A Minnesota school apologized after staff threw away hot meals for students who had outstanding debt and replaced them with cold food. Forty students at Richfield High School had h*t lunches taken off of their trays when a cafeteria worker saw they had outstanding lunch debts of more than $15. The meals had been put in the tra-sh and the sho*king inc-ident, which occurred on Monday, was recorded on social media, KARE11 reported. The h*t dinners were replaced by cold options. Management at the school, which is seven miles south of Minneapolis, later apologized and cla!m-ed students should not have been treated in that manner.
‘We deeply re-gret our actions today and the embar-rassment that it cau-sed several of our students,’ the dis-trict said in a statement. ‘We have met with some of the students involved and apologized to them.’ The students were notified in front of their friends that they owed outstanding money and were not taken aside by other support staff and told in pr!vate, as should have been the case, the outlet reported. Richfield High School Principal Latanya Daniels told KARE: As students were proc-eeding through the line, if they had a balance of neg-ative $15 or more, their hot lunch was replaced with an alternative lunch and they also received the dist-rict policy.’
Asked if the students were ‘humi-liated’, she replied yes. In the same interview, Richfield Superintendent Steven Unowsky told KARE to humi-liate students was the ‘exact opposite of the inten-tion of our work.’ ‘None of that is supposed to occur in a lunch line, those are supposed to be pri-vate conversations. A hot lunch should never be taken from a child.’ ‘If they have gotten into a line and they choose something, then the conversation is no longer available, it happens at a different time. He added: ‘There are multiple fa-ilures we had in this situation and our job is to fix it. First and foremost (in) the way we tre-ated our kids. We should never leave kids with the feeling they had from the experience. Unowsky cla!me-d the school team failed and they are working to rect!fy the mistakes they made.
‘I think in education sometimes we disappoint, sometimes we don’t do what we set out to do. One of the things that leadership is supposed to do is acknowledge when we make mistakes. ‘There are multiple failures we had in this situation and our job is to fix it. First and foremost [in] the way we tre-ated our kids. We should never leave kids with the feeling they had from the experience.’ Daniels said the students should have been notified in advance and ‘respectfully’ by a social worker or a counselor. They are then given the opportunity to bring in any amount of money to contribute to their balance. She said the students have received an apology and she was due to speak to more of them on Wednesday.
Richfield is expected to have a $20,000 unpaid lunch bill at the end of the school year. Around 65 percent of students within the school community receive free meals.
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