You won’t believe why a student was denied lunch at school

lunch

KENT — A Kent father is furious that his son was humiliated and left hungry at Mill Creek Middle School.

“In front of all his classmates, his lunch was taken from him and thrown in the trash,” father Jimmie Keys said.

A cafeteria worker tossed the food tray in the trash because Keys says his son was short 26 cents on his lunch card.

“With them throwing it in the trash, their whole complaint is that they are not getting the money. So you are still not getting the money, so I just don’t get it,” Keys said.

The Kent School District says they were wrong and they are sorry.

“As a father, as a citizen, as a taxpayer as a person this is not the way we are supposed to be,” spokesperson Chris Loftis said.

With summer break ahead, the district changed its system recently to encourage parents to pay outstanding meal debts. But they failed to notify parents.

“It’s not that we don’t have the money, it’s a fact that there was a lack of communication for us to bring the money to the school,” Keys said.

Employees were told to follow strict guidelines but the district admits the worker went too far.

“In this case the system took charge instead of the common sense and the humanity and we got to fix that,” Loftis said.

To make matters worse, Keys’ son was supposed to get a substitute meal but that never happened.

“The message was either not delivered or not understood and the kid did walk away without food,” Loftis said.

“I was very infuriated my wife and my son had to calm me down from going to the school,” Keys said.

The school directly apologized to Keys and revamped their accounting system so that all parents are notified once their kids lunch card gets to a $1.

“There are 900 kids in the school; it’s hard to believe that it’s happening to just my son,” Keys said.

In the past, the district lost nearly $30,000 in one school year because of unpaid meals. So it’s important they collect as much as they can, but again they say this one case was not handled appropriately.

Administrators talked to the cafeteria worker on how to handle the situation better next time but the father says he does not want her to be fired.

Keys said he is satisfied with the district changing its system.

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46 comments

  • tired worker

    My daughter's teacher kept her in class during lunch, so she did not eat. I call the school and was told it is against Federal law to not allow a child to eat. So the lunch room lady broke a Fereral law. That is why they have a substitute meal for them, so if a child forgets their lunch or does not have the money. I had to pay for my granddaughter's lunches a few times because she was low on her money..

    • arienfire

      They say it's a law that a child must eat at school, but countless schools refuse to feed children who forget their lunch cards. I can understand high schoolers, but they do this to elementary kids too.

  • gordgray

    "A cafeteria worker tossed the food tray in the trash because Keys says his son was short 26 cents on his lunch card." So all cafeteria worker Should carry $50 in change so that the parent or child don't need to take responsibility what is that teaching them?

    "In the past, the district lost nearly $30,000 in one school year because of unpaid meals" I pay my taxes for schools and it seem for kids meals to that never get payed back.

    "Keys said he is satisfied with the district changing its system." I'd be happy if he payed more attention to his kids meals at school so the child don't go hungry due to his mistake.

    • GLA

      You are very mean with your comments about the father, saying it is his fault. Mistakes happen, what is important is we learn from those mistakes and make sure they never happen again. I do believe it is very wrong to of made this child go without lunch, I am sure his little tummy was hungry. I hope the cafeteria worker remembers this day every time she sits down to eat, and sees the face of the hungry child she turned away and refused to feed him.

    • Travis

      It’s called compassion you braying ass! Letting kids go hungry at school is just plain wrong……no matter the circumstance.
      My advice to you sir is make the world a better place by finding some rope and a tall tree.

    • jamie

      So did you miss the part how the father was not notified the balance was low? Sorry your perfect life has you so heartless and on a personal pedestal of perfection that you feel it necessary and mature to put down a parent who’s child had to endure that when really it truly was probably a lack of communication. I pray for your kids if you have any that they may grow up with a soul get off your high horse punk

      • gordgray

        Nope I did not but did you miss the part of district lost nearly $30,000 in one school year because of unpaid meals so there are a lot of dead beat parents who think we the people should support there kids with our tax payer money that comes out of my pay check and others plus property taxes What part did you miss I did not make that child HE DID so HE needs to make sure that HIS kid has the cash for lunch NOT THE SCHOOL.

    • Darren

      Wow, your comment is absurd. You can have your opinion, but it shows a lack of common sense and empathy. For you to think that it somehow shows a character flaw that the card was not refilled is beyond explanation. That situation could happen to anyone, at any time, for any number of reasons.

    • ssgtrock

      Perhaps you should ask a couple of questions before going on your tirade… 1) Is this one of the districts that no longer allows kids to bring lunch from home? If so, then they shouldn't require students to pay at all. 2) How much federal money does this school get for school meal programs, and why doesn't it cover the expenditures. 3) $30,000…really? In the overall scheme of things, knowing how much school districts spend on B.S. and union contracts, you have problem with them spending $30,000 so some kids can eat a decent lunch? 4) When was the last time the district asked you to vote on a school levy, and where did that money go? – I guarantee you that 70% it didn't go to anything that benefits the kids, it went to teacher and staff salaries. Meanwhile schools are falling down around them and the teachers unions are dictating curriculum and enhancing their power base. In fact at a recent NEA conference one of the leadership said "This has never been about the kids, it's about power!"

      I'm as conservative as they come and I always vote "no" on school levy initiatives. I pay significant taxes where I live for education and public safety. I voted "no" on the last 3 school levies because they never seem to have enough money and can't account for the money we give them.I voted yes on the public safety levy because I expected to see a tangible result and I did. We sent our kids to school with a lunch every day, three kids every day until high school, when they no longer wanted to take a lunch because it "wasn't cool." So they had to pay for their lunch themselves. They found a way to do it, to earn the money. But if I had a choice between giving the school $30,000 for lunches or raising 5 teacher salaries, seeing the product they produce (Did you know Abraham Lincoln was our 1st President?… neither did I) I'd spend the money on the lunches.

  • Geri

    I am finding it hard to believe that school's see a student going without for days and not even offer at least a sandwich and milk at lunch.. recently both me and my daughter's father were short on money and my daughter did not have any money in her acct. He had deposited $20.00 and to this day we have no idea where that money went, and for days she had to go without again. She told me the lunch worker even told her pay in advance or go without… it is just sad that people have become so heartless. I realize that school's need to make the money but jeez these are children who need to eat. We couldn't even send things we had for her to eat as they needed cooked. When she was in elementary and middle school – they gave a sack lunch so at least children were able to eat something. Now in high school children are told go without – so sad. No child should have to go hungry and for this person to throw food away wow i think the tray of food cost more to throw away then that $.26!! unbelieveable!!

    • GLA

      Where is the free lunch program for all of these kids. I think all of them should be feed for free if they cannot afford it. It is heart breaking to see us go over to these other countries to feed and clothe these strangers we don't even know, and yet ignore our own people here in the USA and there needs. We need to prioritize and take care of us first and then think about another country. If we have the means to do so.

    • gordgray

      Once more its the parents Who is to pay I did not help you have the child or them You/thy did. I have 4 kids I make sure thy have breakfasts, lunch, dinner and snacks and dot expect others to pay for them. So as stated give up your vices and feed your own!.

      • MC

        I’m not going to make assumptions about you and post them but I ask; have you ever been given anything in your life? I’m sure you have and more than likely it was more than $.26

        • gordgray

          I went hungry many times so that my kids had there food gave up all my vices as to make sure thy ate. As to given yes I have and did not expect any thing in return as I stated I pay my taxes did not blame others for my mistake unlike the guy who was outraged due to his over site not the schools. only person that is to blame is him! to bad we the people are blaming all but our self.

        • Danielle

          First of all! $0.26 is not a big deal! Drawing a line yes there should be one but would you have been upset if that was your child? Anyone can come up with $0.26 I’m sure if the parents couldn’t afford it we’d see posts about this in the beginning of the year don’t you think?! If he was off by a penny would she have still denied the child food? Where was the teacher? Could he/she at least have just given him something? We put our children into school and trust that they will be in good hands and this child had to starve until he got home. I have a family of my own and there was a time that we were short a $1.00 oops yes my mistake but they were never denied a plate at school. But just received a little reminder hey your child ate today but he was just short a $1.00. Gosh some nerves I’m glad the father has a heart and asked for the lady not to be fired, she better be damn thankful to keep her job!

  • Be accountable

    Can you go to McDonalds and not pay? Parents need to be accountable. Do you want your taxes going up? Then pay for your kids meals. Schools have to buy the food so someone had to pay for it. 26 cents or 26 dollars, where do you draw the line?

  • fancydarlin

    The lunch lady just STOLE the boy’s lunch. If he was only .26 cents short, they should’ve just withheld his milk. I’m sure they totalled out his lunch card. So the rest of lunch was paid for and thereby stolen and destroyed by an adult bully.

  • Carrie

    I cant believe the pettiness of .26 cents ….and the fact that a child had to go hungry, really people …what about the "no child goes hungry" in school? if that were my child it would have not been a pretty picture with school district. And SHAME on the lunch lady for doing what she did.

  • Lynn

    That lunch lady was so wrong maybe she should miss a meal or two. My children’s school wouldn’t feed my child once and I went to the school told that worker to go without and then I took my child out to lunch. Since that day my children have always been given lunch no matter what.

  • The World is Ending

    When I was in elementary school my mom was resposable enough to send a check with me every month to pay for my lunch and … Wait for it … Wait for it … I was resposable enough to give it to the office secretary. I was fortunate enough that my parents could afford to buy me hot lunch every day, but those who were not brought a sack lunch. The main problem is people don't want to take responsibility anymore.

    • gordgray

      Thank you there is still hope for people to take responsibility for there action and stop blaming others to bad folks don't get it if you cant r ember to send cash, check or on line payment then a missed lunch will teach you not to forget.

  • cindy

    That can not be tolerated .My daughter forgot to tell me a few times and with both parents working dad days mom nights as a nurse we missed it Olympia washington gave my daughter a proper lunch did not humiliate her for my oversite (centennial elementary school) and contacted me .people need to be held accountable for there actions and if that person still works there I would demand to change schools and possible look at a law suit

  • sandi

    how very sad any school would do this to anyone…but for 26 cents. we have children who are starving and they just toss it in the garbage. for 26 cents. and let the child go without lunch. they should be ashamed the whole school district.

  • Mary

    I would fired the worker that did it and if I was his friend I would have given him my lunch and I would have gone without lunch. If I had .26 cents I would have loaned to him . This make me very upset that this worker did to him in front of his friend is just not fair.

  • Guest

    Why would I not believe this? Are you in the habit of lying? Should I default to not believing what you say? Don't stoop to clickbait, it's cheap and exploitative.

    Look. This is a problem that needs to be addressed, not sensationalist fodder for you to gain clicks. Show this family and this story some respect and *report the news*.

  • orphan child

    Hi There Q13fox,
    Speaking of which, If we do not eradicate hunger in the children, entire humanity will be at stake in the ensuing era.
    I’ll be back to read more next time
    Vijaya Satyanand


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