A cafeteria employee at Canon McMillan School District in Pittsburgh says she has quit her job due to “lunch shaming,” where some students aren’t served hot lunches over a new district policy.
Stacy Koltiska, told CBS Pittsburgh the school is essentially shaming students in an effort to get parents to pay for overdrawn lunch accounts.
Koltiska has spent two years working in the cafeteria at Wylandville Elementary but resigned last Thursday after she had to take away meals from two children.
“His eyes welled up with tears. I’ll never forget his name, the look on his face,” she said.
The new policy at Canon McMillan, was passed over the summer and says a hot meal item will be replaced by a sandwich if a student K-6 owes $25 or more to the district for lunches, and kids older than sixth grade will receive no lunch if they owe over $25.
Koltiska says it was enforced “the very first week of school on Friday,” and the children are humiliated and embarrassed by this policy.
“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 says due to the policy she had to take away the lunch and then throw it out.
The district says parents were notified in an email or by letter in August before the school year.
Superintendent Matthew Daniels says the policy is about collecting money owed, since before the policy, there were more than 300 families in deficit.
Since the policy was put in place, the 300 families went down to 66.
“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,” Koltiska says.
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