CANONSBURG, Pa. - A public school cafeteria worker has quit over what she considers a "lunch shaming" policy in a Pennsylvania school district.
Stacy Kotiska says she quit last week after she had to take a hot lunch away from an elementary school student because the child's parent had fallen more than $25 behind in paying for his school lunches.
The Canon-McMillan School District enacted the policy to deal with a backlog of about 300 parents who owed tens of thousands of dollars. Now fewer than 70 parents owe money, and the district says the policy isn't meant to shame students.
The policy says students from kindergarten through sixth grade will lose their hot lunch and get a sandwich and fruit if their parents owe more than $25. Older students get no lunch at all if their parents owe that much.
Kotiska wrote on Facebook that under state law, all children must at least be given a sandwich for lunch, but that it consists of untoasted bread and cheese.
"The first week of school on Friday, I had to take a little first grade boys chicken and give him this "cheese sandwich". I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears," Kotiska wrote on Facebook.
Kotiska said she was going to resign Monday, but her mother passed away Sunday and she forgot about the incident until it happened again this week,
"I had the same sick feeling so today I resigned," said Kotiska. "What makes this even MORE SICKENING is that we throw so much food away EVERYDAY. So Our Children are being served cheese, being charged and denied the hot food that we then throw away. Once again, it comes down to Profits Over People but this time the People are Our Children."
Kotiska urged people to contact the school district superintendent to change the policy.