Lunch Ladies Teach Middle Schoolers About Debt, Trash Their Lunches If They Owe Money

No lunch for you!

No lunch for you!

It’s never too early for kids to learn that living in revolving debt is bad, but how you get that lesson across is a tricky thing. For example, let’s say that you’re the contractor that serves school lunches in a middle school, and you take away the trays of children whose parents owe the lunch vendor money and toss a few dozen perfectly edible meals in the trash. This would be a bad way to teach kids about debt.

Yet it happened at a Massachusetts middle school, where lunchroom staff apparently had had enough with debtor students. One source reports that kids who owed as little as five cents had to toss their food, and another station reported that the threshold was $1. What we do know for sure is that the kids were served food, and then it was thrown away.

School officials say that this scheme was solely the work of the lunch vendor, and management at the lunch vendor claims that it was the front-line employees who decided to shame and starve kids who owed money on their prepaid lunch cards.

“Employees had taken it upon themselves to institute this change; it was not condoned or approved,” a spokesman for the company told TV station WJAR. Teachers didn’t learn about it until students complained to them.

The cafeteria workers have since apologized. “Their intent was not to humiliate or upset the students,” the school principal explained to a local FOX affiliate, “which I stated to them they had done.”

Students with no lunch credit told to throw school lunches away [FOX Boston] (Thanks, Christine!)
No noon meal for kids in debt at middle school [CNN]