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Michigan Mom Pays For All Unpaid School Lunches After Her Son Was Denied Lunch

michigan mom

A Michigan mom paid for all unpaid school lunches at her son’s high school after cafeteria workers took her child’s meal away because he owed $5 to Dowagiac Union High School. Dominic Gant, a junior, recalled being extremely embarrassed when a school employee took his lunch away in front on his entire class.

Amanda Keown, the Michigan mom who works two jobs to support her family, was outraged by what happened to her son. A Dowagiac Union High School cafeteria worker reportedly allowed Dominic to be served his lunch tray and then immediately took it out of his hands.

The Michigan school, like many across the country, has a policy in place to deny lunches to students who have unpaid lunch fees. “I was appalled that he was denied lunch and his lunch was taken out of his hands over $5,” Keown said.

After Dominic came home from school hungry and told his mom what happened, she called Dowagiac Union High School to address the issue. Amanda Keown said this is what a Michigan school staffer said during the phone conversation, “She asked me where is the cutoff, where do you draw the line with the charges, when do you say no more? And I said there shouldn’t be a line.”

The Michigan mom was determined not to see another student go hungry, so she paid off every student’s lunch charges in the entire high school. “I realize I didn’t have to do that but I don’t want another kid going through what my son went through,” Amanda told local KTLA 5 News.

Keown did not realize that her son’s lunch account was in the negative. Dominic reportedly offered to pay $2 of the $2.45 lunch tray price with the money he had in his pocket and pay the remainder the following day, but the Michigan cafeteria work said no and threw his food in the trash. “I was very angry to the point that I was sick to my stomach,” his mother told Yahoo Shine. Her son’s name was added to a list of delinquent lunch bill students posted in the school cafeteria.

amanda keown

After paying the outstanding lunch charges noted on the list, which totaled about $100, she wrote an additional $200 check which was to be divided among 19 specific teenagers that she felt might have lunch fee problems in the future.

With thoughts about children going hungry at school still fresh in her mind, Amanda Keown started a petition to bring more attention to the school lunch charges issue. “I kept picturing the elementary kids and what they have to be thinking going through the same thing,” she said.

Dowagiac Union Schools Superintendent Mark Daniel said the school lunch policies are enacted to avoid incidents of children going hungry at school. Daniel said if a child does not have money to buy lunch, the student should be told to talk to a staffer on cafeteria duty, “who in most cases” will “arrange” to get the child something to eat. The school official claims that it is “rare” that a student will not be given something to eat. “We were doing some things that probably needed to be corrected and I personally want to make sure that we’re consistent throughout the district,” he said.

What do you think about the Michigan mom paying off all the school lunch balances and students going hungry?

[Featured Image Via: Veooz]

[Secondary Image Via: KTLA News screenshot]

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104 Responses to “Michigan Mom Pays For All Unpaid School Lunches After Her Son Was Denied Lunch”

  1. Walter Bachner

    While American kids are denied lunch in school over $5, the State Department contributed nearly $26 million to approximately 640 cultural heritage sites in more than 100 countries. Take care of our children first.

  2. Michelle Emanuel

    how stupid can you be? the cafeteria worker took his lunch and threw it in the trash because he did not have the money to pay for it? Does that make any sense at all?

  3. Hannah Yeltrik

    if the staffer knew who he was well enough to go :hey u, no lunch for u, u have a bill" then he shouldnt of gotten the lunch in the first place. i get WHY the rule is there but it was dealt with VERY poorly

  4. Mary Moons Ago

    No child should ever have that happen.. Oh so throwing his food out makes sense!..We pay taxes that is appalling…

  5. James Ferrando


  6. Brandy Gillenkirk

    that was nice of the mom to do what she did, but the staff worker shouldnt have done what she did. all she had to do was take the money that he had towards his bill, and he would have brought the rest the following day, or took him to the side and talked to him quietly instead of embarrassing him in front of all of his classmates.

  7. Betty Ann Manock

    I think it was very SMALL of the staff to take his lunch and put it in the garbage. What a way to help teach our kids to respect our elders. The manner in which this all occurred shows the stupidity of those who are in charge. The principal/superintendent should have known, before the incident occurred, how things are handled in the individual schools and taken care to see that there was a strict policy and that all students and their parents were aware of them. The kid had $2.00 of the $2.45 owed and offered to bring the balance the next day and they still took his lunch and threw it in the garbage. They should lose their job over this being handled in this manner. How the mother handled this incident is her business, so I have no comment on that one way or the other. I just know that I would have handled it differently but maybe not any better. I would certainly have confronted the cafeteria worker and told her how stupid I thought she was.

  8. Gena Griffin

    No child regardless of age or ability to pay or not pay should EVER be denied food…. in Most cases it's the only meal(s) they receive

  9. Phyllis Winter-Prince Blaswich

    Where to draw the line? Stupid is as stupid does………I'm sure that $5 balance just put them in the red geeeez petty………

  10. Christy Heinz- Barnum

    This is just another stupid act from a school employee again this year. A lot of schools are doing dumb things. When will it end to let any child go hungry is not right. This system needs to be checked and fixed.

  11. Cathy Gray

    The school worker handled that badly. I think she handled it better than I would have. I think she did a nice thing for taking care of all the overdue lunch fees as well as helping others out in the future but it should never have come to this. The school needs to overhaul their "rules" so that this doesn't happen again and even give their cafeteria workers a lesson in humanity!!!

  12. Roxanne Stromberg Puga

    While I agree that this could have been handled better, I am disappointed that so many people don't take responsibility for paying their bills and expect to get credit just because it is a public school. Where else do you get something without paying for it? The mom had a responsibility to keep her son's account up to date. It's her fault he was embarrassed.

  13. Teresa Lowe Case

    They are your children, it is your responsibility to see that they money for lunch. Stupid? How stupid are you to not know your child needs lunch money? $5 times 15 kids a day times 5 days a week adds up. There are programs for people that need help feeding their children.

  14. Katrina Simmons

    This is not the first time this has happened. Many other students have had this happen, there just hasn't been any coverage on it. We (Ga) have a program where students could apply for free or reduced price lunches depending on household income. But in all honesty, have you seen what they feed some of the kids. I wouldn't pay for it!!! Thanks Moochelle your lunch program is doing wonders!

  15. Jorje Saleh

    Absolutely ridiculous!! So, food in the trash is better than food going into a child's stomach?? They may have policies and "rules" In place for a reason, however, too many of these stories are surfacing about good being taken away, children being humiliated in front of their peers, and food being thrown away…absolutely NO RULE OR POLICY, can be explained to the point where I will understand how food is better in the trash, then given to someone who needs it!!
    I don't think I need to point out that taxes are paid in for these schools, nor the fact that these schools get federal money from the usda program either…these monies are undoubtedly still given, and taken, and used by the school, whether that specific child is at school that day, or has packed their lunch that day!
    So perhaps we should take back that funding, and throw it into the trash, since technically, that isn't the school's because those children are absent or packed lunches?!?

  16. Tracey Walker

    I am sick to death of these schools doing this to kids. I applaud the mother who did this and if this happens again I would appreciate someone contacting me. I would be more than happy to help out. I live in Cheney Washington and in our state we do not thow kids lunches away and we do not let kids go hungry. We have breakfast and lunch and summer meals for kids. The fact that the worker would rather throw the food away instead of letting the kid pay 45 cents the next day shows what kind of school you are running. You should be ashamed and your school is a joke.

  17. Mary Rogan Thompson

    If it was the Moms fault why not call her to be sure she is aware of the situation!!!! or better yet!! take her lunch away!!!!! she can handle it she is an adult!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTH????????????? SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS!! YOU WOULD RATHER THROW IT AWAY THAN TO SAY OK HUNNY I CAN LET YOU SLIDE TODAY PLEASE BRING IN THE BALANCE TOMORROW! BUT TO THROW IT AWAY????? IF YOUR GOING TO THROW IT AWAY ANYWAY WHY NOT FEED THE CHILD???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  18. Jacqueline Taylor Scott

    Mary Rogan Thompson ,THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Maggy Perez

    I she happened to have that much money, why didn't take care of her own family!!!!)ON TIME!!!!

  20. Karissa Hampton-Primas

    Well, this is nuts. If he had a outstanding balance then a note should have been sent home about it. It makes no sense to give someone a plate then take it back. Why not let them pay for it before hand like they do at Golden Corral or give them inexpensive sack lunches if they have a balance.

  21. Mary Rogan Thompson

    HERE IS MY CHALLENGE TO ALL OF YOU…………..Tomorrow I am going to the middle school where I live and I am going to pay all the outstanding luch charges!! call it a random act of kindness or how about just plain kindness!! it really isn't that hard! believe it or not it feels good!! try it!

  22. Almashy Dan

    I would have done as the mom did except I would work hard to get the person who threw food in the trash fired or at least have them stand in front of the kids class and apologize to him for being an idiot.

  23. Joe Ann Strachan

    This person should be fired!! What an outrage! She does not have a heart>>>>>>> That's what's wrong with the world today, so selfish.. She will pay for the way she handled that.. I feel sorry for her, I would not want to be like her..

  24. Wanda Rose Combs

    It sounds to me that this was a very mean woman and she got pleasure out of what she did or she would not have thrown that's child's food in the trash. She would also have excepted the money he had and gave him a chance to bring it in like he told her he would. I think she should be fired. I think this Mother has to be one of the most thoughtful, caring persons ever.. She doesn't want another child to go through what her son went through.. In our county no child pays for lunches. They are all free to make sure all children eat.. God Bless His Mother…

  25. Tricia Bernard

    That is so outrageous. Poor children; oh my God what is wrong with people. The Mom handled it well but denying food to school kids makes me sick to my stomach.

  26. Marie Zisoff

    I'm sure that if she was aware of her sons account being negative she would've done something about it, but she was not aware and that in my opinion is not her fault!

  27. Melissa Pugh

    At my children's school the kids that don't have money in their accounts or are delinquent still get cheese sandwiches and milk, it's not much but it's something and it's the least they can do with the amount of school taxes we pay every year(almost $2000!).

  28. Susan Acevedo

    How about free lunches for all kids. It's probably the only

  29. Rusty Garrett

    Do they have a "system" in place, where a simple phone call or note is sent home indicating their account is low and going in the red? Something simple like that would fix the problem. I mean we surely wouldn't want to put any of the blame on the student or parent for not keeping up with their priorities. When I sent my kids to school I made sure they had the means to eat before they left everyday. But I'm a big believer in personal responsibility.

  30. Regina Allen Fowler

    it was very mean to give him the food then take it and throw it away you don't know what thsat child situation was he had the food just let him eat it and speak with his parent later that woker was a bitch how would she feel if someone did that to her child

  31. Heather De Vries

    Same thing happened to my son over $3.50… But they are taking the STAR tests on iPads this year.

  32. Kathleen Allbee

    SHAME ON THAT WORKER!!! SHAME ON THE KITCHEN MANAGER!! I am a cafeteria manager, and I refuse NO child, even with an outstanding balance!!! If that worker had any common sense, she would have offered an "alternative" meal, which is nutritionally balanced to the standards to Food and Nutrition Standards.Tho I do not offer the alternative meal, (as in quite a few cases, this is the only real meal the child receives) I will feed the child NO MATTER WHAT!! Kudos to the Mom for the action she took. But SHAME ON THAT WORKER, AND THE SCHOOL.

  33. Heather De Vries

    You are a dumb ass. I don't care how you justify it, no child should go hungry EVER. You do not know the moms situation, already working two jobs to care for her family. And news flash, can you read? She was not notified there was money owed. Get off your high horse you self riteous snob!

  34. Beth Higgins

    yes its nice that prisoners who has killed, raped, robbed, stabbed, committed domestic violent and so forth gets food without paying but a child over a $5 past due. Umm the child does not have a job and the school should send a note home. Really this cafeteria worker needs to be taught a lesson, besides being fired.

  35. Mary Schott Peterson

    And yet in those cases, the kids get free lunch anyway. You've likely never seen the costs of lunches laid out to you before these changes were enacted. A semi-small district ended up hundreds of thousands in the red because no one who could pay, would pay. They would say "why bother, they "have to feed them" anyway.

    The kids ARE still getting a lunch. A cold, cheaper version of lunch but they aren't typically denied any food but one that costs a few pennies compared to $1.50 or more. The first year the ban went into place in that district, after some outraged parents (including a couple who'd tallied up $7,000 for her children the previous year) warbled and whined…. then set up a payment plan and never did it again. They used to have to take from education programs to cover these huge losses. Yet, implementing this change has not only lead to saving tens or hundreds of thousands for the district, but they aren't taken away the other classes. It also forces the parents to be responsible enough for their own damn kids instead of demanding the government just hand out food.

  36. Mary Schott Peterson

    Out of 1,000 kids a day, you know how many times the workers hear that? Often from the same kids, day after day. He wasn't just denied for not having enough – he was negative for several days to begin with. He was given a warning and it appears this district has the ability to check the balance online and deposit funds online.

  37. Sherry Nash

    I think the Lunch person should be FIRED, Any person that came to me hungry would be fed on the spot, I hope shes never hungry but of course she isnt she grazes as she cooking, SHAME on you her picture and that of the Principal of should be put online also, and Child Protective Services should be involved, and all involved in refusing the child lunch should be arrested!

  38. Sherry Nash

    I would love to say what I think of this Heartless (B****), but I'd probably get kicked off facebook!

  39. Sherry Nash

    Maybe its because she is a Good Mom, and has alot to do and simply didn't get to it, but then again I'm sure you've never overlooked anything, Right?

  40. Sherry Nash

    I'm am so glad your perfect and have never overlooked anything in your life, loser!

  41. Gena Griffin

    Excuse you…. you don't know me and have no right to try and belittle me. Hell prisoners eat 3 meals a day on our dime. And yet our children have to go without because of a couple dollars… get a life

  42. Laurie Mitchell Howard Turner

    Mary Schott Peterson …$7000 in one school year??? How many children did she have, 40? And I hope it was prime rib and lobster that they served. How can a school possibly justify charging $7000 for school lunches? Kids deal with enough self esteem issues as it is they don't need to be embarrassed by school employees.

  43. Shawn Burtch

    Welcome to America. Obamacare, Core education and Michelle Obama lunches. We can send 100's of millions of dollars to countries that want to kill us and harbor terrorists but refuse to feed our own. Get use things like this because more is coming. Until people take back this country and stop letting the liberal left control every aspect of your lives nothing will change.

  44. Deborah Jones

    Mary Schott Peterson Everyone working within a school is supposed to LISTEN to the children. Your post implies that just because a cafeteria worker hears the same story that he/she is justified in turning a deaf ear to the problems voiced by the children. Financial concerns need to be addressed with the parents and not to the child. Nothing in your budgetary concerns justifies placing food in a child's hands, removing it to embarrass the child, and throwing it in the garbage. The cafeteria worker gave a disturbing message that had less to do with the outstanding payment and more to do with actions that said "I would rather feed the garbage can than feed a child who owes money." With all the food that is thrown away on a daily basis, this is your fiscal solution? Really? This is a SCHOOL dealing with CHILDREN who are NOT FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE for themselves. Abusing them in ANY manner for ANY reason is totally unacceptable.

  45. Marianne Cesare

    WEll Mrs Peterson you mush have never went hungry in your life GOOD for you.But some of us are not that lucky shame on you.

  46. Marianne Cesare

    What the Mom did was great.Good for you.But on the other hand it was good this happened cause we got to see what is going on and maybe someone can help fix the prob.

  47. Gena Griffin

    My child has had a 0 Balance before (note was lost on the Bus ) and Guess What my child still got to enjoy her Lunch…. I was sent a note home that day letting me know of her Balance. she never lost another Lunch note

  48. Gena Griffin

    Also it's a proven fact that a child learns better when given a balanced meal

  49. Barbara Sanchez

    parents need to unite and take back some controll ovcer whats going on in the schools,let me see you pay book fees yet no books , you have to buy everything and the schools dont ,i see where they want each child to bring tissue and so meny boxes , have yhou seen all the unopen boxes of tissue at end of school year put your feet down people, im on oxgen stuck at home and i open up a can of whoop ass on the school my grandkids go to , if they dont listen you have a right to go over their heads to their boss , i did and got the results i wanted as for the lunch things solve it for 1 month have every child brown bag it , see how much money they lose they will come to see your terms

  50. Marianne Cesare

    Mary Schott Peterson Maybe that was his only meal for the day,did you ever think of that.Wow I really don't like ppl like you.You must be 1 of those ppl that if you see someone homeless you run the other way.Do you really think ppl want to be poor and not be able to feed there kids..WOW shame n you.

  51. Brenda Teckman

    Jessica – I was just saying this very thing to my husband about how it's against the law for a prisoner to miss a meal, but a child is fair game in a school policy of intolerance and hate. After all, to deny a child food has to be based on some kind of prejudice or hate.

  52. Sandra Soares Allen

    wasting food…smh..people are so arrogantly spoiled…its a SHAME!

  53. Brenda Teckman

    Mary Schott Peterson – Let me get your thoughts straight… Because the school won't deal directly with parents who are delinquent in their responsibilities all children must always live under the possibility that they will be treated badly by the very people who are entrusted with their care. I can see that this was a well thought out plan… (sarcasm in case anyone has a question) Punish a whole community for the actions of a few seems to be the way the law works these days, and it's supported by teachers and school officials who should know better, and who were once our last bastion of decency and fair play. This is actually a case of bullying committed by the school staff. Now, how does this get addressed? The school system could have always acted against perpetrators of 'lunch theft' by addressing the delinquency after a specified length of time, if that doesn't work small claims court does. Letting it go year in and out then a blanket policy against everyone seems cowardly. Oh, yeah, that's the basic definition of bully, cowardice.

  54. Brenda Teckman

    Tracey – well said. For the want of a nail, a kingdom was lost. Feed The Children. It's our civic duty to see that no family in a community goes without. It's simply common decency to be sure everyone is ok and no one is suffering. When families suffer poverty, hunger and exploitation, they are not able to contribute or succeed, no matter how hard they try. Happy to hear your school is run according to values that are supportive.

  55. Brenda Teckman

    Betty Ann – You are so clear and honest in your post. Thanks for that. I too would have handled it differently. Refusing to feed a child is a form of child endangerment. Teens especially are more affected by going hungry than smaller children in whom we can see the signs of reactive behavior. When teens are forced to go without food, especially since he was responsible enough to pay with every cent he had, they have the initial trauma of the shock of the confrontation then the low blood sugar and high metabolism create an impossible situation, the teen can not long think clearly and will not learn and can make poor decisions in other things as well. This boy kept his head and did the right thing telling his parent.

  56. Brenda Teckman

    Mary Peterson, in the article, he was two days in arrears. Do the math. He showed his good faith by offering all his money for his lunch. A possible and better solution would be for the worker to say ok however, no dessert to cover the delinquent 49 cents. It doesn't matter how many times anything else happens, a case by case awareness is more appropriate. You are defending waste, bullying and lack of consideration. Was your mother this tough with you that you did without food when you didn't clean your room or do your homework or something? Only go after the parents, communication first then move to other appropriate actions. $5 in arrears is not a good reason for these actions.

  57. Brenda Teckman

    Kathleen Allbee – I'm sure I don't need to tell you that your post was wonderful. You are the most authoritative person to speak to this as you work in the very job that makes these decisions. Our home was and is always open to those children who are not eating regularly for whatever reason. Some kids parents drank away the money, some were selfish and bought for themselves rather than feed the kids. I went through a bag of apples every day for those who stopped by after school. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Like you, I can't stand to see a child go hungry. Once, we had a kid eat two meals a day at my house and I figured the kid didn't have the lunch money. I gave him bagged lunches at least twice a week. About a year ago he came to me and asked me if I remembered him. Of course I did. He hugged me and introduced me to his sons, both adopted, and his wife who was expecting their first child. He is now also a Big Brother and a social worker who specializes in needy kids. – Anyway, keep spreading the good word to others so they can copy your example to step up rather than act out. I often wonder what happened to common sense and common decency.

  58. Doug Jones

    Ramble, preach, ramble, preach. Get to your point. You are smarter than all of the rest of us because you spew some numbers and anecdotal evidence provided without proof. We are concerned about hungry children in school. Tens of thousands? Really? Turn off Rush and try to restart your own brain before it's too late.

  59. Brenda Teckman

    Regina, I'm right there with you. But, I would have called it bullying. The definition of bullying is that a person who has power over the less powerful does something that hurts or humiliates the victim. That boy chose to not be a victim, he offered to pay and then when the bully wasted his lunch, he told his mother about the situation. The mom didn't let her son be bullied and put a stop to the bullying of the other kids by stepping up and paying for their lunches, even for lunches not eaten yet. Kudos to you for your comment.

  60. Brenda Teckman

    Barbara, that's so true. The schools look for a certain amount of money from the government to cover a multitude of expenses. That money dwindles in relation to the amount needed to cover lunch programs. You go, Mz. Independent.

  61. Brenda Teckman

    A school in my town offers all students grades K – 8 the same lunch based on the second grader needs. My granddaughter eats school lunch and has to have a lunch from home and three snacks. She's 5 lbs under weight according to her doctor. She just uses up the energy. But, 8th graders (13-14 yr old) eating a second grader's (7-8 year old) sized meal is just so wrong that there aren't enough words to describe the stupidity. Besides that the lunches are cold and soggy by the time they get to the kids at 11:30. No operating kitchen at this school.

  62. Brenda Teckman

    Except for the political slap at the end, I liked your statement. Some compromise between right and left is needed or we wouldn't be in this fix. True, Obamacare is a scary fiasco as well as a drain on everyone's pockets except those who it is meant for. True, Core educations isn't working, it's keeping the kids from learning and keeping the teachers from teaching. True, M. Obama lunches are atrocious because of the social ostracizing of children who are overweight. She is actually making those heavy kids a laughing stock, bullying targets and starving them doesn't help at all, it makes it worse. Very true, the politicians of the USA are giving away our country in money, lands, and businesses to the very people who hate us. True, this country is a dysfunctional family in which the elders who are in power are only interested in their own futures and do not care about the younger ones in the family. Our own government has harbored terrorists, why? True, it will continue to get worse until changes are made. Both parties need to come together and stop making us pay for their egos and poor judgment. Thanks for your comment.

  63. Brenda Teckman

    Good post, Rusty. You are fortunate that you can keep up with the demands on your time. Some simply can't and need that reminder every so often. We are supposed to help each other with these kinds of things in small ways, and a note is as small as it gets. The vast majority of parents do a great job and remember everything. Once in a while they can't.. surgery, family tragedy, illness, problems on the job and financial problems do happen to anyone no matter how responsible they are. It is NOT a student's responsibility to pay, but to remind a parent, about the lunch money. I too always sent the money ahead of time. I also believe in personal responsibility. But, to throw out the lunch after refusing the $2 is stupid. They could have removed the dessert to balance out the cost, but they didn't. This is a petty tyrant and bullying problem hidden behind a money issue. You are right that the system in place should work, but it doesn't. So, since we agree on so much, is there a solution here?

  64. Brenda Teckman

    Teresa, while in the basics of it all, you are correct in that these children are the responsibility of their parents. Here I will copy my previous post. – You are fortunate that you can keep up with the demands on your time. Some simply can't and need that reminder every so often. We are supposed to help each other with these kinds of things in small ways, and a note is as small as it gets. The vast majority of parents do a great job and remember everything. Once in a while they can't.. surgery, family tragedy, illness, problems on the job and financial problems do happen to anyone no matter how responsible they are. It is NOT a student's responsibility to pay, but to remind a parent, about the lunch money. I too always sent the money ahead of time. I also believe in personal responsibility. But, to throw out the lunch after refusing the $2 is stupid. They could have removed the dessert to balance out the cost, but they didn't. This is a petty tyrant and bullying problem hidden behind a money issue. You are right that the system in place should work, but it doesn't. So, since we agree on so much, is there a solution here? – NEVER look down your nose at others because someday you will be in the same situation and will need help.

  65. Andrea Leavelle Cox

    Mary Schott Peterson My aren't we "pious: & how many kids do you have? I cannot believe you have such a hard attitude in regards to feeding hungry kids whether they can pay or not. Its very obvious you are among those that think the government is just one hand out concern. NOT……so lets hope you never are delinquent in paying your childs lunch bill or maybe being on the impoverished list !

  66. Andrea Leavelle Cox

    Brenda Teckman Love your comment Brenda and there should be a whole lot more like youl. I say its not right to punish the children for their parents failures. This is truly not a Christian attitude, but then again, I find that the Christian Conservatives talk a lot with forked tongue.

  67. Kathy Combs

    The thing that gets me the most is that after taking his lunch away because he didn't have enough money, they then threw his food in the trash. Better to be in the trash than in the child's stomach if they do not have enough money??? What does that say about our schools and about our society? That is pretty sad. And what an admirable way for the mom to handle that situation, much respect for her…as a parent AND as a caring human being.

  68. Deborah Jones

    Brenda Teckman and Mary Rogan Thompson: Thank you for your comments. I just think its a shame that the squalor of bureaucracy sets the stage for petty people to harm our children. I applaud Amanda Keown, who found a most gracious and generous way to channel her indignation. Life will reward her for that. And I applaud everyone who read this and voiced their objections to the frightening surge of indifference and resentment that is now targeting children as well as adults. America's greatest blessing was in her ability to give. She was a country with outstretched arms that once believed, "Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" People died to defend that truth. Yet today, the lamp beside the golden door is resting within the hands of people, who no longer lift it high, but are dragging it into the mediocrity of their own selfishness. That attitude is greedy. It sneers at the plight of the homeless, resents those that are on welfare, and looks with disdain upon anyone they deem as inferior to themselves. That attitude is now abusing our children. What has happened to the compassion that once hovered over America?

  69. Andrea Leavelle Cox

    Mary Schott Peterson Whats with you girl? Egads, your reasoning is so abrupt, devilish, and crazy. Whats it to ya anyway? The hungry shall be fed, especially children. Sounds like you work for this type of school or is it one of the Charter schools? That sounds like some of their tactics.

  70. Misty Mills

    Mary Schott Peterson…this is my opinion…if you intentinaly are trying to make a point out of a dumb ass objective to this story.. quit trying so hard to make yourself look like an ass and have some class. Question? Are you a teacher or have ANY connection to the school system? Not a lot of parents…how did you put it..force the parents to be responsible enough for their own..let me clear my throat…DAMN KIDS…(which are not to blame) instead of demanding the government just to hand out food…may have lost a job or had to take a pay cut. I truly enjoy going to eat lunch with my kids and the kids at the table maybe do not get a snack like I get my child..but I don't hesitate one bit to get all of them one and I DONATE to my kiddos school and that makes me feel good for doing a good deed..I remember when Bush was in office..he implemented the "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" program for education. Please consider what you rant about instead of attacking it like a rabid dog..Have a good day!!! ; )

  71. Mary Schott Peterson

    Gina – pointing out facts is belittling you?! LMAO! You must feel really stupid a lot then.

    Laurie – Actually, because there was no debt max, the kids were getting more than one lunch, ala carte and yes, she had 6 children (K-8th school) over 195 school days. Because the policy didn't allow for denial, kids were taking advantage of it as well as parents.

    Doug, Damn right I'm "pious". Because I sit around listening to people bitch about the quality of education, or missing out on creative arts, or how there are no more tutor programs after school then bitch when they have to pay for something for it. Because I've seen the funding on just how much goes out, how HIGH the limit is for reduced and free lunch (by the way doof, that's federal data, it's also public information on public school expenditures available through your district, you can also get previous year information through FOIA so shove your "anecdotal" crap because you are too lazy to find out, but if you EVER spent time dealing with anything or being involved in a school, I suppose you'd know that, wouldn't you?)

    When you watch an entire district try to make up a $700,000 shortfall from unpaid breakfast and lunches and try to host "clean up days" to avoid paying any groundskeeping (which no parent shows up to) and then watch as parents rip apart principals for not having swept up leaves on the playground or watch as they SCREAM when art class is cut… and they are usually the ones with the negative balances. The schools are ALSO tending now to pay for field trips because it's starting lawsuits for discrimination. So the kids aren't going on as many if AT ALL… and part of the reason is because of all the things parents DON'T pay for for their kids. From school supplies (ever notice how the lists are growing… including basic classroom supplies?) to lunches. It adds up.

    Excuse me if I care that other people aren't pulling their weight and are too lazy to pay for their kids lunches or fill out paperwork for the free lunch program (a family of 4 qualifies for reduced lunches up through over $43k annual income while free lunches are at $30k – again, READILY AVAILABLE if all YOU weren't too lazy to look up the information) – the average cost for a single lunch in this country is $2.25. If you are telling me that someone making $44k a year can't pay just over $400 a year for their child's food, then you are really, really stupid and I've got a bridge to sell you.

    BTW, Andrea – I have FOUR children 10 and under. If you are too stupid to understand the story, let me try this – THESE KIDS ARE STILL FED COLD LUNCHES. They aren't denied food altogether. They are given a cheaper lunch that has enough protein to follow recommended guidelines. Perhaps you need to also review the minimum guidelines set for these lunches and for hot lunches and the cost required for money spent? Oh, I bet you didn't know those existed, right? I DID go delinquent with my oldest son – because he used a la carte and didn't tell me so his balance was down farther and faster than my budget (you know, those things responsible parents should have?). He got a cold lunch from school. And I didn't storm the school complaining they didn't give him a hot lunch. I didn't go up and demand they feed him anyway. He iS MY KID, MY responsibility.

    Will you be willing to buy his school supplies next year? I highly doubt ANY of you will be sending me checks because you have more disposable income than I do because you should be paying for my kids. It's always funny when it comes to putting your money where your mouth is. As long as you don't "see" it coming out of your check, you are fine with it.

  72. Mary Schott Peterson

    Marianne – did you ever stop to think that his mother makes at least more than twice the poverty level (the guidelines at which even just a family of two phases out the free lunch program?) EVERY kid promises they'll pay, most don't. They forget, and forget, and forget. The slips that go home with the kids never get to their parents, then the parents raise hell. It must be a perfect world you live in where you never have to pay for anything yourself, I suppose and you expect everyone else to foot the bill.

    The lunch program have been hearing those excuses for YEARS and watched it drain their budgets. If someone comes and gets a cheeseburger from McDonald's and promises to pay tomorrow, they might let them get by with it once or twice. When I was a stupid teen, I misjudged my gas and got lost and a gas station owner lent me $2 to get home (ah the days it was 1.01). I went back later that day and PAID him. A few years later, I saw him – he stopped doing it because out of all the promises, he realized he'd spent over $500 in one year and maybe 4 or 5 came back with their promise.

    It's called being jaded. It's called listening to excuses for years, and years, and SOMEONE has to pay for it. The reality is all the kids who promise to pay, MAYBE 10% do. And guess what, when they come back the next day? They still don't have money and they still want a hot lunch.

    It appears none of you have to ever budget for anything or ever make hard choices to ensure other things in your lives are maintained (including taking care of your kids, guessing someone else is always there to do it). Schools ARE NO EXCEPTION. If you are coming up missing money somewhere, something else has to be cut to pay for it. In 2012, education funding was on the ballot nearly across the board in this country. Almost ZERO passed. No one wants to pay for the increase of costs of education, they don't want the kids to be shorted and as the supply list grows, they are rebuffing and not buying things on it or buying everything on it.

    Something HAS to give. It's just a damn shame you expect the schools to do it and the quality of education to go down to do it.

  73. Mary Schott Peterson

    Mary Rogan Thompson Wow, you are stupid.

  74. Mary Schott Peterson

    Heather De Vries That's right, they shouldn't – which means MOM SHOULD HAVE PAID THE BILL.

  75. Mary Schott Peterson

    Alright, fair enough. I'll watch your FB for a public post showing the receipt – but instead of doing it one off, see how you feel after doing it every month for the school year next year? BTW, I notice you make money off selling copyrighted images while trying to claim you own the copyright on them – will you be using the money from that? (You do know it's illegal to claim copyright on other copyrighted images, correct?)

    I like how you think one day, one time is equivalent to 180 days of doing it though. You won't actually put your money where your mouth is and do it for an entire school year like the districts have to deal with it, but I'll be watching for your receipt.

  76. Mary Schott Peterson

    Do you know how many school districts would LOVE to see the parents involved? When a parent is involved in their child's education, the graduation rate skyrockets, grades skyrocket, attendance improves, the child's overall long term education is improved AND issues like this are staved off ahead of time – it's a win-win for them because better grades equal more money, more instructional hours children attend – more money (hence even chronic truancy can cut a schools funds) and more kids graduating, which improves their school health grades.

    The average participation rate of any parent in almost any school district is below 10%. Less than 10% of kids have at least one parent show up for any one school function, meetings, discussion, etc. at varying times of the day.

    The sad fact is, most schools never even see the parent (even when they try to schedule parent/teacher conferences with hours as early as 7am and late as 7pm) except to register. Schools deal with a few parents who just drop kids off the day school starts even – no supplies, no idea where they are supposed to go, no registration, nothing.

  77. Deborah Jones

    Mary Schott Peterson I can only speak for myself, but I can assure you that budget and sacrifice has always played a significant role in my life. However, budget was never a substitute for HEART.My parents taught me the value of a dollar, but they also taught me that the greater investment is to be found in people. Do people always keep their promises? Absolutely not. Should their character flaws influence how we care about their welfare? Absolutely not. Plant seeds of kindness and you will reap a harvest of kindness. Plant seeds of bitterness and you will sprout an empty tree.

    Furthermore, it is a mark of remarkable snobbery to make assumptions about the lives of the people who disagree with you and who are appalled at your statements and the treatment of this child. In my opinion, the quality of education has been plummeting for years, and school lunches have very little, if anything, to do with it. You and many others may resent the struggle of those who are financially challenged, but I know of a Great Teacher who advised His disciples, "The poor you will always have with you." He also said "It is better to give than to receive." Why does giving evoke such anger within the minds of so many in this country, when giving ennobles the human spirit?

  78. Mary Schott Peterson

    BTW, in case any of you are interested in facts over hyperbole and feigned stupid outrage, blasting insults and names and step off your own piety and look around… (and if you really want to get into it, you can check out how Michelle Obama's stupidity is actually causing even greater shortfalls here – and here and here and here

    (Also an awesome dated article from the 80's about the measures taken when there is just no more left to give…

    So are you going to come up with these millions???

    "“Upon further review of the school lunch program for fiscal ’13, the deficit now stands at ***$137,303.68***,” Town Accountant Joseph Bolton had written Luttrell….Lynch said he believes this is part of a wider problem because “80 to 90 percent” of schools in the state are running a deficit this year in their lunch programs."

    The Canton lunch program ended last school year with an ***$89,825*** shortfall when the number of lunches dropped by roughly 14 percent, according to figures provided by School Business Manager Judy A. Rhinebeck.

    The situation hasn’t improved much so far this school year. Between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, the cafeteria recorded a $10,233 shortfall.

    The financial statements of the School Lunch Fund reflect a deficit of *****$1,060,426***** as of June 30,
    2011, which is an increase of $189,659 from the deficit balance of $870,767 at June 30,
    2010. This deficit has continually increased over several years causing the School
    District to supplement the Food Service Program by advancing monies from the general

    "Columbus City Schools are under pressure to make their food-service operation financially self-sufficient, but at least three suburban districts subsidize their food operations even more heavily.

    Although the $1.75 million deficit in Columbus last school year was larger in dollars than any other in the county, it represented a smaller share –– 6.5 percent –– of the food-service budget than the deficits in Bexley, Grandview Heights and Upper Arlington.

    All four districts subsidize food programs with money from their general funds.

    Bexley had the largest deficit proportionally, a ***$180,000*** shortfall that accounted for 31 percent of the meal program’s budget….Columbus Food Director Joe Brown said the district could break even if it could raise the average price of the 61,000 meals it serves each day by 17 cents per meal. However, the federal school lunch program will not pay more than $2.88 for a lunch and $1.85 for a breakfast, and 80 percent of the district’s students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, he said. the district was unable to collect about *****$300,000***** in lunch fees owed –– down from about ****$500,000**** in previous years. Some of the money is owed by students who qualify for free lunches based on their family income but who didn’t sign up for the program."

    …resulting in a deficit fund balance in the school lunch fund and a decline in the general fund balance. District relied on its general fund to subsidize operations of the school lunch fund.

    There's plenty more – get educated and stop acting like a fool.

  79. Bobby Hannah

    Mary schott peterson theres no excuse to not give a child lunch and not over 5 dollars the fact that your making excuses for that is sick im sorry but that food went in the trash and was wasted when he should have been able to keep it theres no excuse for that and its one child in question not all the children that owe so no one needs to hear your stats your a bitch!!!!!

  80. Mary Rogan Thompson

    Mary Schott Peterson your crazy!! people like you is the reason there are wars!!! go find a hole and jump in it! BTW THEY ARE MY IMAGES! BEFORE YOU ACCUSE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE FACTS!! YOU JUST CAN'T FIX STUPID! So now you want to attack me for standing up to justice???? what ever!!!

  81. Wulfgar Peter Miller

    Heres An Idea Lets stop sending billions of dollars in foreign aide to shithole countries that don't do a damned thing for us and make lunch free in the USA? oh that wont work because the food suppliers will jack up the prices right?

  82. Gena Griffin

    As I said before GET A LIFE!!!!! Our kids deserve to eat regardless!!!! OH AND LEARN HOW TO SPELL MARY SCHOTT PETERSON

  83. Susan Vorbeck

    Mary Schott Peterson I completely understand what you're saying and I agree with you. HOWEVER, the public shaming of kids in front of other peers over finances is unacceptable. This isn't the first article I've read like this. Where the child was given food and then had it taken away in a very public display. As if these kids don't struggle enough to fit in! This matter should be handled privately. And if a meal is accidentally handed out when it shouldn't be, too bad. There should absolutely be a policy that once it's in the child's hands, it's theirs. Period.

  84. Andy Strickland

    A child should not be singled out like this. I had a teacher make a rude comment to me when I was in high school because I was on free lunches. My mom was in kidney failure and my dad was going the best he could. I walked out of homeroom and headed towards the office. She followed me, yelling at to go back to the room. I entered the office and told the secretary I needed the principal. She told me okay, and she made the teacher stop following me. I told him what happen, he called her in and questioned her. She didn't deny it but tried to justify it. He told her that my mom was one of the best ladies he knew and he would see after school to discuss the matter more with but she owed me an apology.

    I picked up my token in the school office from that day forward and spent homeroom as an office assistant.

  85. Regina Allen Fowler

    what's that school saying? "no chld left behind" yea just starve them tho

  86. Marie Schible

    Wow. Do you also know that if there is a negative on the lunch books that your child will not be able to go to their prom and will not be able to graduate until that bill is paid. It's a shame that people who are in jail gets feed 3 times a day and if you dont feed them it is cruelty. What about that child who comes to school and that might be their only meal of the day…

  87. Shannon Lisa McElroy

    Mary Schott Peterson All I see from you is excusing the idea of giving food to a hungry child and then taking it away from them in front of their peers. You're justifying that, everything else you're saying is just you trying to sound smarter than everyone else. Yes, we all get it. You know facts and you're right about things and you're not making stuff up and you're not evil you're just trying to show everyone the reality of the situation. You're missing the point. The reality of the situation has nothing to do with dollars and cents, get your head out of your wallet and start thinking a little more with your heart in this case.

    The kid DID NOT get free lunch. You are speaking out of context with your 'facts' and 'examples'…especially since your initial response to the comment originally left by Gena you very specifically stated that you believed the boy in question (which is what the article and Gena's comment are about) received a 'colder, cheaper' lunch for free. You're wrong. In this case the policy was to deny the child of a meal completely. He did NOT get lunch. There was no free lunch. The boy went home hungry from school that day because he was denied food at school. Stop telling other people they sound stupid when you can't even gather together enough reading comprehension skills to understand the bare facts that are laid out for YOU.

    Fact: The boy did not get lunch, it was taken away from him and thrown in the trash can.

    If the district is losing money on lunches, why did they take the food and THROW IT AWAY?

    You can spout off about facts all day, but you still look like an idiot in light of the ones you choose to ignore.

    Read the article, understand the text of the comments you're replying to, and…in your own kind words….stop acting like a fool.

  88. Rita Pignatello Carraher

    I believe this happened to my kids as well and it is disgusting. Plus the cafeteria workers are often some of the nastiest people to these kids which I don't understand why this is allowed. Finally, the food that is served is suppose to be "healthy," how is french fries served with pizza "healthy!!!???"

  89. Lisa Terry

    There are a lot of people out here that pay school taxes that don't even have children that go to school .. That should take care of the lunches ..don't you think !!!

  90. Tanika Smith

    It's the cafeteria employees fault. Their the ones who is serving the food, a notice should have been sent home to the parent. It's obvious tht the parent knew nothing about the bill. She seem like a responsible parent if she had been aware of it. So stop blaming the parent. It's the school, they have computers to tell them tht who ever is behind or caught up.

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