A Texas school is standing by their policy that allowed their cafeteria staff to throw a 12-year-old’s breakfast in the trash because the student was short 30 cents on his account, even after the mother said she was on the way to pay for it. The child was on the school’s reduced lunch program.
Jennifer Castilleja, the mother of the student from Barber Middle School in Dickinson Independent School District, felt the actions taken were extreme.
My son called me and asked me if I could bring him some money because they took his breakfast from him and he needed money for breakfast. I said, “Well, I’m on my way, I’ll pay for it” and she said no, I would have to bring some money before he could have breakfast. There were kids all around him. I think he may have been a little embarrassed and upset and, of course, hungry
When ABC News contacted the Dickinson ISD, they defended their policy.
Dickinson ISD’s procedure is that we do not allow student charges for breakfast. Many school districts follow this same procedure. Students get verbal warnings to let parents know once the account starts getting low. Written warnings are sent home to parents before money runs out.
Castilleja admits either her son forgot to relay the warning or she forgot to replenish his account, but she still feels the policy should allow for breakfast charges that can be repaid. She also feels all options should be explored before sending a child to class hungry.
That day, Castilleja brought breakfast to her son and paid her child’s lunch.
ABC News also said there is no word on Dickinson ISD amending their policy.