Woman Quits Over School ‘Lunch Shaming’ Policy That Denies Kids Food Unless Parents Pay $25

Stacy Koltiska has revealed that she quit her job at the Canon-McMillan School District because of the school’s “lunch shaming” policy, CBS News is reporting.

Koltiska, a former cafeteria employee, said it did not feel right that school authorities were shaming and denying students hot lunches to put pressure on their parents to pay overdrawn lunch accounts.

Stacy Koltiska, who had been working in the cafeteria at Wylandville Elementary for two years, said it troubled her deeply when she was forced to take a meal from a first-grader after she had served him lunch.

According to Stacy, the cafeteria was busy, and she did not know that the boy was meant to get a cold sandwich instead of a hot meal. A colleague had noticed the mistake and called her attention to it.

“The woman I was working with was trying to get my attention, but I didn’t see because we’re serving so many kids, to tell me before I gave him the chicken, to give him the cheese. But it was too late. He already had his tray.”

Stacy Koltiska she had to take the tray away from the boy.

“His eyes welled up with tears. I’ll never forget his name, and the look on his face.”

After it had happened a second time, Koltiska aired her views in a Facebook post that has since been shared close to 5,000 times. In the post, Stacey said the “lunch shaming” policy did nothing but humiliate and embarrass kids. Koltiska said the “lunch shaming” policy got to her because she knew what it was like going without food, surviving on food stamps and free lunches in school.

The new policy at Canon-McMillan, which was enforced the very first week of school and passed for grades K-6, says that $25 or more owed to the district for lunches would lead to a child forfeiting a hot meal and getting a cold sandwich, milk, and fruit instead. Older kids are not entitled to anything.

Koltiska described the sandwich as two slices of wheat bread and a single, frigid slice of “government cheese.” The former employee could not also comprehend why a hot meal of corn dog bites or chicken nuggets would be taken from a child and, because of another policy, thrown away. She pointed out that parents would still be charged the full regular price of $2.05 for the meal.

The district has countered claims of being callous and insensitive to students by revealing that parents were sent an email in August before the school year began. Superintendent Matthew Daniels said it was simply about recouping what was being owed.

Daniels said it was never the intention of the district to shame or embarrass any child, adding that the strategy had worked. The superintendent said before the policy was implemented, over 300 parents owed money, but that the number had whittled down to 66.

“They fluctuated between $60,000 to $100,000 owed annually. Now, it’s down to less than $20,000.”

Stacy Koltiska reacted saying there should have been better ways of handling the situation without involving the children, adding that there was so much wealth in America that a child did not need to go hungry in school.

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Joe Zupanic, a school board member of Canon-McMillan, said a policy needed to be grafted to recover thousands of dollars in debt. He pointed out that it was a sensitive policy, but that it excluded students that qualified for discounted or free meals. However, he acknowledged that the reason why some kids had not paid was because their parents could not afford it.

Stacy Koltiska has revealed that she received plenty of goodwill messages from a prison with inmates, wanting to donate their food to the school kids. A nun jokingly said the former cafeteria worker had started a revolution with a cheese sandwich.

Koltiska insists that whatever rationale was behind the school authorities introducing the “lunch shaming” policy, it was not the right one.

“They’re suits at a board meeting. They are not the ones facing a child and looking them in the eyes and taking their food away.”

Do you think denying students hot lunches until their parents pay $25 is the right move?

[Featured Image by Zoom Zoom/iStock]