A school changed their lunch policy after a student allegedly had his hot meal taken away over a $14.17 (US$9.75) unpaid balance.
According to the boy's grandmother, the incident occurred on his birthday in August in Ohio.
On that day, the staff allegedly took away nine-year-old Jefferson Sharpnack’s hot lunch and replaced it with a cheese sandwich, a side dish and a serving of milk because of his lunch debt, which totalled $14.17.
The young boy said that the incident left him "a little hurt."
"I can't believe that it's cost-effective to throw away food and give them cheese and bread," Sharpnack's grandmother, Diane Bailey, who has temporary custody of Sharpnack and his brother, told WKYC.
"When he got off the bus, he said 'worst birthday ever.'"
Bailey has enrolled Sharpnack in the free and reduced lunch program, according to Fox 8, and she was informed that she would be able to write a check for any unpaid balance that may occur while they waited for the paperwork to process.
After Bailey's story sparked concern on social media, other parents made claims that similar incidents have happened to their children.
The district has responded by implementing an immediate district-wide change to their policy, shared on Facebook by Superintendent Jeff Miller.
"All students enrolled in PreK through 12th grades will receive the standard lunch for the day at their respective buildings regardless of their account balance," the statement read in part.
"We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches. Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals."
Representatives for the schools did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
Words by Hope Schreiber.
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