A Pittsburgh elementary school’s new “lunch shaming” policy has apparently had such a devastating effect on the kids there that it has caused one cafeteria employee to quit her job, CBS News reports.
Stacy Koltiska worked for two years at the Wylandville Elementary cafeteria, but she called it quits because of a new policy that takes away students’ hot lunches if their parents have fallen behind more than $25 in paying for those lunches.
Koltiska quit after a specific instance in which she inadvertently gave a student a chicken lunch, but since his parents were in debt for the lunches, she had to take it away and replace it with a cheese sandwich.
“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,” Koltiska said.
Koltiska, who had to throw away the hot lunch after taking it away due to school policies, recounted the incident in a lengthy Facebook post.
“I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears,” she wrote.
According to the school policy, a child’s hot meal item will be replaced by a sandwich if $25 or more is owed, but for older children, no lunch will be provided if that same debt is accrued.
“There has never been the intent with the adoption of this policy to shame or embarrass a child,” Superintendent Matthew Daniels said, adding that since the policy went into place, the number of families in debt has gone down from 300 to 66.
But Koltiska thinks there should be a more effective method of implementing the policy.
“I’m not saying the parents shouldn’t be held accountable, but I think there has to be a better way than involving the children,” she said.