Birthday boy has school lunch taken away over $9 'debt'
A boy reportedly had his school lunch taken away on his ninth birthday due to an outstanding balance of $9 on his cafeteria account, ABC News reports.
Jefferson Sharpnack, from Ohio, tried to order cheesy breadsticks at lunch on September 3, but they were then taken away and replaced with "bread on cheese from the fridge," he told ABC Cleveland affiliate WEWS.
Check out Jefferson's heart-rending version of events below, and see the school's response:
According to Jefferson's grandmother, Diane Bailey, Jefferson came home from school with a note claiming he owed $9 on his lunch account. However, Bailey insists she had spoken to the Green Local Schools administrator prior to the incident her and was under the impression her grandson had enough money on his account.
Bailey also told WEWS, that her grandchildren are supposed to be part of the free and reduced lunch program.
Julie McMahan, director of communications and community relations for Green Local Schools told ABC News that Jefferson was, in fact, given something to eat for his lunch.
"The young man was provided a lunch and he did eat," she said. "There is some chit chat out there that this child not did eat," she said.
McMahan explained that Jefferson was given an "alternative lunch" that day as his account was in arrears. She did not confirm the balance owed for privacy reasons but revealed that school guidelines had been revised so that "no child" from pre-K to 12th-grade would be served an alternative lunch.
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"All students enrolled in PreK through twelfth grades will receive the standard lunch for the day at their respective buildings regardless of their account balance," reads a note from the school district, provided to ABC News on Monday.
"We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches. Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals," the note continues.