An Ohio school is re-assessing its food cafeteria lunch policy after 9 year old boy Jefferson Sharpnack is denied lunch over an outstanding $9 debt.
How to ruin a 9 year old boy’s birthday.
An Ohio boy had his school lunch taken away from him on his ninth birthday because he owed a debt.
Jefferson Sharpnack, a student at Green Primary School in Uniontown, had picked out a lunch of cheesy breadsticks to eat. But when the boy who had turned 9 that day approached the register to check out, the lunch lady took his tray away from him without a word, replacing it with a slice of cheese and bread.
Denied because of a $9 debt the student allegedly owed to the cafeteria.
Jefferson had recently moved in with his grandmother, Diane Bailey, and was supposed to be enrolled in a free-and-reduced-lunch program, according to News 5 Cleveland. While they were waiting for the paperwork to process, he came home with a note saying he owed $9 on his lunch account. So Bailey called the school to sort it out, believing he was in good standing.
Instead, the birthday boy had his lunch denied in front of the entire school cafeteria.
This boy says he had the worst birthday ever after a cafeteria worker from Green Primary School took away his lunch b/c his account was in the negative. Hear from his grandma on #GMCle #WEWS pic.twitter.com/8udFUgxriL
— Jessi Schultz (@Jessi_Dianne) September 9, 2019
‘Lunch shaming is unacceptable’
‘In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district,’ Bailey told News 5 Cleveland. ‘And my other question is, if they take the food off of your tray, they have to throw it away. You would take the food off a tray and you can’t reserve it? You’re going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn’t make sense to me.’
Jefferson’s story has since led to uproar on social media- leading to school officials changing their policy.
Posted one social media commentator: ‘Lunch shaming is unacceptable. Don’t embarrass the child’.
While another user posted, ‘School staff taking food away from kids should be fired immediately. What message is that teaching kids? Staff is bullying and embarrassing innocent kids. Pathetic.’
On Monday, Green Local Schools Superintendent Jeff Miller sent a letter to parents, saying students will now receive a standard lunch regardless of their outstanding balance.
‘We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches,’ the letter said while also noting that, ‘the lunch program is complex due to federal requirements.’