A 9-year-old was denied school lunch on his birthday because of a $9 debt
A boy’s school lunch was taken away on his birthday because of a small lunch debt.
Jefferson Sharpnack, a student at Green Primary School in Uniontown, Ohio, was denied his lunch tray when he went to check out. The saddest part is, this happened on his 9th birthday.
Instead of getting the lovely meal he had picked out, he was given a piece of cheese and bread by the lunch staff. This was the alternative lunch they give to children with deficit accounts.
All of this happened in front of his classmates, because of a $9 lunch debt.
Diane Bailey, Jefferson’s grandmother shared with CNN that Jefferson and his siblings recently moved in with her. The granny was still waiting for the paperwork needed so her grandkids could be enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. She had received a notice about the unpaid balance. But after Diane contacted the school, everything seemed to be okay.
“In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed them money, the parents, the school district.”
The story of the worst birthday this kid ever had went viral on social media and through local news reports.
This made Green Local Schools reevaluate their policies. They sent a notice to parents that all students will receive standard lunch regardless of their account balance. The principal Jeff Miller says in the letter:
“We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches.
Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals.”
Two years ago, the US Department of Agriculture(USDA) mandated schools develop plans for less fortunate students. They strongly discourage “lunch shaming,” such as denying children meals, when meal charges are not paid.
The birthday boy’s grandmother was grateful for their decision. She says it was the ‘perfect solution’.