We should be doing everything possible to stop all variations of shaming, but instead we’re adding more shamefulness to the list. “Lunch shaming” is a thing now, and it might be the most heartbreaking form of shaming we have seen.
Former cafeteria employee Stacy Koltiska quit her job at Wylandville Elementary just a few weeks into the new school year. She didn’t quit because the kids were harassing her or because she hated her co-workers.
Koltiska quit because the school forced her to be a villain. She told KDKA-TV that the school district’s new policy had her taking away hot meals from the children she was hired to serve.
She described the painful moment:
“His eyes welled up with tears. I’ll never forget his name, the look on his face.”
The new policy, which was passed over the summer for grades K-6, states that hot meal items will be replaced by a cheese sandwich if $25 or more is owed to the district for lunches. For kids above 6th grade, they’ll receive a tray full of nothing if they owe more than $25.
And one might think, since this is a new policy, the school district may give parents a few weeks to digest the change.
Koltiska revealed she had to enforce the new rule “the very first week of school,” because apparently the school district doesn’t care if a child is too hungry to focus on their math test.
When she was forced to take away a second hot lunch from a child, she resigned from her position and shared her traumatizing experience with her friends on Facebook.
“The woman I was working with was trying to get my attention, but I didn’t see ‘cause we’re serving so many kids, to tell me before I gave him the chicken to give him the cheese. But it was too late. He already had his tray.”
And you know what happened to that tray of hot food? The trash can ate it. Our nation’s dumpsters are eating better than our nation’s children.
The cheese sandwich they receive is more like a punishment. As Koltiska points out, it’s not even a toasted cheese sandwich.
“State law requires that children K through 6 must be given a lunch. In Rule 808.1 it says that children in K through 6 will be provided a “Sandwich” what You don’t know is that they are being given One Piece of Cheese on Bread. This isn’t even being toasted. Yet they are still being charged the FULL PRICE of a HOT LUNCH that is being DEINIED to them.”
Why bother with the bread? Let’s just throw a few Kraft Singles at their face and hope it sticks. Superintendent Matthew Daniels claims this policy wasn’t designed to shame children. He says parents are notified weekly of lunch balances.
He also points out that the number of families behind on their lunch payments went down from over 300 to 66.
“They fluctuated between $60,000 to $100,000 owed annually. Now, it’s down to less than $20,000”
Koltiska doesn’t care about the numbers, though. Not when children are involved. She believes there has to be a better way.
She’s encouraging all parents to email Superintendent Daniels and Joni Mansmann, Director of Business and Finance. If you’d like to support her and send her some encouraging words, click on this link to read her full post on Facebook.
Image is a YouTube screengrab.