Cafeteria Worker Resigns After She’s Forced to Take Away Lunch From 1st Grader
News| | By Robin Milling
With school back in session, a nice hot lunch in the cafeteria is something many children look forward to. Not so for two first-graders attending Wylandville Elementary School in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania who were made an example of by a new school policy – denying them their hot lunch because their parents owed the Canon McMillan School District money.
Cafeteria worker Stacy Koltiska would have none of this “lunch shaming” policy, quitting her job of two years on September 15, instantly making her a social media role martyr.
Koltiska shared her experience on Facebook of having to replace their hot meals with cold cheese sandwiches on untoasted bread. She also had to waste food, throwing away the hot lunch after taking it from the child.
The post has already amassed over 5,000 shares (as of press) with rallying comments such as, “I applaud you for making this public and hope more people take action regarding this issue. My sentiments exactly – NO child should be subjected to humiliation like this! It makes my blood boiling!”
Koltiska described the new lunch rule in her post:
“This year Canon Mac implemented a new Rule 808.1. This rule states that any child who has a balance of $25 or more will not receive a lunch if they are in Grades 7 through 12. State law requires that children K through 6 must be given a lunch. In Rule 808.1 it says that children in K through 6 will be provided a “Sandwich” what You (sic) don’t know is that they are being given One Piece of Cheese on Bread. This isn’t even being toasted. Yet they are still being charged the FULL PRICE of a HOT LUNCH that is being DEINIED (sic) to them.”
When asked about the incident by KDKA news Koltiska recalled, “His eyes welled up with fear. I’ll never forget his name or the look on his face.”
What is even more disturbing is older kids will have to go hungry as they will get no lunch. When there are organizations like No Kid Hungry fighting for our children’s nutrition in schools, one has to question this policy.
Superintendent Matthew Daniels insists the policy was never intended to “shame or embarrass a child,” and that it is about collecting money owed. Parents are notified weekly of lunch balances.
Apparently denying children their daily bread has guilted some parents into paying up. Before the policy there were 302 families who owed money; currently that number has gone down to 66. The average yearly total amount owed was $60,000 to $100,000. Now it’s less than $20,000 owed annually.
In the aftermath of Koltiska’s resignation she says there is no viable solution. “I’m not saying the parents shouldn’t be held accountable, but there has to be a better way than involving the children.”
More importantly every child deserves a hot lunch as sung here by Irene Cara from the film Fame.