9-year-old Ohio boy has 'worst birthday ever' after school denies him lunch for not paying '$9 due'

"I got my cheesy breadsticks and put in my number," Jefferson said, "And when I was going to check out, the lunch lady didn't say anything, took away my cheesy breadsticks and sauce, put them over there, and took out bread on cheese from the fridge and put it on my tray."


                            9-year-old Ohio boy has 'worst birthday ever' after school denies him lunch for not paying '$9 due'

GREEN, OHIO: Following an unfortunate incident where a nine-year-old's lunch was taken away from him at his school on his birthday and he was left embarrassed by cafeteria staff, his grandmother has called for a change in the institute's policy. 

Diane Bailey said that her grandson, Jefferson Sharpnack who turned nine on Tuesday, September 8, had the "worst birthday" experience at the Green Primary School cafeteria, while his friends watched. And it all happened because of a misunderstanding. 

"I got my cheesy breadsticks and put in my number," Jefferson said, "And when I was going to check out, the lunch lady didn't say anything, took away my cheesy breadsticks and sauce, put them over there, and took out bread on cheese from the fridge and put it on my tray."

Days before the incident, on August 30, Jefferson got a note from the school stating he owed $9 for his lunch account. The very next morning Bailey said she called up the school and straightened things out, explaining to them that her grandson was enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.

Paperwork for the program was taking time to process and till then, Bailey had been told by the school administration that she could write a check for her grandson's lunch balance. 

"In my mind, he didn't owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district," Bailey said. "And my other question is, if they take the food off of your tray, they have to throw it away. You would take the food off a tray and you can't reserve it? You're going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn't make sense to me."

After the incident, the Green Local Schools issued a written statement, saying that they were reevaluating their policies: 

"We are in the process of looking into this specific situation. We were not notified directly from the family, but district employees reached out after being made aware of a social media post. The lunch program is complex due to federal requirements. As it relates specifically to our policy, students receive multiple means of communication when their accounts become negative," the statement read.

It added, "Currently, students who are $15 or more in debt are provided a lunch that includes fruit, vegetables, and either a cheese quesadilla or cheese sandwich. Additionally, our district works hard to ensure that students who qualify for free and reduced lunches receive them. We have Family Support Specialists on staff whose primary jobs are to reach out and help families in need.

The statement concluded: "It is important to us that students have positive experiences in the lunchroom and all areas of the school. For that reason, we will continue to look into our practices and come up with solutions that work for our students and families."

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