A Texas sixth grade student — in front of his friends — was forced to watch as a cafeteria worker threw his breakfast in the trash because his school meals card didn’t have enough money available. The student is one of many on a reduced-fee program, and he pays 30 cents for breakfast. The school district is standing by its action, and says the worker was just following policy.
Jennifer Castilleja says her 12-year old son went without breakfast even though she told school officials she was on her way to pay for her son’s meal. “My son called me and asked me if I could bring him some money because they took his breakfast from him and he needed money for breakfast,” she told KTKR.
“I said, ‘Well, I’m on my way, I’ll pay for it,.’ And she said no, I would have to bring some money before he could have breakfast.”
“There were kids all around him. I think he may have been a little embarrassed and upset and, of course, hungry.”
In a statement made to KTRK, the Barber Middle School in the Dickinson Independent School District (ISD) says it’s just their “procedure” to not allow students to eat their meal if their meal card cannot cover the 30 cents. “Many school districts follow this same procedure. Students get verbal warnings to let parents know once the account starts getting low. Written warnings are sent home to parents before money runs out.”
Of course, some may say, “Well, if all the kids were given free breakfast the school would have to pay a lot of money for it.” And perhaps that’s true. But throwing out the boy’s breakfast in front of his friends costs the school just as much money as letting him have breakfast — and not being embarrassed over thirty cents.
A walk through the Dickinson Independent School District Facebook photos page shows very active sports and band activities, and many photos of school cafeterias and even a cafeteria Thanksgiving special event.