Utah elementary school seizes 40 students’ school lunches over unpaid accounts

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SALT LAKE CITY,Utah (CBS/CNN) – In Utah, parents are criticizing an elementary school for taking school lunches away from about 40 students because of unpaid accounts.

But the school says the children did not go hungry.

“We were all blind-sided”, says Erica Lukes. She’s a parent whose child has her lunch taken away Wednesday.

When 5th grader Sophia Isom got to the end of the lunch line Wednesday she was met by a district nutrition manager who was monitoring accounts.

“So she took my lunch away and she’s like, “go get a milk., and I’m like ‘ok.” And I come back up and I’m like , ‘what’s going on?” ┬áThen she handed me an orange and she said, “you don’t have any money in your account so you can’t get lunch.”

Sophia said the food was thrown out.

“There were lots of tears, and it was pretty upsetting for them,” says Sophia’s mother.

The district said it started notifying parents about negative account balances Monday. but Sophia’s mother says she was not notified.

“Even if they did try to send the word out, you still don’t do that to a child,” she said. “You don’t take a lunch out of their hands. It probably could have, and should have, been handled in a different manner.”

The Salt Lake City School District Spokesman said they will review the notification system. He also said the district should have given the kids a grace period.

“They did take that tray away and gave them fruit and a milk. We don’t ever let kids go without any food entirely.”

To see the entire CBS article, click here.


  • Mary Belvin

    Not everyone can afford the over priced sometimes nasty lunches. We all can get free meals. Most of us live paycheck to paycheck and may not have the money right away. It has not happened to me but I would be very upset that the lunch room couldn’t give my child a little latitude.

  • jeff cook

    all schools throu out the left overs the stafff cant take some home in to the garbage. if the school system in alabama woiuld donate to feed the homeless they would not be hungret, i know this cause i have an aunt who works in the luncg foom and knew 3 others all said the same thing

  • sacklunch

    Lets all have our children pack their lunches then they will not go hungry. Then there will be no need for evil people mentioned above!

  • Kari

    So they take away food and give them different food. How stupid. Even if a parent didn’t get any notification of being delinquent on the account, they still took food out of a child’s hands and threw it in the trash. Glad I don’t live in Utah, I’d be on my way to the slammer!

  • Donya Sorenson

    No child should ever be made to feel differently or go hungry for lack of money. Those children did not receive a healthy filling lunch. Was the staff so cold hearted that they couldn’t come up with the price of a school meal for a child? The people in this district are cruel and the ones who failed to feed these children should be fired. What if it was their child?

  • Tina G

    This is horrible last time I checked schools were FOR children and these children had no idea…wow what if it were a mom or dad out of work and didn’t have lunch money the kids is going to have to suffer till whenever! This is WRONG!!!!!!!!! Not to mention these kids went hungry and their lunches were THROWN AWAY!!!!!! OMG this made me so made.

  • tammie

    This is very wrong.It is the parents responsibility to make sure the childs lunches are paid or that they have the moneyto pay for their lunch.Sometimes they may forget.The child should not go without their lunch because of this and what would especially make me mad is to know that they they threw it away because the child didn’t pay.Nothing about this is right!!!! People need to wake up and do the right thing!!!

  • Patti Menser

    Well this is just terrible and what would happen if it were your own child the bible says that we need to be humble love as Jesus loved, so where is the love for children teachers this teacher that died on the cross for all to see how would he feel about this matter? this is an aweful thing that some of the parents can’t work, yes folks all I can say is WWJD if he where here on earth walking among us I think this stinks let those people go hungery or go back to packing lunches I would never live in this state with what these people are doing to these children God made out of the dust of this earth WAKE UP FOLKS! <3

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