Lunch Lady Quits, Says School Made Her Shame Poor Kids

Says policy made her take away hot lunches, give kids 'government cheese'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2016 3:31 AM CDT
Updated Sep 21, 2016 5:03 AM CDT
School Cafeteria Worker Quits Over 'Lunch Shaming'
"There has to be a better way than involving the children," Koltiska says.   (AP Photo/Peter Prengaman)

A cafeteria worker in Pennsylvania says she loves her job, but she can't continue taking hot meals away from kids who can't pay for them. Stacy Koltiska, who has quit her job at Wylandville Elementary School in the town of Eighty Four, tells the Washington Post that a new policy brought in over the summer requires workers to refuse hot meals to kids whose parents owe $25 or more for lunches. If they are in kindergarten to grade 6, they are allowed to have bread and a slice of "government cheese." Older kids owing $25 or more get no lunch at all. Koltiska says the "lunch shaming" policy has forced her to take hot meals from kids, throw them away, and still charge them for the meal.

"The first week of school on Friday, I had to take a little first grade boys chicken and give him this 'cheese sandwich,'" Koltiska writes in a Facebook post. "I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears." District Superintendent Matthew Daniels says the policy isn't intended to shame or embarrass children and it doesn't target kids who qualify for free lunches, the AP reports. He says that before the policy was brought in, around 300 families ended up owing the district $60,000 to $100,000 annually, and now it is down to fewer than 70 families owing less than $20,000. (This chef left a world-famous restaurant in Denmark to create better school lunches in the US.)

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