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School Officials Toss Students’ Lunches in Trash Over Parents’ Unpaid Debts

School lunch
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Up to 40 kids at Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah, had their lunches taken away from them and thrown into the trash on Tuesday because they—or, rather, their parents—had outstanding balances on their account.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the school district tried to reach out to the parents of the children on Monday and early Tuesday. When they did not respond, the district’s child-nutrition manager decided to deal with the delinquent parents another way: by showing up at the school and taking lunch away from students after they had already received them.

Erica Lukes, the mother of an 11-year-old girl who had her lunch taken away from her was appalled. “It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” she said. “I think it’s despicable. These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up.”

A spokesperson for the district commented on the situation, saying that this particular school had a large amount of delinquent accounts, and the manager felt the need to do something about it. Students whose lunch was taken away were given milk and fruit instead.

The outcry from the public has caused the district to respond to the situation:

What do you think? Should the district have reacted the way they did?

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