Jason Olsen, spokesperson for the Salt Lake City school district (SLCSD) explained to the press in vague detail how school lunches were taken from 32 students at Uintah elementary with “overdue lunch accounts”.
A school cafeteria manager and school district supervisor involved in the refusal to feed elementary students are on administrative leave as the SLCSD conducts an investigation into the purpose behind the shocking actions.
Olsen said that “students whose $2 meals were thrown out were given milk and fruit, a standard practice when students don’t have lunch money. This was a mistake. There shouldn’t have been food taken away from these students once they went through that line.”
Senators Todd Weiler and Jim Dabakis spoke to the press as they stood in front of Uintah elementary school.
Weiler commented: “To me, this rises to the level of bullying. These children were humiliated in their own school, in front of their classmates.”
Dabakis stated: “We just plain need more money to feed our school children. There should not be a hungry child in this state. If the district does not address the problem, lawmakers will look at whether state policies need to change.”
The elementary school services mostly middle class students.
After speaking to the press, Weiler and Dabakis met with school officials and students in a closed door conference without the media being admitted.
Parents complained about the lunch seizures as “humiliating and demoralizing” and that no child should have to “go through that.”
Another parent remarked: “Even if they did try to send the word out, you still don’t do that to a child. You don’t take a lunch out of their hands.”
Olsen admitted that the school district is receiving “angry messages from around the country” for the actions of their employees.
In response, “the school principal has set up an account to cover lunch for students without money in their accounts, and other principals are taking steps to ensure that no more lunches are seized.”