together. PB allergy? Cheap cold cuts. Once we reached about middle school age WE were responsible for making our own lunches. My brothers and I rotated weeks where we put together the food – usually PB/PB&J with little debbie snack, fruit, and juice box. Through High School we did this. During elementary school my mom either made our lunches the night before or the morning of school. If you can't bother to feed your child, I'm sorry, but you shouldn't have had children. I'm glad the schools give lunch to children with nothing, but this is pretty ridiculous to expect.

      June 6, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Belinda L Crissman

      LovelyE – I appreciate your statement!

      June 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  13. Ann

    I can understand the point that we need to provide the kid with a lunch so he's not hungry. A few free bag lunches, with warnings to make sure to catch up on his lunch money bill, and calls home, sounds fine.

    But to say that we can't offer a sack lunch because poor widdle Johnny will be embarrassed by it? You have got to be kidding.

    How embarrassing is it, anyway? " Hey, Johnny, you dope – forgot your lunch money again?" "Yeah, I did." WOW. Years of therapy in that kid's future for sure.

    Personally, I think he'll survive it.

    June 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  14. Ellie

    Personally, I went to public school. We had a ticketing program... when you had so many punches on your ticket, you were out of money. Therefore, you had a record and your parents could keep it up to date. Why not employ a similar system? The register was also at the front of the line, so you punched your ticket before you hit the food line. But there was also a 2-day allowance for children whose parents weren't capable of paying until perhaps payday.
    I think it's a travesty that the policies are seen to with such strict force. Singling children out by making them dump their food and/or giving them a "snack" is not the answer. Children need proper nutrients and meals to thrive. Demeaning them also plays a huge role in their success on a daily basis.
    As a parent, yes, it is my responsibility to make sure my child is getting fed, clothed, and properly cared for. His daycare is on a public assistance program, so he is fed lunch and a snack. I make sure he eats something in the morning and something in the evening at home. If I were ever to have a situation where I was unable to pay her on time, I would hope the daycare provider would not punish my child for my own mistake.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  15. JRae

    This bus driver is just starting a lot of crap because of his hurt pride. Plain and simple- pride wanting revenge. He has started all this mess because he did not want to follow the rules set by his employer- Haralson County BOE. He was asked to take down the Facebook post, but he refused. How dare he bring such wrong, hurtful, and untrue attention to his county. Because he directly disobeyed rules set forth in the handbook he signed when he accepted his job, then directly refused to comply with a request to take it down, he was terminated.

    This child was NOT denied a meal. ALL children in this district are allowed 3 days of charges before they are offered a sack lunch consisting of a sandwich and milk. The student did not go through the line- the school has video of the lunch during the time the student was in there. He is using this false information about this child not being fed to seek revenge!!

    June 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • allison

      That's pretty much a load of crap. Johnny was sincerely concerned about that child – it is unfortunate that your negative view of people and life in general doesn't allow you to see that – what a shame – I would hate to live your life...

      June 6, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • JRae

        Wow...look who is being negative now! Don't worry about my life, live your own. I gave my perspective on this situation as I see it. He is used to using his wit and charm to get his way, but this time it did not work. Now, he is dead after Mr. Stanton's job, regardless of the fact that this kid was NOT denied food. It was an assumption made that he refused to rethink....so I say again...this is about his pride!

        June 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • amy

      how do you know that he is used to using charm and wit to get his way?? Do you know him personally?? just curious. also.. if they say they fired him because he broke school policy , then why is it that two women on the board of that district and another district (who btw are related) have NOT BEEN FIRED for doing the same thing??? I read their posts on facebook discussing this whole matter, and they were talking about it ON THE CLOCK! Sounds to me if rules are rules, shouldn't they be fired too? or is it only when it's convenient to do so??He has a right to fight for his job and for hungry kids.

      June 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • JRae

        Maybe because she took the post down- as requested. Mr. Cook could have taken his post down as requested also, but he chose to not to. Do you know him personally? I am curious too. We have all drawn conclusions about this story based on the information we have.

        June 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Belinda L Crissman

      A thought for you....
      "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

      Albert Einstein
      (((Your FACTS have big holes)))

      June 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  16. Liz

    Volunteering in my kid's lunchroom, I don't think I have ever seen a kid be turned away because they did not have the money to pay. We have electronic accounts where money is put into a students account and when they get low the parents are notified. I put money in twice a year: at the beginning of the school year and then in January. True, I can afford to put a lump sum down, but others pay monthly or even weekly. Over half of the kids in this school are on some kind of assistance. As for the original CNN article, I think the argument here is a kid who chose not to take the sack lunch and instead grew it into a starvation situation. The bus driver, as good hearted as he probably is, took it further without investigating, which then made the school look bad.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  17. Anna

    As I director of food services for a school that serves 7,500 lunches daily, there used to be nearly a $100,000 debt annually from parents/caregivers who did not pay the $0.40 for a reduced price meal, or the $2.25 for a paid meal. The food service department needs to end up in the black, so as not to infringe on the general fund – and take away funds for educational purposes. Here is what our District has done in the last decade and it works for us and for responsible parents:
    Cash register/computers are at the front of the line, so a meal is never taking away from a child.
    We allow a child to charge up to three meals, understanding that sometimes parents/caregivers get busy.
    A student who is eligible for a $.40 meal, always receives a full meal, whether the parent pays or not, federal law.
    After three meals, we provide milk or soy milk, some sort of sandwich or muffin or a trip to our produce bar, to paid students. This way the child does not go hungry, but hopefully s/he is encouraged to bring the money from home. (Often the older students spend the money at the local store on candy and soda, leaving their bill at the school district.)
    If the child is eligible for a meal at no charge to them, otherwise known as a "free" meal, BUT the parent has not completed an application for that child, we actively contact the parent to encourage them to at minimum complete the application, before they build up a debt that is not payable, and to help the child so that s/he is not embarrassed when asked for money.
    The hardest part of the school lunch job is to adhere to policies that are in place due to federal regulations.
    Yes, sadly there are parents who send their child to school for weeks with no money, no lunch application, and simply cannot be reached for us to help them. Our district goes above and beyond to catch these children from falling through the cracks. The ladies on the line, must adhere to policy. It is their hardest and sadest job to discuss money with little children. The lunch ladies care deeply for the children they feed on a daily basis. Next year we are going to go "cashless" on the line. Parents will need to pay ahead so that the children are not embarrassed when the parents neglect to send them with monies or food repeatedly.

    June 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Me08

      This seems very reasonable! I agree, we can't have money that's meant for books and supplies taken away to go toward feeding kids whose parents won't step up. It's the responsibility of the parent, not the school, to make sure the child is fed and with this system, the school is doing all it can and is trying to be fair. If everyone was handed free lunches, the kids would have to sit around in a room doing nothing all day because there would be nothing left to pay the teachers and to cover school supplies, something schools already struggle with.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Ron Latterell

      The opinion "This way the child does not go hungry, but hopefully s/he is encouraged to bring the money from home. (Often the older students spend the money at the local store on candy and soda, leaving their bill at the school district.", is unbecoming of a person in your position.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Anna

        It is true though. Sorry. Sometimes they will save the money and buy the pencils that are sold in the school store too. Not saying it is a bad thing – but children set their eyes on something special they want – and they get it. It is not unusual.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Clynch

      Thats a total BS statement! My kids are eligible for reduced lunch and have been denied lunch if their account was in the negative. Yes, the kids being in high school hold some repsonsibility for not telling me their account was in the negative but dont make a broad statement that students who qualify for reduced lunch are never turned away, because its a total lie.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Anna

        Hi Clynch – what I am saying is that it is a federal regulation that the school district should NOT deny a student who is eligible for a reduced price meal, a lunch. If your district is doing this, they are not adhering to the mandates. You may want to discuss this with the food service director or the superintendent. But I am sure many districts adhere to the law. Here is the link to the USDA website and the legislation, in case you want to use it.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
      • anna

        Federal Regulations re: National School Lunch Program

        http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/governance/regulations.htm

        June 7, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  18. JIm E

    MY COMMENT TO CNN , STOP COMPANIES FROM USING INTERNET APPT S TO HIRE FOLKS AND START DOING PAPER APPTS AGAIN AND HIRE LOCAL FOLK S TO DO THE JOBS THAT NEED TO BE FILLED OUT ,
    EVERY WHERE I GO YOU NEED TO FILL OUT APP ONLINE INSTEAD OF FILLING OUT ON LINE . SAVES A BUNCH OF TIME AND FACE TO FACE TO HIRE A PERSON WHO FILLES APP OUT .

    June 6, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • George

      AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT STOP YELLING PLEASE AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

      June 6, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • JD

      When you use all caps, it means you are yelling at people which will never work. Also, check your sentence syntax to make sure you are using proper English and grammar if you wish to be taken seriously.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  19. Susan

    When I was in school my mom would periodically forget to give me lunch money. I was made to stand at the very back of the line and given a pb&j and a milk. While I still got to eat, I found it very embarrassing to be told to go back to the end of the line. Everyone knew I didn't have any money.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • George

      Did you convey this to your mother so she learned not to forget again? Yeah, life ain't great sometimes. But you ate.

      June 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  20. Kyle

    At my high school the lunch ladies routinely forgot to tell you that you were almost out or completely out of money...Then one day they would just say you couldn't have your food at which point you had to find a friend willing to help you out.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  21. Mary Donaldson

    There is a lot of "food for thought" in all these comments. My concern is also with the fired bus driver. He is paying a big price for standing up for his principles and what he feels to be right. I applaud his taking responsibility for his fb posting.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  22. Ray Storey

    We have two little girls, one of whom is disabled. Occasionally, my wife is preoccupied with her and forgets to replenish my older daughter's lunch account. When that happens, the lunchroom staff provides peanut butter & jelly sandwiches as a replacement to her selection. Not a thing wrong with that. In this day and age, with both parents or even a single parent having to bring income from more than one source, this happens occasionally.

    Tax revenues should be set aside at both state and federal levels to ensure that our kids do not go hungry. Our children are this country's future. Don't deny them a sandwich.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  23. JMiner

    The thing of it is, I believe in personal accountability. But I also know, from an education perspective, kids who are hungry aren't learning anything. America can't afford that. And frankly, whether you send your kids to public school or not, whether you have kids or not, you pay taxes... would an extra dollar or two be that unmanageable to say that we are honestly and truly doing what we can to ensure our children don't go hungry? Maybe it isn't even all of the lunch options, maybe just a particular lunch is "included" with the school day. The kids have choices, but if the parents can't afford more, at least we know the child receives something of nutritional value to start the day and keep them going into the afternoon.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  24. JMiner

    Just a thought... like everything else we pay taxes for, why don't we just add that to our bill and make breakfast and lunch a part of the school day. Nobody has to remember to pay a food bill to the lunch program and no child goes hungry. Accounting issues aren't a valid reason for a child to go hungry.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Ann

      If you're a homeowner with children, that probably sounds fair to you. After all, you pay school taxes.

      So do I, though I don't have any children. I'm already paying for your children's education – I don't feel it's fair to ask me to pay for their food as well.

      And let's not forget, those who pay those school taxes are already paying for the education of many families who pay no school tax at all – the renters. Their children are educated at no cost to them at all. I think they should still pay to feed them, no?

      June 6, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • George

        Uh, renters most definitely pay property taxes. Unless the landlord is awful at math, they factor in their property taxes so that the rent they charge covers it. If anything, LANDLORDS don't pay property taxes, their tenants do. And renters create wealth for those landlords, as well. Renters are hardly freeloaders, my dear.

        June 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
      • JD

        Ann

        If you're a homeowner with children, that probably sounds fair to you. After all, you pay school taxes.

        So do I, though I don't have any children. I'm already paying for your children's education – I don't feel it's fair to ask me to pay for their food as well.

        And let's not forget, those who pay those school taxes are already paying for the education of many families who pay no school tax at all – the renters. Their children are educated at no cost to them at all. I think they should still pay to feed them, no?

        Hi Ann – I see your point with having no children and yet paying taxes. I myself am in the same situation – however I also know that the children of today will be the Social Security contributors of tomorrow so while I feel a little bit cheated today, I also see it as an investment in my future cost of living. Perhaps that sounds selfish but I am more than happy to help feed children now to make sure I have food in 20 years if I am able to live that long.

        June 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Liltiger822

      Thanks JD for thinking the way most people don't. These kids are our doctors, nurses, etc. of the future. Just because you may not have children in your home, these may be the children who will be treating you for cancer in the future. Maybe taking care of you in your home when you are dying. Or lawyers creating your will, or someone who will shop for you if you can not leave your home. Thank you for thinking about the fact that these kids are YOUR future too!

      June 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  25. relmfoxdale

    I get that we don't want kids to starve (so to speak–they won't starve over one meal), but why aren't the parents keeping the accounts current? I don't know how this works exactly, but I hope that this "free meal" thing doesn't extend beyond one day–in other words, give the kid some cheap food to eat and tell him to bring lunch tomorrow or pay up if they want to eat. Otherwise, what's to stop people getting free food off the school because it keeps feeding them without payment? Man, if only life worked like that... Also, perhaps the schools could e-mail reminders to parents when the account gets below a certain number? Or offer an automatic deposit? I don't know. I *do* know, though, that no child will die from eating a cheap sack lunch–or even no lunch at all–especially if they're reasonably healthy. I don't know why everyone thinks it's some kind of heinous, criminal abuse.

    June 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Damon

      I disagree with you so much, the kid should not have to 'just deal with it' because his parents forgot to send a check or refuse to pay. A better system would be letting the kid get his lunch and telling him, hey can you get your parents to put some money in your account. If not, call the parents and tell them that their child is this much negative on their lunch and if they could pay. There is a better way of handling it other then denying the kid for their PARENTS mistake.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Maizey87

        I agree with Damon and Amber. It is the kid who gets the short end of the stick. My kids went to private school for 8 years and they had a policy that let you slide for up to 4 lunches without money in the account. That was usually enough time to get the account caught back up. They didn't have a way to pay online so I had to rely on one of my kids to give the check to the lunch person to get it in to their account. With little ones, sometimes they would forget it in their backpack, lose it on the bus, etc.. Thank goodness they had a forgiving policy and we, just like all the other parents paid our fair share. Now my kids are in public school, where a large percentage of kids get free or reduced lunches and they won't let you slide 25 cents. We can pay online, they do send you a reminder but it takes up to 2 days for your account to update once you deposit funds. I pay for my kids and with my taxes all the free lunches, yet my son was denied lunch a couple of times because of the delay in the online system, despite my daughter's account having plenty of funds. They are kids, blame the parent but don't punish the kids. I assume this kid with the 40 cent deficiency wasn't asking for anything for free, he was at the mercy of his parents and/or technology and just wanted his lunch. I know you have to draw a line somewhere, but geez.

        June 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Amber

      I think most of you are off the mark here. You are forgetting that it is a child who is getting the short end of the stick here. Yes the parents should pay for the lunch; most parents would never let their child go hungry on purpose. There are a lot of people who just can't afford it, and that's why their child is on the reduced lunch to begin with. To blame and be ugly is extremely unkind, it's not the kids fault but he is the one who has to go hungry. I am an educator, and I think what this bus driver did is commendable.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • soonerkid17

      Im sorry but did anyone forget that even our convicts and prisoners get free meals? But yet our children dont? Look I understand, pay to play, but I think the priorities are pretty messed up in this country when our criminals get more of a free pass than our students. If we can afford as a nation to feed murderers we should be able to pick up the bill on our kids. And if people realy want to get up in arms over the cost, Im sure there are plenty of fat cat salaries in washington that can be used to cover the cost. This is just really sad. And I feel bad for the kids.

      June 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • Anna

        There are school food service directors nationwide who see the need to get rid of the application process for free/reduced priced meal – which is tedious and full of fraud. Some believe it would be smart to go to universal feeding for all children. It would be easier to implement.

        There is no such thing as a "free" meal, as someone is paying for it. In this case, the tax payers. It would be beneficial to each and all students to simply go to universal feeding, at this stage in the game. The people footing the bill for others, would then get benefit out of the program as well – and no child would fall through the cracks.

        Personally, I am not sure where I stand on this issue.

        June 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
      • Liz

        Personally, I would choose not to feed the murderers, but that's just me

        June 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
      • Liltiger822

        Damn straight! BRAVO!

        June 7, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  26. justme

    Since when is it the school districts job to make certain that school kids are fed lunch when they already owe money? How much is too much to owe? Where does this line of thinking end. I know that studies show that kids perform better in school when they are not hungry but where does it end.
    Studies show that Kids also perform better when from stable 2 parent homes – are schools going to prevent divorce?
    Studies show that kids perform better in school when they watch less TV – are schools going to go take TVs out of homes?
    Studies show that kids with pets get slightly better grades in school – are schools going to mandate pets at home?

    Lets stick with the mission of schools to educate and put the resources toward education and make parents responsible enough to make certain the kids get fed and pay the bills when they are due..

    June 6, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Bob

      Believe it or not I've seen several parents simply unwilling, for whatever reason, to give the school lunch money because they are ...frankly... sketchy parents and think Obama is stealing their money via kids lunches or something.

      The big question is should the kids have to pay for the parent's neglect(however slight it may be, like 40c) ??? Why should a kid have to deal with an inferior lunch or something odd to single them out just because mom or dad forgot to send in a check? The kid has nothing to do with the responsibility besides the most basic bits, but is the victim of the neglect. It should be between the school and the parents. It's a real monetary debt against the parents, not the kid.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • Ann

        And those parents who refuse to pay for school lunches should have the option of sending their child to school with a sack lunch. I was amazed to hear that some schools don't allow that.

        Of course, if they are not giving the kids lunch at all – then they should be reported for child neglect, with appropriate consequences.

        June 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
  27. stormyweather24

    The reason any food would be taken and "dumped" is due to federal rules. Schools get money from the government to provide food for children on free/reduced lunch. Only those children area allowed to have that food. There is a very stringent accounting of food schools provide. Yes, it is absolutely ridiculous to throw away food from a hungry child, especially when it's not accomplishing anything, but the rules don't allow for those kinds of accidents, and schools can lose funding if they don't comply to the letter. Believe me, you don't get "extra" from school lunch. Everything served is counted. An extra tator or two don't escape onto trays. I agree that schools shouldn't be required to provide food for children, as that is the responsibility of the children's parents. However, too many parents are unequipped to provide properly for their children and often children go without, even though many parents are working hard to provide what they can. I taught in a school for many years where the free/reduced lunch amounted to about 95% of the student body. Many, many of my students got two meals during the day: free breakfast (for anyone), and lunch. That was it. If they missed breakfast, they ate once. It is a sad reality of our country that so many people live on or below the poverty line, and those that suffer the most are the children. We can say all we want about personal responsibility of jobs and not having children you can't afford and whatnot (most of the parents at my school had jobs and many had more than one), but children should not have to suffer, and that's what the food program tries to prevent. The regulations are often to blame as they do sometimes hurt those they are intended to help.

    June 6, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  28. Mary

    Agree they should learn responsibility. Each child is different. My daughter does not get it. And even with being fed breakfast and sent to school with a lunch she racked up $36 in breakfast and lunch fees. They didn't tell her it was costing money. She just went throught the line grabbed what she wanted and they put it on her account and sent me a bill once it reached $32 and after we told them MANY times to stop doing it.

    June 6, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Tragoudi Arpa

      My question is – maybe the student needs to be send with either extra food from home - or more money needs to be allocated by the parent to the student.

      Without one of these two options taking place the student is being told,first by the parent/then second by the school that because he/she falls into the cracks he/she is going to be required to go hungry. Is this the real message we want to communicate to the student?

      By default, I think it IS the real message. In the real world if you don't have money for food, and you don't get food from food bank or kitchen or someone giving it to you, you do go hungry.

      In a student's case, the responsibility issue only goes so far. Then it is primarily up to the parent to deal with in conjunction with the school.

      June 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  29. Mary

    Where are these kids parents. What happened to parental responsibility in making sure their children are being fed a proper meal for breakfast and lunch each day? We need to stop blaming the "system" and start holding all parents accountable for the rearing of their own children. This includes feeding them! My six year old makes her own lunch every day. It takes her minutes to do it. If we as a society continue to depend on the system to raise and feed our children then expect more of this to come. Running a program to feed hundreds of children is going to have problems. And some people (children in this case) are going to fall through the cracks. Acceptable No, reality Yes. Stop relying on the government to feed, house and cloth you and your children the system will disappoint you.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Pat

      Do you really live in Fantasyland? There are so many families in America that don't have enough food, let alone extra. And these are not all welfare families. Many former middle-class families make great use of food banks to find something for their kids to eat. Hulimiliating a child who is not responsible for a financial shortfall just adds to the poor self-esteem that comes from being needy in America, where "everyone" can be a success.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  30. JIM

    The school making him dump out the food defeats the purpose. They are not saving any money by doing that. Sounds more like punishment.

    June 6, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  31. TAX PAYER

    Who cares if this driver was fired. He would have been laid off because of state funding cuts anyways. The kid probably didn't care either because he remained at his lunch table and played on his iPad or Nintendo DS. 98% of the postings here are from people who believe since they went to public school they know how schools run. Starts with the home, no one is held responsible for anything and it shows...

    June 6, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • AKA

      "no-one is held responsible for anything and it shows" – does that statement also include the school in question?

      June 7, 2013 at 5:54 am |
    • Patty

      Who cares if this driver was fired? Most of us with a heart care, that's who! Not everyone can afford an iPad or Nintendo DS.. Where did you get that information? I haven't seen that in print anywhere, nor in any of the interviews that have been done.. Wait let me guess, you ASSumed that? I love how people assume things that they really don't know diddly about. Most of us have probably been there at one time or another; If we haven't been there personally, we know someone who has been. NO child should be denied food for any reason.. No excuses. We as adults are supposed to take care of the children. If we don't stand up for them, who will? I pray that hard times never fall upon you, but if they do..Who cares?!

      June 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  32. Bobbi

    I think it is a sad day in the American school system that children are not given the same lunch simply because there account is overdrawn. You ask why a kid might not take the bagged lunch, as if having the cashier tell you your account is overdrawn when you are in line isn't bad enough to a child but then expect them to take a bagged lunch after they have been seen with a hot lunch, is just embarrassing. There is so much pressure on kids nowadays to fit in, to not be bullied and the like, yet we open these kids up to opportunities like that with actions like this by the school districts. This matter should have been taken up with the parents, not by putting the child on the spot in school. Imagine how embarrassed you may have been at one time when your credit card would go through during a trip to the store or you forgot your cash or wallet, not put those feelings on a 10 year old!
    Bottom line I feel is the PUBLIC school district is to provide a service to those children no matter what their economic status. With the crisis of people going hungry in America, the last place we should be denying a child food is at school!

    June 6, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • rantsrevireandramblings

      Totally Agree with everything you said Bobbi.... My daughter is in grade 1 and every month they have a "hot lunch" day..which is really just a pizza day. We don't send lunch that day because the kids get pizza, which is prepaid for every month. Due to an accounting oversight on THEIR part not my own they didn't have her on the list, so they didn't feed her. Nobody called me (I live 2 blocks from the school...) to bring her a different lunch or to figure out what happened with the hot lunch payment. So she just went without all day. Then my kid came home and said that the teachers all sat around eating the EXTRA pizza while she sat there watching them and not eating. Total nonsense.

      Also, before any smart ass opens their mouth, I know that there are kids that do not eat lunch at all because they are poor/unfortunate. No my kid did not starve to death for missing one lunch, but the fact that the teachers can sit there and watch a kid go without in ANY way even on a regular lunch day is just sad.

      June 6, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • ScentChickNik

      My question is did the child even know the bagged lunch was an option? Did the cashier make them aware?
      Also, if is the policy to throw the food away and offer a bagged option, what sense does that make? That would need to be changed immediately. You throw away perfectly, not always "good" food to just give something different!? Whether the cashier is at the front or end of the line, they should be required to make sure every child knows the option or better yet, leave them with the food and have some other accounting option to account for those meals.

      June 6, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  33. bs1

    If the kids account isn't cut off when overdrawn, how are they going to learn financial responsibility? If it occurs day after day then certainly more investigation is required, but one day without a lunch isn't going to kill anyone and will help teach kids that you actually have to pay for things.

    June 6, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Anonymous

      That statement is total and complete crap. There are other ways to teach children financial responsibility, but withholding food from them should never be one of them.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • George

        Tell that to the PARENTS !!!!! Can they take responsiblity for their kids at all?

        June 6, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • TNGO

      I got an idea... why don't children learn how to count and use cash like we did? Why are we essentially giving them credit cards?!!!! They are too young for that.

      And, in my school, if a child did not have a lunch, they were given a bagged lunch, no matter what.

      What is wrong with society?!!!!!

      June 6, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Alexis Bonham

      Keyword being "kids." These are children in elementary school, not high schoolers. They don't have their own income or their own money, they rely on their parents to provide for them because, again, they are CHILDREN. Your comment is ignorant and obviously doesn't understand the age demographic that this article addresses.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Dmitry

      if at the time the school is over a kid comes to me and says they had nothing to eat all day because of some schools administrative BS I would make a big deal of it. I have no idea who they are trying to teach and what is the lesson, but as far as keeping kids hungry they can go to hell with their education.

      June 7, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  34. Ihatewhitetrash/rednecks

    Red states must leave the union NOW.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • rangerevans

      Believe me, if we could, we would! You blue ba$tards are nothing but a bunch of elite snobs!

      June 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • Katie

        It always seems to be the holier than thou bunch calling other people elite snobs. Why is that?

        June 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  35. George

    Wait, why can't parents simply pack a lunch for their kids? The only time I ever bought lunch at school it was a treat. Otherwise myself and my brothers packed lunches every day, all through elementary and high school. Cost far less than the junk the cafeteria sold and my mom had full control over what we ate. And, both my parents worked full time, so the excuse of not having enough time to shop and make the lunch doesn't fly, either. What am I missing here?

    June 6, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • Hypocrisy Hunter

      BOTH of your parents had a job. Many one parent homes may not have the time because they are busy being both mother and father, perhaps working 2 jobs, etc. THAT is what you are missing.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:14 am |
      • John

        Oh, please. Laziness, pure and simple.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:19 am |
      • eric

        Don't have time for their kids??? Hmm, time to reconsider what is important

        June 6, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • jan

        I worked and had to get up and pack a lunch for my son everyday. He had many food allergies and I found that he was getting a slice of cheese and a slice of bread every day for lunch. I was paying the same as all the other parents were for their kids to eat. So don't tell me that a working parent can't do it. Get up a half hour earlier and drink one less cup of coffee. It all depends on what a parent's priority are.

        June 6, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • Katie

        It's easy to judge other people when it comes to parenting. The sad truth is some people aren't up to the job at all, some people will take advantage of programs offered at school when they are capable of providing them at home, some people truly can't provide a lunch from home, often despite working more than one job (and newsflash, it's not because they're spending time and/or money on selfish things), and some people do their best but still fall victim to mistakes, accounting errors, or others things just not in their control. The bottom line is it's not in anyone's best interest to let a child go hungry and to let food go to waste.

        June 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Goldielover

        It can be done if you have to. I am a single parent from Canada, and my daughter went to a school where there was no school cafeteria, so if she did not take a lunch from home then she did not eat. We made lunches for both of us the night before, and made sure that clothes were laid out for the morning. I often planned our dinners so that there would be some leftovers that I could convert into lunches. Our mornings were busy, as we had to leave at 7:00 so I could get her to the before school program so I could get to work on time. Because we planned ahead, we managed, and even had time for breakfast, although I will admit my coffee was gulped on the run.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Jay

      I remember growing up and my parents didn't have the money for lunch at school and also did not have the money to pack a lunch. I went to school and pretended that I was not hungry so the other kids didn't know I could not afford the money for lunch. Sometimes this is the only food some of the kids get all day. I know there are free and reduced lunches somewhere however not everyone is “poor” enough to get those.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:27 am |
      • eric

        I agree no kid should go without a lunch just because of their financial situation but why the hell does people decide to have kids if they can't afford one? I'm sure every parent wants to be able to provide for their kid. Why bring them into a world where you can't?

        June 6, 2013 at 10:04 am |
      • NO KID HUNGRY & BackPack Buddies

        Jay, thank you for NOT BLAMMING THE CHILD. Anyone ever hear of No Kid Hungry? Backpack Budides? Go check out their sites and educate yourself on all the forms and reasons of childhood hunger – its not as simple as freeloading /irresponsible parents and kids playing Nintendo as some people have claimed. For whatever reason, something fell through the cracks. We are so quick to BLAME someone. Call someone out as taking advantage and being a freeloader. At least the bus driver had the guts to take a stand. We live in a society where all we do is LAY BLAME. Just exercise some compassion. Again, thank you, Jay. Someone has some compassion and common sense.

        June 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • saltgrain

      Packing a lunch is time consuming? I pack both my breakfast and lunch ever day to take to work.. takes all of 5 -10 minutes. No one is "that" busy.. No time in the morning.. do it the night before! I understand all parents.. single or not have time pressures.. A home packed lunch is going to allow the parents more control over the quality of food their children eat.. and is better for everyone

      I think the schools should make an effort to notify parents when the balance approaches a low point.. say 5 dollars which would give them a few days to rectify the situation. They should also NOT be relying on the kids to tell the parents.. kids aren't the most reliable all the time.

      I also agree with the school systems that do provide some alternate food to the children because it honestly is probably not directly their fault that the balance is negative.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • Trudy

      I brought my lunch everyday, usually a Peanut butter or cheese sandwich and an apple, or a yogurt and pretzels or something, about .65 cents a day, now it would be about .75 cents. What sickens me is I work with parents who complain about the school lunches and programs, how much it costs..........she receive food stamps, smokes, gets her nails done and likes her bourbon........but cant make her kids lunch??? Really? Daily cig cost could feed her 2 children.

      June 6, 2013 at 9:08 am |
      • Katie

        I don't think you've been in a grocery store recently. A peanut butter sandwich, yogurt, and pretzels will cost a lot more than seventy-five cents a day. I'm not saying it's going to break the bank, but it's probably more like $2/day. Let's say a family consists of two kids. $2/ day per child x 5 days a week equals $20/week. That's truly not a lot of money, but the sad reality is that some people really don't have that to spare or some families can't afford that every week. There are kids going hungry at home. They shouldn't have to go hungry at school.

        June 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Jay

      There are several areas where parent are forbidden to pack lunches for their kids. The reasons given are one they don't know the nutrition value of the packed lunch, and allergy concerns. Both of those make me laugh my kids lunch is a lot healthier than what the school offers and as far as kids who have such an allergic reaction to certain food items maybe they should have a separate school for them or home school them. I know if my kids had a life threating reaction to peanut butter or other food I wouldn't trust the school to handle properly

      June 6, 2013 at 9:41 am |
      • Goldielover

        In our school district (Toronto, Canada) peanuts and peanut products have been banned for many years. You get used to working around the ban when planning lunches (no school lunch program here, so have to make lunches). Peanuts are the food most likely to cause anaphylactic shock. The other common allergens (dairy, seafood, wheat) do not usually cause such severe reactions, so were not banned. My daughter loves peanut butter, too, but soon got used to not being able to take it to school, but having it on toast for breakfast instead, or as an after school snack.

        June 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Lauren

      When I was in school, they made the kids who brought lunch sit at a different table from everyone else. Yes, really. I anticipated the days once a month when my Mom would let us buy lunch, so I wouldn't be an outcast. Fortunately for my kids, no one at their school cares who brings lunch or buys it, but buying lunch was definitely a status symbol when I was growing up.

      June 6, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • Goldielover

        My daughter thought it was going to be great when she got to high school and finally went to a school where she could buy her lunch. She soon realized that she actually preferred the lunches from home, and really didn't want to spend her lunch period lining up for food, when she could be spending it with her friends. So she went back to bringing a lunch from home, and only buying the occasional ice cream. Toronto is a very multicultural city, and a number of her friends are of different ethnic backgrounds. They would all share their lunches, and I always made sure there was stuff in her lunch that could easily be shared. So rather than chowing down on greasy chicken nuggets or burgers like the kids who bought their lunches, they'd be eating stuff like samosas, souvlaki, fried rice or homemade Italian meatballs. Unlike the earlier grades, the high school did provide a number of microwaves for the kids to heat their food in, so they were far from being restricted to just sandwiches.

        June 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • drny

      I'm a single mom and pack my son's lunch everyday. So, the single parent excuse doesn't work...

      June 6, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  36. rena

    My school does the same. You can only charge 2 meals then you get PB&J sandwhich, that is it. Too bad my daughter is allergic to peanut butter. However, my daughter's school lunch is awful. Yesterday, the chose of the main meal was, Soft Pretzel w/ Nacho cheese, Sausage pizza, or Nachos, old bruised apples and frenchfries for vegetable. So $3 to feed my kid garbage. No nutrition!! Got to love the school systems that microwave lunches and feel the slop to the kids. Growing up, our school lunch was awesome! I loved it. We had really good food. Like home cooked meals. Now it is cheap food, made from who knows what, microwaved. I hate that they have a certain company is paid to serve the pre-packaged meals, they use to do the cafeteria where i worked until the company looked into the what they were serving. Fired!

    June 6, 2013 at 7:42 am |
  37. beachnit

    Well I currently work for a school district. We do not turn any student away that has a debt. The same lunch is offered to each student whether they have money or not in our Elementary Schools. Problem with that is our school lunches are only a $1.00 a day and you still have parent who refuse to pay the debt. Our Middle School and High School kids are provided at least two meals if a debt is owed....after that they have to provide money to receive lunch at a cost of $1.25 per lunch. Most students have the money because the leave to run to the local fast foods and grab lunch. School cafeteras are know different then a restaurant – you pay for food when you go out to eat, the students need to pay for food at school when they eat...its a s simple as that. I dont agree with giving students a different kind of lunch of they owe money – I think that is discriminating and singling them out....and that is not what we do.

    June 6, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Yougogop

      Sorry but you and your -so called- school district disgust me. I don't believe a word of your garbage. Move on to a profession you can actually handle.

      June 6, 2013 at 7:42 am |
      • Kim

        Your an idiot who know nothing about schools. Go back to your hole.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:31 am |
      • Katie

        You should leave the forum. Your post has no place here.

        June 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  38. Avid Reader

    I was unaware my 8 yr old had a negative $3.55 balance in her cafeteria account. I recv'd a letter in the mail informing me if i didn't pay the balance, my daughter would be fed a "Type A Egg Salad Sandwich" but be charged for the regular lunch each day. Whatever! They're lucky my daughter doesn't have an egg allergy! :-)

    June 6, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Hypocrisy Hunter

      Your daughter is even luckier.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:15 am |
  39. Nicole

    My local school district is switching to universal free breakfast and lunch next year. Apparently they'll end up saving some money on administrative costs, and it will gurantee the neediest kids get lunch. We also have a backpack program for the poorest kids in the district where the food bank fills up a backpack each week the kids take home to give them some food over the weekend.

    To me, it's just common sense to have universal free lunch. Reduces administrative costs, guarantees each kid gets a meal regardless of what's happening at home, and only costs a few hundred extra per kid per year (our lunches use to cost $1.25 a day). We're already spending $5-$15 thousand per kid per year, it's really not that much extra.

    June 6, 2013 at 4:51 am |
    • Liltiger822

      I think that is a fantastic idea! That way all the kids are treated EQUALLY and all kids will get fed their lunch!!! The free/reduced is already coming out of our pockets anyway, why not the additional for the kids whose parents may just sometimes forget? PS where do you live? I want to move there!!!! PPS sometimes my kids bag it, sometimes they get lunch from school

      June 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  40. Evelyn Geimausaddle

    Why even charge for lunches anyway. There should actually be 2 lines. One for a standardized lunch & another line for unstandarized food such as nachos, pickles, chips. Snack foods. As much as people pay in taxes food should be free.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:26 am |
    • Anna

      The National School Lunch Program is the most legislated meal in America. Only 100% whole grains can be used, lowfat proteins, and low fat milk. The number of servings of each food group and serving size are regulated, and a certain calorie level must be met daily. The ala carte items also have standards in some states, dictated by Senate and Assembly Bills. In California SB 12 dictates the calorie and sugar levels in a snack item, by grade level. And SB 965 does not allow soda and limits sugary beverages. This type of legislation will become national as a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. It is too bad that not every district is adhering to the federal regulations.

      June 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
  41. Larry L

    A Texas town just built a 60 million dollar football stadium. We have money for schools but our priorities are wrong. A child can't learn while their mind is only thinking of food. Lets just offer lunches and breakfast for all school kids. All of the worlds top rated school systems provide meals and nutrition counseling for the kids.

    June 6, 2013 at 1:22 am |
  42. rad666

    America's children need to get of the welfare rolls, the welfare checks America sends overseas is more important.

    June 6, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  43. Cee Mills

    Sounds like a big game of he said/he said.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  44. Lisa

    Two points on this – first, my son doesn't tell me when his lunch account is overdrawn. Second, I have food at home, and he is supposed to make his lunch nightly. My son is in middle school, but quite frankly, he should be the responsible one. In elementary school, they would call, and I would pay. Obviously it didn't bother my son enough to have him tell me.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
    • David

      so whats your point

      June 6, 2013 at 12:29 am |
      • Rosesarered

        the point is: Give those kids food at school!

        June 6, 2013 at 5:10 am |
    • Karen

      What ever happened to making a lunch for your child or with your child. It shows you care enough to make sure they are fed. If you have the food at home. If you don't and are smoking and drinking alcohol, shame on you. Your child comes first, children didn't ask to come into this world. You chose to have and keep them. Man up and be responsible for what you do.

      June 6, 2013 at 6:49 am |
      • blennertr

        This is not the 1950s, there are many reasons that students don't have their mothers making them lunch. One is single parent families and that parent has to work many jobs to make ends meet. Another is one parent has a traveling job and are gone weeks on end, thus by default it is a one parent family. Today there are many reasons for this, not only drugs and alcohol. I agree not getting lunch when your account is overdrawn by 40 cents may be excessive, but the cutoff needs to happen somewhere. Next, schools in our state just got a big ax to their budgets and the future is not so rosy, so offering more services, like universal free lunch, won't happen. If parents want universal free lunch they should talk to their legislatures and ask for the tax increase to make it happen.

        June 6, 2013 at 7:09 am |
      • relmfoxdale

        Where did the smoking and drinking come from? Who said they were doing that? How weird.

        By the way, my mother was a stay-at-home mom (who didn't smoke or drink–too much), and I sometimes ate the school's food, even though she was entirely capable of making me lunch. One nice thing about eating at school is you get to eat hot meals. I know I personally would hate to live on cold sandwiches every day.

        June 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Katie

        "if you don't and you are smoking and drinking" – well, missy, what if they don't and they are not smoking and drinking? What if they can barely pay for the gas to get them from their first job to their second job? What if they have to choose between their kids' expensive asthma medication and food for lunch? What if they feed them cheese sandwiches for supper because they can't afford much more than that and they RELY on that well-rounded lunch meal at school? What if they are up and out of the house at five-thirty am to get to work and the neighbor gets their kids up and out the door in time for school and so it's just a heck of lot more convenient for everyone, from the single parent to the neighbor to have a school account which ought to get paid on time but doesn't always for a variety of reasons?

        Judge much???

        June 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  45. Sid

    simple solution:

    just tack the balance onto the parents property tax or car tag bill (or failing those driver's license renewal) – yes, I know: "but not everyone owns property or has a car!" I'm willing to go out on a limb & guess that the vast majority of those people are already on free/reduced lunch...

    I'd gladly just get their bills tacked on to my property tax bill... frankly, it's not worth the time it takes to project when they'll need more $ and/or put more on it 10x/year...

    June 5, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Jasmine

      Well I can guarantee if they owe a balance they would not be on free lunch, you could be right about reduced, but education would tell you that free could not equal a debt.

      June 6, 2013 at 1:02 am |
  46. optimistmiser

    Went without lunch on several occasions while in school because of lack of money. Didn't hurt a bit. Did help to teach me the value of money and what it takes to become successful enough to never have to go without.

    Kids today are being taught that big brother govt will take care of them instead of having to rely upon themselves. The parents should be billed for the shortage with appropriate handling fees if the school still feeds the child.

    June 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
  47. Saurabh

    Feed the kid, no one should go hungry ...... There are many other ways to teach him life's lessons....but denying of food is inhuman and cruel. Specially In a country where food wastage is highest in the year and spends billions feeding other poor nations.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • ARMYofONE

      If the child does not have money how can a school afford to keep giving things away for free. IF you want your child to eat lunch, pack one or give them money. Schools are not a bank. They cannot afford it. IF they have to feed kids without reimbursement raise the taxes higher on the school districts. I cant go into a food establishment and get food for free. This is a school which in turn is also like a business. no business can give away free things all the time and survive. Consolidate ALL the schools into one. That can save money. Or make the parents be parents and do what parents should do. TAKE CARE OF THEIR KIDS

      June 5, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • Rebecca Vaughn

        The federal government subsidies school lunch that's how and this is crap they charge a crazy price for not enough food anyway so just feed the kids and take it up with the parents. Maybe they need to apply for free or reduced lunch who knows what is going on maybe the kid just forgot his money or forgot to tell his parents and they can fix it tomorrow just feed the kid.

        June 5, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • carolyn

      I agree with Saurabh. Kids need at least one meal, preferably two meals, a day for optimal learning. As a K-12 principal, I would pay for a student's breakfast or lunch quietly before allowing my building's meal policies damage the safe and secure learning environment that I promote. Kids have to experience and learn from life lessons all the time without worrying about whether or not they will be able to eat at school that day.

      June 6, 2013 at 1:17 am |
    • hartmanhollow

      IF the US Education System had an overhaul then maybe things like this wouldn't happen. NO ONE should EVER go hungry. Period. Schools already don't get enough funding and then people want the world from them. Well, if kids are hungry guess what? They aren't going to do well! Food should be included – especially with the obesity problem in the US. In order for anything to truly happen the whole Education System would need a serious overhaul. Fat chance at that. Until then some students will end up with empty bellies sometimes. Sad :(

      June 6, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  48. Leigh

    When I was a kid my parents never packed my lunch or gave me money. So I either found something to throw in a bag, found some change in the cushions or simply waited to see if there were any lunches left over at the end of lunch period. It was embarrassing and the lunch ladies were really nice about it.

    Today, the lunch ladies are still nice and will feed your kid. It may not be the hot lunch they want, but they won't let them starve.

    June 5, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • chris

      If you are forced to attend anything on a daily basis for long periods of time i.e. a 7hr school day, then your basic needs should be met during your time spent there. When your already paying school fees to attend (show up for roll call *cough* *cough*) the idea of keeping food from children is disgusting. Yes school is necessary, yes we pay fees, but NO! we dont keep food from children (even if their parents cant pay the entire fee, they pay tax for anything else, TAX/GOV/SCHOOL end of story)

      June 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
  49. Morgan

    The way I see it these schools are punishing students because the parents aren't paying their bills on time. In my opinion that's in complete opposition to what a school is supposed to do. In my school you weren't allowed to check out for the summer until your lunch bill was paid if you were in jr,high and above and elementary students parents would be fined a late fee. But the students were never punished by not being allowed to eat. That's ridiculous.

    June 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Dawn

      Our school refuses to release the Report Card if your account (not child's) is past due. The children should never know if this account is in debt or current. Children have to be kids, not mini adults worrying about bills!

      June 5, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  50. January

    I never ate lunch at school until I was 18 and got a job.

    June 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  51. Shawn

    I see both sides to the story, (Don't know) but the school district should have given the Bus driver a second chance depending on the situation, Instead the school should have told him immediately to remove his Facebook post. ((Not Apologize.)) You have parents that are sometimes irresponsible especially for kids that can't defend for themselves (Elementary and Preschool) that come to school hungry.

    June 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Children1st

      Sadly, I know the entire story. Johnny was told he could recant his story (lie), apologize on FB, and take 2 weeks off w/out pay. He was given a choice, but stood by his morals and integrity therefore he was fired. The entire conversation is on his FB page. The Chairman of the BOE put a status on her page DURING SCHOOL HOURS about the same issue. Was she fired? Nope! But that's not the issue. YES, it is the parents responsibility to see to the children are fed but, parents are human! We do forget and some just don't have it. It is MANDITORY we send our children to school 7 to 9 hours a day, depending on the area, why not feed them while they are there? You complain about the money well it seems more money is wasted by throwing the hot meals away and giving sandwiches than just giving the hot meal. Why punish our children by singling them out? Oh if they are embarrassed enough they will correct their behavior. I disagree! It will cause them to have low self-esteem! Children are bullied enough at school why should the system encourage it? I don't care how old a child is, a child is a child. And for the comment "why bring a child into the world if you cannot support it?" Have you seen our economy? MANY people who once could afford things can't bc they lost their jobs. The comment "send a lunch" that's all fine and dandy but what about those who have NOTHING to send? Stop and think people, these are children NOT adults! It make take 2 to bring a child into the world but it takes a village to raise one!

      June 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  52. Upstate

    children are not refused lunches if they owe money there is always a free alternative offered be it a sandwich or something else it may not be the child's first choice to eat but they are not denied food if that child chooses not to take what is offered the school cannot be to blame. In many schools cafeterias are a business ( I'm not saying I agree with it but that is what is it.) they make revenue for schools if a student owes money the school loses money it's a life lesson if you don't have the money you cant get the product.

    June 5, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • shawn l

      Not true. if a kid isnt enrolled in free or reduced lunch, they wont be served if they haven't paid for lunch

      June 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • shawn l

        Experience? 7 years of cafeteria duty during lunch. Im a teacher.

        June 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
      • Chris

        How odd. I've been told it's against the law to refuse a child lunch. In our district, if a lunch account is in the negative, the student gets the sandwich lunch, not the hot lunch choice.

        June 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  53. different point of view

    If you were in line with you were to get in line with your lunch and get to the front and they say you dont have enough money and take your food away would you embarrassed??? you know there had to be other kids seeing this?? would you go get in another line for the freebie after this embarrassment...these are teens who are still growing into their confidence...they dont deal well with being humiliated and i'm sure none of you do either!!!

    As for the bus driver, he should not have lost his job over what he posted on facebook period. IF you were allowed to fire someone for that imagine how many of the people responding here would be out of a job as well.

    June 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  54. Ruth

    I am tired of parents thinking of themselves before their children are taken care of,i would go without before my child did not get something to eat .The parents of today are selfish and too materialistic,i am sure they own a 55 inch tv,a car,a latest cell phone and what ,they forgot to feed the kids,it is shameful ..They sell their snap or ebt card to buy cigarettes ,drugs,crap snacks and then they end up at the local mission for food,mismanagement of money.....some people should never even have children,some do it so they get money from the government and we as citizens are paying for it

    June 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • George

      You're sure they have a 55" tv, how would you know that? Some people have been let go from their jobs because the execs wont settle for less then they received the year before no matter who suffers. I know, everyone who receives gov help is just lazy and could get a 100k job if they just worked a little harder LOL. You people anger me beyond belief. If someone needs money for food then I will pay more taxes, I really don't mind. I have more then I need to survie so why not help out someone who doesnt. I hope I see some of the posters here on the street down on their luck some day so I can spit on them.

      June 5, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Katie

      I'm tired of people who are so narrow minded they think everything is a black and white situation.

      June 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • Jennifer M

        I'm with you on that one! I know several hard working families that work more than 2 jobs and still qualify for SNAP, and free lunches. On top of that – I know several families that were 'well off' and have lost jobs and have NO CLUE what programs are out there to help or how to apply for them – or maybe have some pride and don't want to ask for the help and hope they can squeak by.

        I also know mistakes can happen – my kids have overdrawn their accounts – notes don't always make it home to mom or dad – just because the account was overdrawn doesn't mean someone was a bad parent.

        June 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • N

      Agreed. I know several families who get free meals for the kids at school but all of their children have cell phones and get money to go out to eat with their friends and such. If someone can't afford to feed their child breakfast and lunch...wouldn't they qualify for food stamps? For some reason, I bet the majority (not saying all) of kids would end up getting fed by their parents if schools didn't make it so easy to qualify for free food. These same parents are out getting their nails done but can't afford to feed their kids??

      I don't understand why accounts don't have enough money? Do parents not calculate the amount of days in the school period and multiply the cost of lunch by the number of days? Or is the kid overspending on his account by buying ice cream and junk and not telling his parents?

      June 10, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  55. Jessica

    I could understand the outrage if this happened to be a first grader, but the kid is in middle school. He needs to learn to be responsible and bring his lunch money to school! Going without lunch for one day won't kill him, but it might be unpleasant enou that he won't forget again.

    (I'm guessing that his family is not especially poor or he would already be getting free lunch. If his family can't or won't provide money for lunch, he should talk to a school administrator about the situation.)

    June 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Penny

      It is easy for you to judge this child when we have adults that do not have money to buy food. The fact this is a middle school student have no bearing on this issue. No human being should go without food, especially they make the kids throw away the food and may or may not give them something else. My daughter teach elementary school in N.C. and this is standard practice if the student owe any money on their account. I applaud this gentlemen for standing up!

      June 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • Jessica

        Notice I said that he should go to the school administrator if his parents can't or won't provide food - there is help available to kids who genuinely need it. My point is that his lack of lunch money could actually be the result of his own irresponsibility rather than poverty.

        June 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Katie

      He could be ten years old. How is withholding food going to make him responsible? This is like the schools that still suspend a kid for being truant. Great lesson! Change the policies. You want accountability? Change the policy. Take away something else that matters to both parent and child but doesn't interfere with basic needs.

      June 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  56. Goddog

    At my children's school(s), if there is not enough money in the account, the child must get back in line or stand in a new line and they will get a "bagged lunch". Most kids don't bother standing in line again.

    June 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  57. Freddie

    Aren't our tax dollars used to buy the food for the schools in the first place? Why is it that a presumably educated adult would let any child go without lunch if he or she has a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch card, but yet we feed murderers in jail 3 times a day. This world makes me sick!!!!!!!

    June 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • different point of view

      to make matters worse, imagine how much food the same school threw away that day including the food they took back from this child....shameful!!!!

      June 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Aloisae

      The National School Lunch Program provides free lunches and low cost lunches (the limit for which the low cost lunches are sold is no more than 40 cents per day) to children from low income families, with which program the family qualifies for based on income. All of the lunches at these schools are subsidized by the program to some extent, with the lunch program being required to operate on a nonprofit basis, however the amount given to the schools to support these lunches for kids whose families can afford to pay is only 27 cents per meal so the schools need to charge something for lunches to these kids from families with adequate income to feed their kids or else the schools would be losing a substantial amount of money per year (which would have to come out of the money used to buy school supplies, building maintenance, teacher salaries, etc.). At some schools in extremely disadvantaged areas with a sufficient percentage of children on the free lunch program, all students are eligible for free lunches. The cost of this in federal tax dollars was $11.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 with over 31 million children served.

      June 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  58. Thinkergal

    Feed the kids. I taught school for thirty years! Who cares about the financial status of the parents? If it weren't for breakfast and lunch at school, many students would not eat all day. I will pay taxes for that, and my children are long out of school.

    June 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
  59. LisaA

    If the parents ignored the bill, then the student shouldn't get a school lunch. There is no reason a child can't bring his or her own lunch from home! I was working in an elementary school cafeteria when a little boy had no lunch. They gave him a milk, and wouldn't let me buy him lunch. They said that his mother refused to do the paperwork for the free or reduced lunch. When a child forgot their lunch or didn't have money, they gave them a milk. It is up to the parents to make sure their children have a lunch or lunch money. It isn't up to the schools. Give them money, pay into the account, do the paperwork for free lunches, or pack one! I never had school cafeterias until high school. I took my lunch.

    June 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Freddie

      Aren't our tax dollars used to buy the food for the schools in the first place? Why is it that a presumably educated adult would let any child go without lunch if he or she has a negative balance on their pre-paid lunch card, but yet we feed murderers in jail 3 times a day. This world makes me sick!!!!!!!

      June 5, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • raypatt3

      Are you suggesting that we punish the child for the sins of the parent?

      June 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • MarkB

      Lisa, further punishing a child for the neglect of the parent is pure and utter nonsense. Period. Is it the responsibility of the parent to ensure that their child has a packed lunch, lunch money or lunch voucher? You bet, but there is a lot of information about this story that has been withheld, so to pass summary judgment about any situation for which you do not know all the facts isn't very smart.

      June 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  60. Sabrina

    Our children are being denied food, yet our tax dollars can feed 2.2 million incarcerated Americans 2-3 times a day.

    June 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Mary Jane Rutkowski

      It is not fair to compare incarcerated people and children at school. Inmates are in the care of the state and must be treated humanely no matter how much we dislike the crimes they committed. Children deserve respect as well and should not be humiliated over the cost of a lunch

      June 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  61. Republican do not care

    Is anyone really surprised about this happening? Republican run Georgia like a company and of course you cannot feed the kid because it will set him down the path of being a government parasite. Imagine firing a guy because he had the b*lls to announce to the world about this school being so hardhearted. The guy was fired for speaking the truth and nothing any Republican will say will change it.

    June 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  62. TC

    My son was told on the very first day of Middle school that his account was overdrawn 50 cents from what turnd out to be two years previous, and was pulled from the lunch line and told he would get nothing. The school ssaid that this is the policy for middle school. Elementary kids would have received a sandwich.

    No warnings. No notes.

    We had no way to know there was a problem ahead of time.

    June 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  63. PENELOPE MIRANDA

    IS THIS AMERICA??? CHILDREN SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO EAT. PUNISHING CHILDREN FOR NOT HAVING MONEY IS SENDING THE WRONG MESSENGE. EVERYONE IS STRUGGLEING THESE DAYS.

    June 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Mary Ann

      I have a solutinn. STOP BREEDING!

      June 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Michael M

        Too bad your parents didn't share your mindset. The world would be a better place.

        June 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • Katie

        So simple, your world. I take it you back abortions then?

        June 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Anon

      He was givin the option of a free bagged lunch. Nobody was denying him anything. He didnt have the money in his account, so they offered a free one. He said no.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  64. Jennifer M

    More than once my kids lunch accounts have been over drawn. I have 5 kids. The school sends a note home when the child's account gets 'overdrawn' However, as anyone with kids knows, sometimes those notes don't make it all the way to mom or dad. I have children and step children in different schools (and even different school districts) and don't always know the accounts are low. Sometimes mistakes happen. I am a responsible parent, and once I know/kenw the accounts were overdrawn I always put the amount necessary in as well as a deposit for future lunches. To deny a child lunch over something less than $1 is ridiculous. I can understand if they were several lunches overdrawn and several notes went home, but .40 is just absurd. Too many kids go hungry. They can't be expected to learn when they are thinking about a rumbling belly.

    June 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Mary Ann

      I have a solutinn. STOP BREEDING!

      June 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • Michael M

        Too bad your parents didn't share your mindset. The world would be a better place.

        June 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • cosmicsnoop

        Hey look, another a hole who can't spell, but yet seems smart enough to offer an opinion.

        June 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • Jennifer M

        Wow Mary Ann – pretty harsh. I didn't say I couldn't afford my kids, I didn't ask you to take responsibility for them. I said mistakes happen and children shouldn't have to pay for those errors. I hope you NEVER make a mistake in your life, forget an appointment, forget to pay a bill on time or overdraw your account. I hope you never get distracted by life and can go along living in your little glass house, because ONE DAY it will happen and I hope that people have more compassion for you than you do for others.

        June 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Patty

        I have only one word for you.. WOW! I am totally amused by under-educated and ignorant people like you!

        June 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  65. Ashley

    This happens to me at school all the time and it makes me so angry. They usually let me go into debt if it is not a significant amount, but they have taken away my food before. It's embarrassing. They take away the food and tell you to ask a friend for some money. You are publicly humiliated and then of course you're still hungry. This actually happened today. I got my lunch and went to pay but I was short 20 cents for a second slice of pizza, so they took one away. It's ridiculous that they are doing this. I complained to the lunch lady but she said a high school student should be responsible enough to keep track of their lunch money. I think if she really believes that, she would trust a student to be able to handle a little debt.

    June 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • dom625

      If you go into a restaurant and lack the funds to purchase your food, it will be taken away. If you could not afford the second slice, you should not have received it. Simple as that.

      June 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Mary Jane Rutkowski

      Ashley - It seems as though you were the victim of a very cruel act. Please don't let this make you hard and bitter. When you complete your education and move on to a better life look back on this and find it in your heart to forgive. You will be the better person.

      June 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Goldielover

      When my daughter was in high school, I told her she has a certain amount of lunch money for the week, and she had to budget herself accordingly. She soon learned not to blow her money on extras like candy or pop so she had enough left for the later part of the week. I gave her enough for a healthy meal, but no extras. She's in college now, and very good with her money. I wouldn't mind betting some of the kids in this story are spending more on extras than their parents realize.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Cee Mills

      Ashley,

      The lady was right - if you're in high school, then you should be able to be responsible with your money. It won't be much longer until you reach a point in your life where the consequences for not having enough money for something will be a lot worse than having your second slice of pizza taken away. I really hope you think about what happened today and learn something from it.

      June 5, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Leslie Anne

      Awww, whiny lil' girl didn't get to stuff her face with two pieces of pizza. Oh, the humanity!

      June 6, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  66. Dell

    No Child should be denied food! The best way is for the food to be provided from the school taxes. Like heat and running water – if your in school, you get it.

    June 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • A True Concervative

      Are you willing to have your taxes raised? Our district already pays in excess of $90k a year to cover losses in food services. That's over and above what is paid for. Some students end the year with hundreds of dollars of debt for lunches (and no, that is not an exageration). So, what do we do?

      June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Freddie

        you are a D I C K

        June 5, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Mary Jane Rutkowski

        You mis-spelled conservative.

        June 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  67. JLG

    I'm sorry for the kids that feel like they are singled out and embarrased cause they don't get the lunch that the other kids get, however, it should be the parents responsibility to get the kids lunch paid for and if you can't send then with a packed lunch which is probably more nutritious then the school lunch which is nothing but fat a sodium.

    June 5, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • marty L King

      Completely disagree.
      The child is not leaving school, is not working and should not have to be caught up in the middle of a financial debate between the school and his parents. Furthermore, take into account the amount of money.

      The child isn't going to be leaving school, or ditching the bill, people.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      So basically you're still OK with kids going hungry and being singled out, just as long as they deserve it. They deserve it if their parents forgot something or couldn't pay it. To you, that's a dandy reason to punish a child. You can try to reason it out however you want, but that's what it comes down to. Disgusting.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
      • Mary Jane Rutkowski

        Agree. I thought we were moving beyond the "worthy poor" in this country. Shameful.

        June 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • CAH

      I love idiots who just make statements based on feelings. What are you oputting in that bag that's so healthy? Most school cafeterias have strict guidelines they have to meet for the meals they serve.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Nic

      Seriously? Sometimes things get overlooked and every once in a while, one of the million things parents are responsible for each day just don't get done. Is making sure my child has funds in his lunch account a priority? Absolutely! But so is going to work, keeping a roof over our heads, cooking meals, making sure he has clean clothes to wear, etc., etc., etc. If it was a constant issue of a cafeteria account being overdrawn and there being a problem with collecting the amount due, MAYBE I could see denying a child a meal as long as an a effort was made to notify the parents. But not giving a kid a lunch over 40 cents is ridiculous.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
  68. Me08

    What happened to parents sending kids to school with their lunch? Or at middle school age, the kid making their OWN lunch? Why do they have to have lunch money? BRING SOMETHING TO SCHOOL. And if you can't afford to bring something to school, you probably qualify for the free lunch program so you don't have to worry about your account being overdrawn. I don't understand what happened to parents being responsible for their own children. It's not up to the school to make sure the kids are fed, it's up to their parents. If their parents don't feed them CPS should be called. If the parents don't have money, they should sign up their kid for the free lunch. If you can't afford to feed your kid, don't have one. If something bad happens to you after you have the kid and you need assistance, you should then get it. That'd solve alot of problems.

    June 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Mary Jane Rutkowski

      It must be great to be able to sit in judgement. Children should not be the victims of harsh people who make easy cruel statements.

      June 5, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Goldielover

      Many kids still have to. Until grade nine, my daughter went to smaller schools that did not have any cafeteria facilities at all. (Where I live in Canada there are no free lunch programs for low income kids, and all they provided was a space to eat, and supervisors to make sure they didn't get out of hand.) She took a packed lunch every day, as did the other kids, except for those who lived close enough to go home for lunch. She bought her lunch when she was in grade nine, but after that decided that she didn't want to waste her lunch hour waiting in long lines, so went back to taking her own lunch. More time to hang out with her friends that way.

      June 5, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  69. parent

    I am a parent and I am familiar with the school lunch program. I have friends that work in cafeterias. In our area everyone gets a free breakfast. Even adults can walk in off the street and eat (they just don't advertise that). For lunch time there are different rules. Elementary students have to get something even if its a sandwich and fresh fruit and veggies. They eat. Middle SChool and high schoolers are supposed to be old enough to be able to remember to remind their parents that they need money or bring something from home. At one school if the child doesn't have the money they borrow it from the office and pay them the next day. At a few of the schools dinner is also offered to certain students. Here is the deal though, the people I know that work in the kitchens are always talking about how many children take options that they can save for later. For their supper. There are many, way to many children in America that after they eat lunch on Friday won't get another meal until Breakfast on Monday.

    June 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  70. JACK

    THE BUS DRIVER NEEDS TO CALL 1-800-ISUEYOU OVER GETTING FIRED FOR EXERCISING HIS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS

    June 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  71. Holley

    Both elementary schools my daughter has attended (public and private) have the autopay option through PayPams for lunch money. Once her account get under $5, it refills to $30 from my bank account, I can set a date to stop the autofill when the end of the school year is near. This way she has never been overdrawn and always has lunch money.
    MetroTransit has the same program for my bus pass.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Pat

      This article does not indicate the parents' financial situation...

      June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • Carl

        Pat – not really material. There are assistance programs to address financials problems parents might have. It is a parents responsibility to care for their children and seek out that assistance when they need help. It should not be the school district's responsibility to do the parents' jobs. I give my teenager an option: make lunch at home (I stock the fixings at my cost) or use his own allowance money to buy lunch. It's part of teaching my son how to begin to think ahead, how to plan, how to take care of himself.

        June 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  72. Yakobi

    I think the lesson here is don't believe everything a middle school student tells you.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • marty L King

      No, the lesson here is that the policies need to change with the School System. A hard line and punishing the child for something that is out of the student's hand is not the answer. The school is using bullying techniques because they are afraid to deal one-on-one with the parents of the student. Remember that the student is under 18 years of age, so financial matters are handled between the adults. Humiliating a student, just because the school has the power to do so, is further cause for change to the system The worst case of bullying goes on with Teachers and School Administrators.

      June 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • Carl

        Marty – yes, the lesson is that the middle school student may not have been forthright. If he could have gotten lunch (a sandwich) regardless, but told the bus driver he had not been allowed to eat, then that was not honest. It is the parents responsibility to ensure their children are taken care of, not the school district's. If the student doesn't go home and tell mom & dad they have no money in their account to buy lunch (as mine have done on occasion) then I as their parent don't get angry with the school district, I get angry with my son. Why? Because he is intelligent and competent enough to tell me the situation. Who knows? Maybe this parent does what I do – I have lunch items at my house and put the burden on my son to either make his lunch to take with him, or to use his own money to buy lunch. It is part of teaching my son that he shares responsibility for his own well-being.

        June 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  73. Llmj

    Georgia. Of course. Sounds like the bus driver should be in charge of the school and that so-called educator should be thrown out on his posterior.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Kate

      Georgia, of course? Seriously? The article names TWO other states where similarly appalling practices have occurred and I'm sure there are many more that we are simply unaware of.

      Every state has good and bad characteristics and this particular article is focused primarily on one bad incident in one state. There's no need to be snarky.

      I applaud Mr. Cook for standing up for this child.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • Sandy Hart

        Why are you not holding parents responsible. And there are two sides to this story. Just because he didn't like what was offered to him, the kid is the hero of the story–I think not.

        June 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
      • JACK

        I AGREE WITH YOU 100%, I HAVE ALSO SEEN STORIES WHERE A SCHOOL IN HOLK COUNTY NC, MADE A CHILD GET A SCHOOL LUNCH BECAUSE THE SCHOOL NURSE DID NOT LIKE WHAT SHE BROUGHT FOR LUNCH, I BELIEVE IT WAS A TURKEY SANDWICH, BAG OF CHIPS AND MAYBE A COOKIE. NURSE SAID THAT IT DID NOT MEET FEDERAL GUIDELINES. OF COURSE THE PARENTS GOT BILLED FOR THE LUNCH.
        SANDY: I READ THE STORY AND NO WHERE DID IT SAY THAT THE CHILD WAS OFFERED ANYTHING SO HOW COULD HE REFUSE, THE PROPER THING TO DO HERE WAS TO FEED THE CHILD THEN SEND A NOTICE HOME WITH HIM TELLING THE PARENTS THAT THEY NEED TO PUT MORE MONEY IN HIS LUNCH FUND OR SEND A LUNCH WITH THIM.

        NO COMMON SENSE HERE AND THESE ARE THE PEOPLEL YOU ENTRUST YOUR CHILDREN TO

        June 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
      • Jane

        2nd paragraph- "It didn't happen that way. The child would have been offered a bag lunch but he did not go through the line to get one.

        June 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
      • Carl

        Kate & Jack – it's not about a state. It's about a state of mind. You have decided the burden is on the school district to feed the students whether the parents are attending to what is their responsibility or not. Again, this student was not honest – he could have gotten a bag lunch. We have no idea from this story whether or not the kid used his lunch money for something else, the parents have him pack a lunch but he just decided he didn't want to, or the parents are in dire straits and can't afford it. For the latter, there are assistance programs – again, a parent's responsibility to worry about and arrange. That said, I don't really think the bud driver should have been fired.

        June 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  74. Ace

    The kid should have done it the old fashioned way, beat up somebody for their lunch money.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  75. Bill

    With so many going hungry, throwing food in the trash, is just plain ignorant! A growing childs brain & eyes need nutrition & lots of it! Even as an adult, a machinist by trade, if I don't have lunch, I have a hard time doing my job.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Sandy Hart

      Why are the parents not responsible?

      June 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • JACK

        MAYBE THE PARENTS DID NOT KNOW HIS LUNCH ACCOUNT WAS OVER DRAWN, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THE SCHOOL SENT A NOTICE HOME TO THE PARENTS TELLING THEM THAT IT WAS OVERDRAWN

        June 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Carl

        Jack – do you at all think the kid should be on the hook to tell his parents when his balance is getting low? He's not an elementary school student. He's old enold ugh to tell mom & dad "hey, I only have 50 cents in my lunch account." For all we know, he spent money his parents gave him on candy down at Walmart and didn't put it on his lunch account. Really, we don't know. I just am amazed you have leapt to the conclusion the school district – which would have given him a bag lunch for nothing – is at fault here.

        June 5, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  76. Irving

    They should stop charging kids for food. My elementary and middle schools provided free lunch. It wasnt only until I got to highschool that we had to pay for our food. Even then if you didnt have money there was no bagged lunch alternative.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Sandy Hart

      And how pays?? Who is responsible??

      June 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Mychelle

      You'd think in a nation where we have an unlimited budget for "defense" and practically give away arms to other countries, have $600 toilets and other amenities in the military, fancy IRS conferences, pay millions for political party conventions, where school administrators have fancy offices, etc etc etc. we could care enough about our children's education (something very integral to national defense IMHO) that we could cover this AND manage to provide very, very healthy food to them and not government surplus leftovers and crap!! I have no kids, yet I'm with the valiant bus driver. If a kid needs .40 to have a decent meal during the learning day, call me. I'll provide it. I'll bet I'm not alone too.
      This is a national disgrace. Our child hunger statistics are already astounding for some place that regularly chants, "We're #1."

      June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  77. Hungry?

    I would like to see every student served lunch regardless of ability to pay. The lunch program is run using my tax dollars so I shouldn't have to qualify for "free lunch", I've already paid. Actually they are asking me to pay twice. Isn't this double dipping?

    June 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • sanityrules

      You haven't already paid. If government expands free lunches for all it costs more than it already does. Someone , lie you, has to ay more in taxes to pay for that. Just pack them a PB and J and send them on their way.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • Guest9991110101

        Do you realize that peanut butter isn't allowed in most schools anymore?

        June 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Bill Smith

      Free lunch for all children. Free Meals On Wheels for the elderly and disabled. Only one that can't afford lunch is me.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • JACK

      MOST LUNCH PROGRAMS ARE PAID FOR BY THE FUNDS CHARGED FOR THE LUNCH PLUS SOME FEDERAL MONEY, I WOULD THINK THAT MOST IF NOT ALL SCHOOLS HAVE A FREE LUNCH PROGRAM FOR THE LOW INCOME STUDENTS AND IN MY DISTRICT THERE IS ALSO A FREE BREAKFAST PROGRAM FOR THOSE KIDS

      June 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  78. Terry

    The parent IS notified when the kid's account is getting low. It sounds like this kid could have gotten the free lunch but didn't want to go thru the line to get it – he probably didn't want a PBJ sandwich so he just went without. It was his decision.

    June 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Bill Smith

      A-men to that.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
  79. Emmi

    All this is over 40 cents? Feed the kid. Contact the school's PTA, and hold a fund raiser.
    If America can send money to .other areas in the world, why not take care of our own.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Yakobi

      No fundraiser needed. We already do take care of our own. It's called the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or free/reduced priced meals. As a taxpayer, you've already paid for this student's meal (if his parents qualify).

      The superintendent said he reviewed the video of the lunch room and this student never went through the school lunch line and was not denied a meal. Something else is going on here. It might be the student was trying to con the bus driver into giving him money. It's too bad the bus driver got fired for refusing to take down the Facebook post, but that's the consequences.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Bill Smith

        A-men.–People read the whole story.

        June 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
      • Anon

        Great post. Man its like people dont read the story, see what all the comments are about and just make a blind post about something totalaly off topic.

        June 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  80. CJG

    Well, I can tell you how my school (not public) would have dealt with it.

    Kid would have gotten a sandwich or something for a day. Parents called and situation explained. After that, no more free lunches. Kid either bought them, or got more money.

    If the parents didn't care, or there were other problems in line with neglect or abuse, CPS would be called of course.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • sanityrules

      Sounds like a reasonable plan to me!

      June 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • marty L King

      Terrible plan. It is amazing how adults behave and treat children like they are a piece of doggie doo doo. This is a child we are talking about here. You feed the children, no matter what, you tightwads. You're paying to feed all of these people on welfare, and you have the audacity to allow them to pop out more babies, all because of your religious bunk. This is America and we look out for one another. The child is attending Public School. This means they are not going to eat and run. They have classes, report cards, responsibilities. You don't punish a child because of the parents, you fool.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
      • Carl

        Marty – give me a break. It is not the school's job to be the parent. No one is being a tightwad. This kid could have eaten for God's sake. Go back and re-read the story. He chose not to. No one denied the kid lunch. Maybe he couldn't get the lunch he would have preferred because he didn't have the money in the account, but he could have taken the free lunch if he had wanted. Bottom line – the kid is AT FAULT here for not eating. Next – his parents. The school isn't at fault – they had a bag lunch for him for the asking – FOR FREE.

        June 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • Mary Jane Rutkowski

        Agree Marty. Feed the children. If we believe they are our future, how dare we waste this precious resource for the want of a little money?

        June 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  81. Cyn

    Maybe it's cause I'm in Canada, but we have/had NO lunch program... There was NO food provided for us at school. You either brought lunch or went home for lunch. It wasn't the responsibility of the school system to feed our bodies, just our brains.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • dom625

      It used to be that way in America as well. School lunches are a relatively new phenomenon here. We should go back to the days of either bringing lunch or going home for lunch. Schools are responsible for too many things nowadays as it is.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • sanityrules

      Yes, but American parents believe it is the governments responsibility to pay, care, and raise their children. That's why we started school lunches. After all we pay taxes. First we only gave free lunch to the neediest and that was OK and that worked good. But then, the psychologists decided that getting free lunch made the neediest kids feel bad, so they gave free lunch to more kids so the needy kids weren't the only ones getting free lunch. Then the kids with allergies started to feel bad. So, we gave the kids with allergies free hypoallergenic lunch and banned peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches which our kids had been eating for generations. We'll than the vegans felt bad, so we expanded the program to include vegan alternatives for free. But now the kids don't like the vegan options or the non-hypoallergenic options, so were working on ways to make deepfried soy-chicken fingers, pizza, and vegan tacos more nutritious and keep them tasting good.

      Our kids aren't learning anything but they are well fed.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • Disillusioned

        So because lobbyists have gone crazy with getting schools to buy their product you would rather have kids starve to death if they have a bad parent? According to you its not the government's responsibility to protect children, if the parent doesnt want to feed their child then its their decision and the schools shouldnt have to get involved since back in your day a kid that didnt have lunch money didnt eat.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Jane Jones

      I like this. Make the parents responsible and teach the kids responsibility not welfare.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  82. Yakobi

    Two points:
    1) There is no reason a parent in this country cannot afford to pack a PB&J sandwich for their child's lunch. If they can't afford that, then they automatically qualify for free lunch under NSLP.
    2) Why are they allowed to carry a debt on their school lunch account? Try to use a debit card with $0 balance at McDonald's and see if they give you free food.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • ARKD

      Majority of adults do carry a debt. Either through credit cards or home/car loans.

      June 5, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  83. bankrupt american

    If you can't afford kids, you should get tube tide or vasectomy.
    Having kid is not a right.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Been there, done that

      People's situation in life can change suddenly. A great job, nice house and then one day the roof falls in. Then your happy family is a statistic and not able to afford food. It has been happening in greater numbers over the last decade. Not every one who has a family they can't feed started out that way. A little compassion and understanding toward the human condition takes a bit more time and thought but it colors the whole picture better, I think.

      June 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • jack long

        But when does it stop. Teach a man to fish and he will have food for ever. Give him a sandwich and he will be hungry by dinner time.

        June 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • dr what

      if you cant afford 40 cents for lunch how are you going to afford $570,000 worth of surgery?

      June 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Jon

      Bankrupt American,

      Unless you live in China, having a kid IS a right for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Now is it right for someone who can't afford to raise a child to have one? Of course not.

      June 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • jedcoe

      Tube tide? Are you serious? How much could you know about school lunches when you're barely literate now?

      June 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
  84. Been there, done that

    As a child who grew up in an abusive home with a drunk mother who sporadically gave me lunch money, please know that the days these kids don't eat are the worst. My friends in high school would buy my lunch on many days and bless them for it. Please don't automatically hold the opinion that these little kids wasted their lunch money. –And my father worked but there was little money given to me so I didn't qualify for free/reduced lunches.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • sanityrules

      Sorry you had crappy parents but that is a different issue. There are other ways to del with neglectful parents. This is about schools just giving away meals. That should not be the case. Being .40 overdrawn is however a little extreme to close down an account.

      June 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Been there, done that

        No, it IS the issue. We don't know why these children don't have money for food. Maybe the parents need to come in for a chat or child protective services or what have you. But hungry kids in school is NEVER a good thing. In my child's school they are given a PB&J and milk when a forgetful parent hasn't made the payment. That is something in the stomach and that is good enough. It is the parents' duty to take care of their kids but the kids shouldn't have to suffer for them not doing so.

        June 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • Carl

        Been there, done that – and that was the case in this school – this kid could have gotten the bag lunch sandwich but didn't go through the line. The school district was prepared to help, but the kid didn't ask for it. I'm not saying I know for sure this kid mis-spent his lunch money; but I am saying this kid decided not to get the food they had for him. The school district is not at fault for this kid not eating.

        June 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • rush

      conservatives dont see it as feeding the child, they see it as supporting a bad mother, theyd rather have the kid die as punishment to the mother

      June 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • sanityrules

        NO, that is not the case. The case is that this is yet another case where parents are abdicating their responsibility for raising their kid to the government. Government is too eager to step in and make up for it rather than hold parents accountable.

        We have reduced price lunches and free lunches for poor kids. This story is not about poor kids and free lunches. It is about parents running lunch accounts into the negative. These parents need to get with the program and government needs to hold their feet to the fire. If they run into the negative, do what the banks do and charge them a $25.00 overdraft fee.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • rush

        Like I said, its not about feeding the child, its about punishing the mother. If the mother refuses because shes too busy spending the money on drugs or just doesnt care about their kid then oh well, let the kid die, that will teach her.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Carl

        rush – I have to throw the BS flag on this. You seem to be saying that parents shouldn't be the ones responsible when of course our laws and traditions clearly point in that direction. Turning over to the state responsibility for caring for our children is a heartless mistake in the name of "compassion." There are programs to feed the child. The child chose not to take the food they had for him for free. The child is old enough to ask parents to put more money in his account; or to ask for help. I don't want the state responsible for parental functions until the parent is deemed unfit.

        June 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bill

      Read the whole story. The kid was offered a bag lunch. Just because he didn't want it was his decision. Part of an education is learning to make choices.He chose just like the bus driver did-wrong choice?

      June 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • marty L King

        It's been 60 years since you were in public schools, right Bill? The kid would rather not have the stigma of being the one without money and being laughed at by his peers. Bill, you really don't have a College Degree, do you? Try a Child Psychology course, as it may help you understand things from another perspective.

        June 5, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Carl

        marty – a ridiculous response. I have a teenager who forgot for days to tell me his account was on zero. I put that burden on my son for not letting me know. The kid made a choice. He could have eaten. He could have told his parents he needed money. And in the end, if the situation at home is that bad, he could have gone to get help from someone. But to suggest that the school just keep floating this kid funds to protect his ego and reputation – come on. That is NOT what this dialogue has been about.

        June 5, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • Patty

        There is a huge difference in a teen and a smaller child.. If you chose to let your child go hungry, that's your business. This was a young child that wasn't even offered a bagged lunch.. If you read properly you would see that Stanton said "He would have been".. The school has stated that the child didn't go through the line.. If he didn't go through the line how could he have been offered a bagged lunch!

        June 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  85. Curtis Henderson

    Dont care...these are CHILDREN...NO child should be denied food...if its that bad, the school or the service provider can send the account out for collection or court action...there are other legal remedies to get payment, or write off the loss at the end of the year...but to deny a CHILD food is disgusting...who are these idiots and losers that would do this...

    June 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • sanityrules

      40% are obese. A few NEED to be denied food.

      June 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • Alicia

        That is a disgusting comment. All children should have the right to a nutritious meal for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Unfortunately some parents do not provide them with that, for many reasons. No matter the childs weight, they still need to be properly fed to help them function in school and to learn. Proper nutrition is a building block towards success in school and helping to ensure that children can reach their full potential. Lets hope that there is a day when a child is NEVER denied a meal in school so they can learn and be successful enough that they can feed the children of their own that they eventually have. It's a shame we even have to have school meal programs, because it's true that PARENTS should be the ones providing it, but it's an unfortnate fact that they need to exist and it's not the childs fault for the account balance so they should not be the ones punished.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Carl

      Curtis – re-read the story. he wasn't denied food. Per the school district they have bag lunches for kids who are short on money. This kid chose not to get one. Again, no one DENIED this kid food, per the story. The bus driver simply bought into this middle schooler's (not fully honest) story. And as the parent of two sons, I can assure you it is not unusual for a teenager to fail to tell the WHOLE truth on occasion.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • Patty

        By all means, please re-read the story. It states that Stanton said "He would have been offered".. They also claim the child didn't go through the lunch line. If he didn't go through the line how could he be offered a bag lunch. Doesn't anyone comphrend what they read now days?!

        June 8, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  86. Jeremy

    Are our children really going to be negatively effected by missing one meal? I know that sometimes a great teaching moment for people comes when they have to go without something. There are so many, "what about this" examples that we could spend weeks talking about the child neglected or always hungry. So, generally speaking, the solution is to observe the individual children. If they are always overdrawn, that is something to address. If they appear to not be getting adequate nourishment at home, that is something else to address. But, again generally speaking, most children in America can miss a meal and not have their lives traumatically affected. That said, if kids are being made to throw away food they have already selected, that is just stupid wastefulness.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Been there, done that

      You apparently have never had to work on an empty stomach with no choice in the matter. I applaud your gilded life and envy you. Personally, I would feed any child or helpless person if they were hungry and I could do so. Kids eat and grow and learn and love. Healthy support is what they need, not snap judgements from people who do not have empathy or compassion.

      June 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Carl

        Been there,
        You kind of jumped to conclusions here again. The poster is right – maybe this kid needed a bit of an eye opening to REMEMBER TO TELL HIS PARENTS his account was low. Or to go through the line to get the bag lunch they have for kids who are short the money. Having had to skip a meal on more than one occasion – not out of poverty but because of the press of business / work – it does suck. However, it is temporary. Again, re-read. This kid could have gotten the free bag lunch but didn't take it. Why blame the school?

        June 5, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  87. Guest

    As a child of a parent that has worked in lunch programs her entire career and now heads up the dietary programs for a number of schools, I can say that I agree with schools not paying for lunches for children. 40 cents overdrawn is too extreme - the child should have been given lunch - and should have at least gone through the line to get an alternative lunch. But I do not believe that it is the government's or anyone else's responsibility to ensure that parents are responsible enough to make sure that their kids have adequate money in their lunch accounts. There is Free and Reduced lunch program assistance to anyone who needs it - maybe parents should take the initative and sign up instead of expecting free meals and utilize online payment methods, check book bags for notes from shool that communicates overdrawn accounts or send regular checks. If your student's account is overdrawn too fast, look into what and how much they are taking at a time. Seconds and ala carte cost extra. It's easy to point the finger of blame, but there are rules in regards to these issues that schools have laid out.....it's not hard to take the responsibility and keep your kids' accounts up to date.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • sanityrules

      Good comment. I agree wholeheartedly. People need to manage their affairs and our government keeps moving towards doing for people what they should be doing for themselves. It's just a shame children get impacted.

      June 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  88. humtake

    Doesn't really matter what anyone thinks. America is on a downward spiral of giving everyone everything. The kids don't learn to excel because if they don't, someone always comes behind them and gives them whatever it is they didn't get in the first place.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  89. Casey

    food is a basic right and should be provided to every child, regardless of ability to pay. If the child has no money for school lunch, they're probably going hungry at other times as well. The schools have a unique opportunity to help rectify this problem, and instead they're perpetuating it over literally spare change. Shameful.

    June 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Guest

      So, if kids on the streets are hungry, should they be allowed to walk into whatever restaurant is closest and receive a free meal without being charged? It's not a right......

      June 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Kristina

        I think if a child does not have enough funds to pay for lunch, they should still be given something to eat. Can we really expect a child in kindergarden to remember to tell mom that they need more lunch money. I along with every other working person pay taxes and those taxes go to schools, so i think there is a little affordibility to give a child lunch if they are .40 cents in debt or even 10 dollars. I think it is the schools responsibilty up to a certain point (childs age) to notify the parents of the lack of funds. Are we really going to complian about feeding a kid at school when there are much more bigger issues regarding public assistance? (ie, food stamps, welfare, medical card, daycare assistance) I dont care whose child it is no kid should be at school all day and not have lunch.

        June 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • marty L King

        Not even close to being the same thing. This is a student. The lunches are part of the taxes paid by the people of the city, county and State. The student is attending classes and is not looking to hop from one school to the next, mooching lunches. Sheez people, get you head out of your fanny and think. What a bunch of selfish jerks for adults. The financial situation is left between the parents and the school district. In the meantime, you feed the student, regardless.

        June 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • Anon

        did you not read the story? He was givin the option to get a free bagged lunch. He didnt want it. It is his own fault. L2Read.

        June 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • Casey

        food, water, shelter and clothing are all basic human rights, afforded even to prisoners of war by those countries that honor the Geneva Convention. And while restaurants are not the responsible parties, we do have food banks, soup kitchens, food stamp programs, etc, that would seem to acknowledge this basic right.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • Patty

        Anon, how could they have offered him a sack lunch when they claim he DIDN'T go through the line? Seems like the school is just covering their tracks because they know they were wrong. Plus why would the lunch lady say she has paid for students to eat.. Think about it..

        June 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • sanityrules

      Basic right? What planet are you from? Why is everything a basic right. My parents had to work for their money. Times would occasionally get tough and we had to bring a sandwich or whatever we had for lunch. If I couldn't buy lunch I didn't eat. We didn't have accounts. You just brought your money. If you didn't have money , you didn't eat. You know what, I survived.

      Why do people think everyone owes somebody something? My parents worked, I work. I don't expect others to provide for me or my kids.

      There is about 25% of the kids in my kid's school that qualify for free lunches and breakfast too. Half of them have I phones. A decent number are overweight. They could afford to miss a meal or two.

      This is liberalism run amok. Hunger is a good motivator.

      June 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
      • Been there, done that

        Then I sincerely hope that one day you have an extended run of hunger to motivate you to have some compassion for helpless people. Your judgements are being misguided and landing on hungry kids who have to work in school to learn. Parents should be punished, not kids. Kids are not liberals or shirking their 9-5 jobs or using the system. They are forced to go to school and then no food? Come on, really?

        June 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Carl

        Benn there – this guy has a good point – the number of kids with smartphones with data plans that are on assisted lunch programs SHOULD be a concern, no? Is it possible that there is at least some aspect of how people choose to spend the money they have, not that they don't have it?

        June 5, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Casey

        I wasn't refering to a legal obligation, but a humanitarian one. And yes, I believe that all people have the right to basic sustenance. I do agree that we're on different planets, however – and I'm sure if you ever get into trouble, you'll be running to mine.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Bill

      Casey- read the story! he CHOOSE not to get the bag lunch. Why make him as a poor abused child. He had choices, he chose not to eat what was offered him. Dumb choice.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Casey

        I did read the story, and that's not what it said. The child said he was denied lunch, the principal said he "would have been offered a bag lunch". Either way, this is over 40 cents. ridiculous.

        June 6, 2013 at 8:58 am |
      • Patty

        The school "claims" he didn't go through the lunch line, so how could he have been offered a bag lunch? Stanton also said he "would have" been offered one.. Reading comprehension is a good thing to learn.

        June 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Carl

      Casey – I disagree with you that food is a basic right, at least in your implication that 'someone' should hand it out. With every right comes a responsibility. You have assumed that someone, somewhere failed. I pin the failure on this student for not taking the free bag lunch that was offered, then failing to tell the bus driver the whole truth.

      June 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
      • Patty

        Did you not read the story? Stanton said "he would have" been offered a bag lunch. Sad thing is they "now" claim that the child didn't go through the line..How was he offered a bag lunch if he didn't go through the line? Think about it and learn to read better.

        June 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  90. Reckless

    What if the kid is hypoglycemic? Does he get food for medical reasons whereas the other kids just go hungry? I just can't believe that adults would let this happen. Let alone think they can fire a man for posting on Facebook about it.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Bill

      You are thinking Recklessly! NO ONE denied him food. He chose not to take the bag lunch offered him. The buss driver chose not to listen to the whole story. (as are you).

      June 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  91. Hiram

    When I was in school, if you didn't have any lunch money that meant you didn't get to eat. Usually the reason kids didn't have lunch money was simply because they had spent it on candy or soda before lunch. I believe children should be held somewhat accountable for keeping up with the balance on their meal cards. There is nothing wrong with learning a little financial responsibility at a young age.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Reckless

      Were not talking about kids who spent their lunch money on candy. Were talking about kids who never had the money in the first place. They wouldn't learn anything by denying them food

      June 5, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • Todd

        Those kids are often on a Free or Reduced Price plan. They shouldn't be in debt due to it.
        For most of the time, they are in debt because they had wasted their money, or just forgot to bring it. Either way it is a lesson learned. A kid can miss a lunch every once in a while without major problems. However if the kid is having a habet of missing lunch then we need extra attention to them.

        June 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • Hungry?

        This happened occasionally with my two kids. It only happens to families that don't qualify for reduced or free lunch. So, this isn't about the school system letting kids go hungry that don't have the means to pay for their lunch. It is my responsibility to pay the full price for both of my kids. I send a check at the beginning of each month but my oldest was buying snacks faster than I could replenish her account and would be over drawn by the end of each month. The school wouldn't allow her to go into debt for more than a couple day's lunch $$$. After that she either had to pay up or bring her lunch. I didn't learn until almost the end of the school year about paying on line and restricting her choices. I held her accountable for the choices she was making by making her take her lunch for the period she was without $$. It is a frustrating situation. I have more frustration with her (age 11) for going over budget, not using her allowance to make up the difference, and making bad choices. But we've all had to learn and this was a great opportunity to let her feel the impact of the choices she made. As a mother I wanted to step in and make everything better, write a larger check, or hold the school responsible for letting her go hungry. But the truth is, it was my daughters fault and responsibility. At first I was even a little envious of the families receiving free lunch. "How could they feed other kids with my tax money but deny my child food", I thought. But I came to my senses and I wouldn't want to trade places with those individuals and I'd done my part in paying so the real problem was the way my daughter had decided to spend her money. I realized that she wouldn't die because she didn't eat for eight hours but maybe that brief hunger would make her use her money more wisely. I would like to see every student served lunch regardless of ability to pay. The lunch program is run using my tax dollars so I shouldn't have to qualify for "free lunch", I've already paid. Actually they are asking me to pay twice. Isn't this double dipping?

        June 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Bill

        Food was not denied!!! He chose not to take what was offered.

        June 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • Steve

      That was before there was internet and the ability to online and prepay for lunch. That doesn't apply to now. Now the kids don't get to spend their lunch money if you prepay. I don't agree with how the schools handle this. In some cases, they force the kids to literally throw the food in the trash and get something small. What they should do, is allow the kids to eat, and send a bill home. The children should not suffer. My son is 6 and this happened once, and he did not understand why.

      June 5, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • Chris

        If the student doesn't have money in his lunch account, what makes you think the parents will pay when they receive a bill? Of course, if the parent just forgot (I have), money is sent immediately, usually the next day. If, however, the bill doesn't get paid right away, what makes you think the parent will EVER pay? Their student gets lunch, they don't care.

        June 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  92. Reckless

    Were they spending that money on the pink slime they secretly served our children and passed off as ground beef? Until they feed children adequate food I don't want to hear them complaining about 40cents. Forty cents a day short even if it's a hundred kids shouldn't result in pink slime in our kids lunches.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Yakobi

      Or, if you don't like what the school is serving (which is infinitely better today than what I grew up on), YOU could always pack YOUR child's lunch YOURSELF.

      When did parents cede responsibility for raising their children over to the government?

      June 5, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • sanityrules

        YUP, I agree with you. Kids are the responsibility of their parents.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • rush

        and if the parent is not responsible then let them die right? One less poor kid on the streets.

        June 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Bill

      Responsible parent Mr Reckless, sent a sack lunch if you don't like the slime.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  93. Haushinka Hanner

    The schools should never turn away a hungry child. School lunch is the only meal a day that many children around the nation recieve.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Bill

      They did not send him away hungry, he walked away hungry because he wouldn't take the sack lunch offered him. Read the whole story.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • marty L King

        Bill's philosophy is "eat it and like it." Bill is from the old school of Baby Boomers, where they have the mentality that children are seen and not heard. No Bill, it is embarrassing to a student and they are permitted to eat, regardless. You don't just toss a cheese sandwich their way, attempting to humiliate the student. It is NOT the student's fault when it comes to financial responsibility, and if you think it is, well you have rocks in your head. This comes down to finances between the school and the parents. The parents can work on a payment plan, if needed. Regardless, you do not intentionally embarrass the student by giving the student a cheese sandwich. Remember when you get older...when you want food at the old folks home...you get a cheese sandwich!

        June 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
      • allison

        I absolutely love Marty Kings response! Spot on!!

        June 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • Patty

        What if the child was lactose intolerant? Should he have eaten the cheese and become ill? No, if I don't like something, I don't like something..I'm not going to eat it knowing that I will become ill. I don't believe a word the school is saying. I know for a fact that children do get turned away due to no funds..it's happened to my daughter.

        June 8, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  94. Reckless

    @Josh
    At home they have food (barely) because of assistance. But that doesn't pay for school lunches. I'm not sure how it works anymore but in Milwaukee if the parents didn't meet a certain income lunch was free. If students are required to be in school and not allowed to leave for lunch I don't understand how the school can deny them nutrition.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Haushinka Hanner

      I agree with you @reckless. in kentucky, it's the same way.

      June 5, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Jane

      Read the whole story. He was not denied. He didn't take the sack lunch the offered. His bad. Must not have been that hungry.

      June 5, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
      • therimisrolled

        If the sack lunch offered contained something I couldn't eat, I wouldn't take it either... We have no way of know what was in the sack lunch...

        June 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
      • AKA

        Jane, perhaps you need to read the whole article instead of instructing others too. The boy in question was never offered any sack lunch because he was, apparently, not in the lunch line – this is what the article states according to the Superintendent in question. So, basically, the school wants you to believe it was the boy's fault. So, if another article (which you apparently read) states that he was offered a sack lunch and declined it, then that would mean the school are liars when they said he was never in the lunch line. Hmmm... a lot of dishonest people in that school – and on this forum!

        June 7, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  95. Josh

    Feed the kids, write nasty grams to the parents. If the account gets $50 past due call social services or something as the parent is not providing adequate nutrition to the child.

    June 5, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • harnof48

      Agree.

      June 8, 2013 at 4:13 pm |