For one elementary school in Salt Lake City, it turns out there really is no such thing as a free lunch.
According to TheSalt Lake Tribune, over 40 students at Uintah Elementary School had their lunch trays taken away on Tuesday when it was discovered they had an outstanding balance in their food accounts. To make matters worse, the confiscated lunches were then thrown out in order to comply with a school rule that food not be served twice. The students were given milk and fruit instead.
"It was pretty traumatic and humiliating," said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter was one of the students affected.
Salt Lake City District spokesperson Jason Olsen told The Tribune that the child-nutrition department became aware of the large number of students with negative balances at Uintah Elementary School and decided to withhold those kids' lunches to deal with the issue—one day after alleged attempts to contact the parents by phone. Olsen added that it's standard practice in the district to give students fruit and milk in lieu of lunch if they don't have money to pay for it.
"I think it’s despicable," added Lukes, who said she was not aware of an outstanding balance on her daughter's account. "These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up."
The Salt Lake City School District has since apologized for their actions, posting a statement on its Facebook page:
"This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize."
What do you think of the school district's actions?