Good morning! Get ready to grind your teeth.
CBS affiliate WKMG in Orlando, Florida, reports that a student at University High School was prevented from eating lunch on her first day back at school by a really excellent cafeteria employee. The student reached the front of the line, provided her account number, and was told that her account was in the red—by 15 cents. The student, a sophomore, didn’t have 15 cents. So this banner employee, this real gem, this absolute beacon of light, this model cafeteria worker, reportedly dumped the whole damn meal in the trash.
As Kimberly Aiken, the student’s mother, put it to WKMG: “That’s the big thing—it’s eat breakfast, lunch, so that they can make sure that they’re doing good on their work,” she said. “But then you starve my child?”
Aiken also told the station that she’s signed up for the free/reduced-cost lunch program, but it has yet to take effect; the deficit—which, again, was for one dime and one nickel, or 15 pennies, or less than a quarter—must have carried over from the previous year.
WKMG contacted the school district for comment; presumably their question was something along the lines of “Uh, so, is it your policy to throw perfectly good food in the garbage, thus shaming a student who doesn’t have 15 cents on her while simultaneously depriving that student of food?” A spokesperson responded, saying that the school “is always willing to work with students and families as needed.” He also said that the district would be working with the family to resolve the issue.
Aiken’s daughter said she brought a quarter to school the next day, to pay off her massive, shameful debt, and a cafeteria worker said “everything was taken care of,” per WKMG.
A few general don’ts, in this humble writer’s opinion. Don’t:
- Shame a kid for not having money
- Throw perfectly good food in the garbage
- Be an asshole
But those are just my opinions, of course.