We can certainly see why parents would be upset about this one.
Earlier this week, school officials threw out the lunches of up to 40 students at Uintah Elementary School because of unpaid balances on students’ meal accounts, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. After having their lunches discarded, the children were instead given milk and fruit.
According to the outlet, officials intended to withhold lunches from indebted students. However, because district employees did not learn who owed money until after lunch was served, they ended up taking back those lunches from students and throwing them out.
"So she took my lunch away and said, 'Go get a milk,’” fifth-grader Sophia Isom told Utah outlet KSL-TV of what happened. "I came back and asked, 'What's going on?' Then she handed me an orange. She said, 'You don't have any money in your account so you can't get lunch.’”
Erica Lukes, Sophia’s mother, says she is outraged over the incident, and that she was previously under the impression that Sophia’s lunch balance had been paid.
"I think it’s despicable," Lukes told The Salt Lake Tribune. "These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up."
On Wednesday, the district posted an apology on its Facebook page. The apology notes that officials are investigating “what type of notification parents may or may not have received prior to this week.”
“We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again,” reads the unsigned apology.
Earlier this month, former Colorado elementary school principal Noelle Roni said she was fired for opposing a practice that similarly shamed students who owed money to the school. Roni says she had tried to halt a program that stamped the hands of students with outstanding lunch accounts balances.