PARMA -- A Utah school district recently made national headlines for throwing away students lunches when their lunch accounts were overdue.
Now, a local parent says it is happening right here in Northeast Ohio.
Tracy Mora says her 14-year-old daughter had her lunch thrown away twice because she needed money in her account. Kids are given complimentary cheese sandwiches, fruit, vegetable and milk when they don't have money for lunch. Her daughter received a cheese sandwich, too. The district confirms that.
Two weeks ago, she was so humiliated her mom says she hid in the bathroom.
"They could have called us and we would have paid," says Tracy Mora. The district does provide cheese sandwiches and milk and fruit when kids don't have money in their accounts.
High school students' parents say they are not able to have the cheese sandwiches. Mora says throwing away the food in front of the children is embarrassing.
This is the statement we received from the Parma Schools.
"It is the practice in the Parma City Schools to ensure a healthy lunch for all students, even when money is owed on a student's account. The Parma City School District has several measures in place to ensure our students are fed and ready to learn:
- Online payments and low-balance alerts are available to make it easier for parents to track and pay for their children's food
- Parents are personally notified by their child's school when their child has been unable to pay for lunch for more than three days
- Parents may apply for free and reduced lunch at any time. Qualifying students are immediately made eligible. Assistance is available to assist parents in filling out the form
- Parents may notify the Nutrition Services Department at 440-885-2453 at any time if they know their child's food account balance is empty and their child will be provided with lunch that day
- If a student's account is empty, his or her sibling's balance may be transferred over
- Students are leading campaigns in our schools to raise awareness about the importance of eating breakfast, with the goal to increase participation in breakfast by 25% at their buildings
- Parma City Schools applied for and were granted an exemption from USDA requirements to raise lunch prices this year.
At the elementary and middle schools, students who are unable to pay for lunch receive a courtesy balanced meal consisting of a cheese sandwich, fruit, vegetable and milk. We will work with any family in need of assistance to ensure no child goes hungry. Referrals should be made to the Food Services Department at 440-885-2453.