"In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district," said the grandmother who was brought to tears after hearing about what happened to her grandson.
An Ohio elementary school student's 9th birthday turned out to be one of the worst days of his life after his hot cheesy breadsticks and sauce were taken away from him in front of all his friends because he had run out of lunch money in his account.
Jefferson Sharpnack was instead served a cheese sandwich and milk by the cafeteria staff at Green Primary School as his outstanding balance was a mere $9.75. And now his grandmother, Diane Bailey, is calling out the school for this unkind practice that leaves students completely embarrassed. "So, I just asked if they could possibly change their policy to find a different way other than embarrassing kids," said Bailey, according to Today.
A little boy in Ohio was denied school lunch on his birthday because his account was in the negative -- something Green Local Schools administrators say is protocol.https://t.co/XRkXPunpm4 pic.twitter.com/2querSQCBZ— ABC 13 News - WSET (@ABC13News) 9 September 2019
Bailey is furious about the fact that her grandson had to undergo such humiliation that too on his birthday due to a small misunderstanding. According to WEWS-TV, an ABC affiliate, Sharpnack along with his two brothers moved to Green, Ohio, to stay with their grandmother.
Now, the kids were supposed to be enrolled into the free and reduced lunch program, however, due to some delay in the paperwork, Sharpnack received a note of warning about his lunch account balance which was negative on August 30.
This happened to me growing up and it was so embarrassing. Total bullshit. Why is it still happening today? We need to find a better way. Kids aren’t responsible for lunch debts period. https://t.co/8oj7IUMbn5— Nick Hennen 🗞️ (@tweetbrk) 11 September 2019
After receiving the notice from her grandson, Bailey called up the school to straighten things out. Despite doing so, the unfortunate event took place on Tuesday.
"I got my cheesy breadsticks and put in my number," Sharpnack told WEWS-TV. "And when I was going to check out, the lunch lady didn’t say anything, took away my cheesy breadsticks and sauce, put them over there, and took out bread on cheese from the fridge and put it on my tray." Recalling that day, Bailey said, "When he got off the bus, he said 'worst birthday ever.'"
How utterly mean- spirited and nasty of the person who did it over a measly 10 dollars! To a child, and on his birthday 😢Yes he must have felt very hurt - horrible thing to do!— Anne 🇮🇪 (@fabannex) 10 September 2019
"In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district," said the grandmother who was brought to tears after hearing about what happened to her grandson, according to The Washington Post.
"And my other question is, if they take the food off of your tray, they have to throw it away. You would take the food off a tray and you can't reserve it? You're going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn't make sense to me." Sharpnack recalls being "a little hurt because they took my food."
No child should go without a hot lunch in this Country. Our tax money needs to be kept out of the pockets of the rich. FEED THE CHILDREN!— Pj Martin (@pmart65) 10 September 2019
During an interview with NBC News, the spokesperson for Green Local Schools informed how Sharpnack was served a side dish as well as milk in addition to the cheese sandwich. And district's director of community relations, Julie McMahan, revealed how younger students with unpaid bills are served a cheese sandwich while the older ones got a cheese quesadilla.
However, Jeff Miller, the superintendent of Green Local Schools responded by announcing a change in policy via the school's Facebook page.
On his birthday too, that's just cruel.— Philadelphia Collins (@JoccoJohnson) 10 September 2019
It read: We are committed to providing our students with a positive, safe learning environment and experience in every aspect of the school day. All students enrolled in PreK through twelfth grades will receive the standard lunch for the day at their respective buildings regardless of their account balance. Assuring they would do their best to resolve such issues her continued writing: 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. Concluding the message he wrote: If you have additional questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to the district directly at 330-896-7500 or 330-896-7512.
I hate these stories. Americans throw away so much food..go to a school cafeteria after lunch and look at the cans full of uneaten food. This is ridiculous.— Caron Craig (@CaronCraig) 10 September 2019