Cherry Hill school considering tuna fish sandwiches for students in lunch debt

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- At the Cherry Hill School board meeting on Tuesday night the "tuna fish proposal" was the discussion.

Current district policy states that if a student owes $10 or more in back lunches, the student is served an alternative meal of a tuna fish sandwich on wheat bread, milk or juice and a choice of fruits and vegetables.

Cherry Hill East High student body president Oliver Adler called the policy horrifying.

"The easily recognizable tuna fish sandwich would become a badge of shame," said Adler.

Another mother equates the tuna fish sandwich to a scarlet letter.

"I've had some lengthy interesting discussions with many second grade girls, they all know what the tuna fish sandwich means," she said.

At the board meeting, each board member spoke on the issue which has been deemed as "complex."

On their website, they state why this policy was adopted back in 2017: "343 accounts are in arrears by $10 or more, amounting to a deficit of $14,383."

The Cherry Hill School District has a budget of $216 million and ranks as one of the wealthiest districts in the state.

Though the policy is in accordance with state guidelines, many here say that doesn't make it right.

"The statute is wrong, the USDA is wrong because it's food shaming. This issue is not about financial responsibility, it's chump change, it's $14,000."

Though before the meeting, neighbor Pat McCargo said, "I think the district has to measure what's best for the taxpayers and what's best for the student."

Now, the policy states if the account goes above $20 they don't have to serve a meal to students. However, that has never been enforced here.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.