Friday, January 31, 2014

No Cash Lunch In Utah School Trashed

     School should always be a safe place to learn and to be treated with respect. Taunting and humiliation would be values a school should reject. The news coming out of an elementary school in Utah, Uintah Elementary School, defies belief. A large number of students evidently not known to their parents had negative balances in their cafeteria accounts and after standing in line with trays, being served and then before they could touch the meal had the trays taken back and the food tossed.
     The School Board quickly posted an apology on Face Book (near a post on combating child hunger) probably chagrinned that the parents with the negative accounts had not been notified. The cafeteria manager and supervisor were not fired only put on administrative paid leave. One can only imagine the humiliation and distress of the students effected and can see why Face Book was used so they would not have to look into the eyes of the parents or the children. Whether or not the parents of the 70 or so children who had their lunches taken on Tuesday were notified the prior Monday of the negative accounts begs the issue. What kind of country are we that permits lunches to taken away from kids? What ever the policy is at $3.00 a lunch the school district will survive any fiscal crisis and would have all the time in the world to make sure parents have time to put positive balances in their accounts and if for some reason they cannot due to financial reasons, there has to be money in the budget to remedy that problem. As to the employees on administrative leave if they are not fired, some intensive sensitivity training on how to handle such a situation would be required. I have to believe the cost of a tossed lunch from a humiliated stressed out 4th or 5th grade is going to be dwarfed by the costs of a lawsuit filed by an angry parent of a sobbing, traumatized child.
No Cash, Lunch In Utah School Trashed
One would think that the Uintah School Board would know
That most parents do not online follow a lunch balance to see if it is too low
In the private sector you normally get a bill
And if payment is not received in the sender's till
A late charge and then a notice the service you will receive no more
But in the public sector without notice the policy may allow you bar the cafeteria door
Worse to rip the lunches off the trays and into the trash cans on the floor
If this is the policy, the School Board and principal should be shown the unpaid door
If not and it sprouted in these workers' heads firing not leave would some sanity restore
A 5th grader should not be humiliated by a parent's or billing system mistake
Apologies on Facebook are somewhat good, but here do not cut the cake
And if parents are really upset and file will be swamped by the lawyers' take
Already licking chops for dollars as their suing hunger never slakes
© January 31, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet


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