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Ear to the Ground

School Cafeteria Denies Lunch to Preteen Debtors

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Posted on Apr 5, 2013
healthy lunch ideas (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Twenty-five students at a Massachusetts middle school went home hungry this week when the private contractor that runs the school’s cafeteria denied them lunch because the students’ accounts were a few cents overcharged.

An employee of cafeteria company Whitson’s made some students cry upon demanding that they abandon or throw away their meals. Coelho Middle School officials denounced the decision and instructed cafeteria workers not to refuse lunch to any students. A Whitson’s spokeswoman apologized for the incident.

Superintendent Pia Durkin said students have been provided with a cheese sandwich and milk when they have been unable to pay in the past. She expects to meet with the company’s president to discuss the issue Friday.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Sun Chronicle:

Parents said they were told by their children that some pupils in the cafeteria line had already picked up their lunch and were told at the checkout they had to throw it away.

Victoria Greaves, 11, a fifth grader at Coelho, said a cashier told her to throw away her lunch because there was not enough money in her account. She said she threw her meal away and got nothing to eat.

Greaves said “about 20” other pupils also were denied meals.

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