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.
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 Care2.com 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]