Overdue lunch bill humiliates young student on birthday

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The family of an Ohio gradeschooler says he was humiliated by staff who took away his birthday lunch in front of his friends all because of a lunch-debt policy.

“The lunch lady didn’t say anything, took away my cheesy breadsticks and sauce, put them over there, and took out bread, cheese on bread out of the fridge and put it on my lunch tray.”

Jefferson Sharpnack came home Friday, August 30th with a note stating his account was in the negative, something Green Local Schools administrators say is protocol.

“Students receive multiple means of communication whenever their account become in the negative,” explained assistant superintendent Alana Niemiec.

But what happened the following Tuesday, on Jefferson’s ninth birthday, left his grandmother in tears.

She says her grandson was humiliated in front of his classmates.

“You would take the food off of a tray. You can’t reserve it you’re going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn’t make sense to me,” said grandmother Diane Bailey.

She says after her grandson came home with the notice of negative funds in his account.

She spoke with a school administrator to straighten out the issue.

Her grandson’s enrollment in the free and reduced lunch program had not been finalized yet.

The superintendent of Green Local Schools says policy changes are already being considered.

“We are reviewing all of those specifics,” said Niemiec. “We’re considering the idea of raising that debt cap from 15 to make sure that the student experience is positive in the lunch room.”

Krista Seals, the principal at Green Primary Schools, says the lunchroom staff has been addressed following Tuesday’s incident.

“We have spoken with our cafeteria staff already about how to handle things, maybe differently and continuing to work with this family in particular as well.”

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