ONTD Political

Missouri students have lunches taken and thrown away by school staff

7:50 pm - 03/31/2013
Moberly Students Have Lunches Taken Away by Staff

Parents are outraged following the Moberly School District's decision Thursday to not allow students to eat school meals if the students owed lunch money to the school.

According to a Moberly High School student at least a dozen students weren't allowed to eat and had their lunches taken away.

Johnnie Carden said his son in 9th grade was embarrassed when the lunch workers dumped his lunch in the trash.

"He got to where he goes to pay for it and I guess he had a negative balance," said Carden. "So they took his tray from him and dumped it out. My son said he wasn't the only kid it was happening to. It was happening to other kids"

The interesting thing about the "negative balance" on his son's account is that Carden is enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program at Moberly High School and not required to pay for meals.

The Moberly School District was unavailable for comment Friday. KOMU 8 News briefly spoke with Moberly High School Principal Aaron Vitt. He said he couldn't comment unless the superintendent gave him permission, but he said Moberly Superintendent Gena McClusky was out of town on vacation.

The school district had the day off Friday for what the district's website calls "Easter Break," but some parents did get an email from the district apologizing for what happened Thursday. A full text of the message is posted below:

Dear Moberly High School Parent,

We want to begin by apologizing to every student that had food taken away from them on Thursday during the lunch shift and parent that was impacted by our actions. Our actions did not reflect the mission or the values of the Moberly School District.

Due to a miscommunication our practice was not followed and any student having a lunch charge had their food taken away. We are working to correct the communication issue and to ensure this does not happen again. We deeply regret the situation and offer this sincere apology.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Aaron Vitt at MHS or Mr. Tim Roling at CO.

Moberly School District

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kittenmommy 1st-Apr-2013 01:10 am (UTC)

Apparently so! How very Repug of them!
dhamphir 1st-Apr-2013 01:00 am (UTC)
mollywobbles867 1st-Apr-2013 01:04 am (UTC)
The hatred that people in this country have for people who are poor is depressing.
deathchibi 1st-Apr-2013 11:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it really is.
lamardeuse 1st-Apr-2013 01:14 am (UTC)
That's utterly sickening.
lovedforaday 1st-Apr-2013 01:18 am (UTC)
hey at least the school district apologized
recorded 4th-Apr-2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
IMO, it doesn't sound like much of an apology.
They claim it was a miscommunication, but I really doubt it was.
tiddlywinks103 1st-Apr-2013 01:38 am (UTC)
The. Ever. Loving. FUCK.

The pettiness adults are able to show to children galls me every time I see it. Everyone should be fired.

Due to a miscommunication our practice was not followed and any student having a lunch charge had their food taken away. We are working to correct the communication issue and to ensure this does not happen again.

Soooo...what is your practice? Does it still involve withholding lunch from underage children? Because if so, it still sucks.
the_physicist 1st-Apr-2013 10:34 am (UTC)
yeah, i noticed they didn't say what it was they were trying so hard to communicate that ended up with this mess. i can hardly imagine: "gently remind kids who have negative balances on their cards that they should ask their parents to top them up" or whatever could end up with this mess.
castalianspring 1st-Apr-2013 01:46 am (UTC)
Any teacher or person otherwise employed at a school who would take food away from a child like this should lose their job immediately. That they would rather waste it and publicly shame the child...I just can't even. Bastards.
kittenmommy 1st-Apr-2013 03:08 am (UTC)

nightfury 1st-Apr-2013 01:48 am (UTC)
is this a missouri thing or something? I grew up in MO and remember not being able to buy lunch quite a few times in middle school because I was in the negative balance on my account. i was also on the reduced lunch program. I dont think they threw it away though unless it was open food like a basket of fries or something.

eta that this wasn't what always happened, occasionally they gave us a lunch slip that we had to pay eventually.

Edited at 2013-04-01 01:50 am (UTC)
tabaqui 1st-Apr-2013 02:37 am (UTC)
I dunno - if my daughter doesn't tell me her lunch money is negative, she can still get a lunch. They used to send an email/do a robo call if the balance went below negative 10 bucks, but they don't anymore and i forget to check it all the time.

But she's never been told she can't eat. That's just nuts.
*we're in MO, if you didn't realize*
lux_roark 1st-Apr-2013 01:50 am (UTC)
When my son had a negative balance they still gave him lunch and gave us a call to tell us that we had to pay for that lunch and any other lunches and that he would only receive one free lunch.
otana 1st-Apr-2013 02:21 am (UTC)
This is exactly what they SHOULD have done. Those poor kids.
mollybarton 1st-Apr-2013 02:13 am (UTC)
Every day my faith in humanity dies a little more. What an evil thing to do.
yesthatnagia 1st-Apr-2013 02:18 am (UTC)

tabaqui 1st-Apr-2013 02:38 am (UTC)
For fuck's sake. If someone told me to take a kid's lunch and trash it, i'd be like 'no fucking way. here's a dollar, let him eat.' Jayzus.
im_an_aaangel 1st-Apr-2013 02:51 am (UTC)
Exactly what I was thinking. There's no way I could sit still if I saw it happen (or was told to).
ahria 1st-Apr-2013 03:20 am (UTC)
I went to school in IA and yeah, you could have 2-3 "lunch loans" but then they wouldn't let you have lunch anymore until you paid the balance. I got denied lunch a couple times a month because I'd buy cookies or extra servings.

wonderland386 1st-Apr-2013 03:35 am (UTC)
Dear god that's harsh. At my school, if kids go $5 negative, they get a milk and a cheese sandwich until they pay. It's not delicious, but at least they can eat. Honestly, it's really just so those kids tell their parents to pay. We tend to have a problem of papers going into backpacks and vanishing.
sfrlz 1st-Apr-2013 03:44 am (UTC)
They did this when I was a kid in school too. I don't really know what else they're supposed to do though, because if they can't pay then they can't buy the meal but they can't put it back for health reasons. Yeah it's shitty, but what is the alternative?
castalianspring 1st-Apr-2013 04:53 am (UTC)
So give the kid the meal and continue running up a tab if need be? Trashing it won't make the food be magically paid for, so if that happens they might as well let someone eat it.
underlankers 1st-Apr-2013 03:53 am (UTC)
Fuckers. Regular bullying is horrible enough. When the AUTHORITIES are the bullies? As I said, fuckers.

Edited at 2013-04-01 03:54 am (UTC)
pepsquad 1st-Apr-2013 04:21 am (UTC)
my school district had a problem with kids not applying for free and reduced lunch so kids who ran up a bill and didn't pay it were given cheese sandwiches until they applied for free and reduced lunch. it kicked up a lot of dust when it happened but i cannot understand throwing food that has already been given to kids away.
kyra_neko_rei 1st-Apr-2013 05:52 am (UTC)
The value of the food is no less lost if you let the kid eat the lunch than if you throw the lunch in the garbage. It's an equal cost either way---they're not saving any money by dumping it in the trash.

They tell the students they can't have the lunch because they can't pay for it and then instantly turn around and tell the student that that same amount of money isn't important at all really. Just enough to justify humiliating and denying the kid, but not enough to save the school the amount of money they lost on the lunch in the first place.

They want to stop kids from getting school lunches when their balances are negative? Stop them BEFORE they get to the food.
peace_piper 1st-Apr-2013 06:13 am (UTC)
I ran into this same exact thing in my dumpster diving days. After my group was "caught" diving (we didn't leave a mess or disrespect any worker, they just walked out with some stuff and we were there), the dumpster was locked, a gate was put up that was also locked. When we tried to call to intercept and say the waste was for "our chickens" we were told that they'd rather it be thrown away and pay for the disposal than donate it to poor hungry people.
kishmet 1st-Apr-2013 06:32 am (UTC)
So disgusted by this whole thing because a) this feels like a poor-shaming tactic basically, b) the administration lays the blame on the cafeteria workers when there's NO WAY they were doing it on their own initiative, and c) the cafeteria workers didn't, y'know, use logic and compassion to change the actual outcome of this bullshit

nothing like this should EVER be a school policy. Just goes to show most public schools don't give a shit about teaching kids because how the hell are the kids supposed to absorb anything if they go hungry?
the_physicist 1st-Apr-2013 10:46 am (UTC)
my thoughts exactly. and yeah, hungry kids can't concentrate at school. and if they are getting free lunches they might not have had breakfast even. and even if they aren't getting free lunches, the number of kids i taught who would just have a bag of crisps for breakfast that they'd buy at the bus stop...
jaded110 1st-Apr-2013 06:36 am (UTC)
I'd split my lunch with a kid that got theirs thrown away. Fuck the system.
ldkirby 1st-Apr-2013 11:53 am (UTC)
Wtf? The way it works at my school, if you don't have money in your account or you have a negative balance, they'll still let you get the very basic, cheapest lunch so that you still have something to eat. Because letting kids go hungry is a fucked up thing to do.
akycha 1st-Apr-2013 01:31 pm (UTC)
This makes me so sad and angry. No one should shame children -- or anyone -- that way.

I wish there was some way to let those kids know that not all adults are bullies and that there are some people who think that what happened was wrong. I remember how horrifying and alienating it was to deal with adult bullies when I was in school. There was nothing you could do and they were always right.
peace_piper 1st-Apr-2013 09:45 pm (UTC)
Dealing with adult bullies when you're an adult too, is in many ways so much worse. (Speaking from my own experience as a low-wage worker, I've been fired at least five times for trying to talk to HR about bullying bosses)
lady_grace 1st-Apr-2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
Sounds like something a place like Moberly would do.
hinoema 1st-Apr-2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
Tell me about it. Too many of my relatives live there; there's a reason I haven't spoken to any of them in forever.
recorded 4th-Apr-2013 09:29 pm (UTC)
when I worked food service they always were very proactive in making sure they got everybody that was eligible enrolled because it helped maintain a consistent cash flow and helped keep numbers up.

I have a feeling this was a passive aggressive initiative initiated by the school administration directed at the accounts that are not eligible for free/reduced to try to get them to pay up.
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