Student's Lunch Taken For Owed Meal Payments

SEARCY, Ark -- The Searcy School District is apologizing after they said a staff member took a Ahlf Junior High School student's lunch tray away, over late meal payments. 

The superintendent said the student was behind $10 on paying for meals, but admits things should have been handled differently.

A notice about the Wednesday incident, was posted on the district's website Thursday.

It's made some, like Natasha Ridings who read it, upset.

" That's crazy .. it's crazy," said Ridings.

One parent said the staff member should have thought twice.

"I think the [staff member] needs to be punished, if not fired" said the parent. "A kid needs to eat."

The parent has two sons who attend the same school.

"It don't matter if they are behind a month. We pay taxes, that should help for them," said the parent.

"They should never take food away from a student," said Ridings. "If you can't afford it, you should still be able to eat at school."

Both said they can only imagine how the girl must have felt after having her food snatched from her hands.

"That's embarrassing," said Ridings.

"She was probably embarrassed. Kids making fun of her," said the parent.
In the statement posted online .. the school district said in part:

"We are sorry for this unfortunate event, and it has been addressed with our staff. We work to inform our students and parents regarding negative lunch balances through automated and verbal notifications, but we want all students and parents to know if they are experiencing a difficulty in lunch balances to please feel free to make the building principal aware, so we can meet the needs of that student." -- Searcy School District.

"I understand you need to pay for it, but I think they have a big responsibility to feed the kids and take care of them while they are there," said Ridings.

"I think they could have a backup plan for them kids," said the parent.

The school district also said it's working to change the current policy and make a better effort to reach parents and guardians of students who fall behind on payments.



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