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20 Sep, 2016 20:15

In America, if your parents owe $25, they take your school lunch

In America, if your parents owe $25, they take your school lunch

A cafeteria employee for a Pennsylvanian elementary school quit her job after she was forced to take a hot lunch away from a child whose parents had fallen behind the $25 limit for school lunches.

Stacy Koltiska says she resigned from Wylandville Elementary in the Canon-McMillan School District last week because she had to deny two children hot lunches under the new strict policy that was enacted to tackle $100,000 in debt built up by unpaid lunch fees.

Under the new rules, students from kindergarten to sixth grade will not be served hot lunches if their parents owe more than $25 to their meal accounts. Instead, the children will be given a cold sandwich, fruit and milk.

READ MORE: Idaho woman fired for giving free lunch to hungry child

“What you don’t know is 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 denied to them,” Koltiska wrote on Facebook when announcing her resignation.

“I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears,” said Koltiska of the first grade boy after she was forced to take a tray of hot food away from him when she accidentally served him the meal instead of the sandwich.

Students above sixth grade get no lunch if their parents owe more than $25, however the policy does not apply to children who qualify for financial assistance with school lunches.

In the Canon-McMillan School District, hot lunches  of cheeseburgers, tacos, BBQ rib sandwiches, hot dogs, fries and pizza run for about $2.00

READ MORE: New Jersey education dept. nullifies majority votes, allocates $32mn+ for school expansion

The drastic measure was brought in this school year in an effort to tackle the $60,000 to $100,000 owed to the district from over 300 families who had fallen behind on their lunch payments, according to AP. From a debt recovery point of view, at least, it seems to have worked.

The number of families with unpaid lunch tabs has fallen drastically to fewer than 70, with a total of $20,000 owed in arrears.

"There has never been the intent with the adoption of this polity to shame or embarrass a child," said District Superintendent Matthew Daniels.