School kids in Utah received a harsh lesson in the realities of economics on Tuesday. After elementary school children at Salt Lake City’s Uintah Elementary School sat down to eat, a worker took away the tray of food and threw it in the trash. The children asked why and were told, ” You don’t have any money in your account so you can’t get lunch.” Up to 40 students were then given a small carton of milk and an orange to eat.
Salt Lake City School District spokesman Jason Olsen explained the reasoning behind the move. The districts child nutrition department noticed that the school had a large number of students with negative balances or no money on the school account. Because of this the nutrition manager visited the school and withheld lunch from the children. The cafeteria workers did not know which students were affected until they got a lunch. It was at that time that the lunch was taken and thrown in the trash in front of the child. According to Olsen the nutrition manager attempted to contact parents by phone on Monday and Tuesday. When the manager was not able to reach the parents a decision was made to take away the lunches. At first, Olsen made no apologies for the heavy handed tactic used against the children and said it was not a mistake. But after public outcry a statement was released which said in part
“This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize. We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again.”
One parent claimed she never received notification of the actions the school would take. “It was a difficult day for her daughter and other kids.” Even a cafeteria worker was seen crying over the incident of hungry and humiliated children.