On Tuesday, nearly 40 elementary students had their lunches taken from them and thrown away, but not by the typical classmate bully - it was the lunch lady.
This can happen, and has happened, when students do not have enough money on their lunch cards to purchase the meal. The problem is, the students must first go through the lunch line before their lunch card is checked for the balance. The reason the child must go through the line first is because the cafeteria workers must make sure that the chosen foods comply with federal school lunch standards, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Once the food has been checked, the card is scanned and if the balance will not cover it, the food is thrown away.
A cafeteria manager for the school is currently on administrative leave. A school district superintendent says more employees could face this penalty, while local senators are calling for firings over "humiliating" these children in front of their peers.
A former lunch worker from the district had this to say:
The kitchen managers are aghast every time they have to do that. You have children crying. You know they get embarrassed because it happens in front of everybody.
It’s sad for those kids, but at least now the policy is out in the open.
The school maintains that it reached out to the parents of those children who had insufficient balances, but many parents are saying they never received such a notice. The school district took to its Facebook page to issue an apology saying, "This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize."
Ironically, as CNN points out, the district's Facebook page also has an entry about ending child hunger.
The children who had their meals taken away from them were given fruit and milk instead. This entire ordeal has sparked much outrage amongst parents who have expressed their outrage through social media and government officials who are asking for immediate action against those responsible for this "bullying."