Food taken off boy's lunch tray over $9 debt

GREEN, Ohio -- The family of a 9-year-old says the boy was humiliated by a staff member who allegedly took away his birthday lunch because of a lunch-debt policy.

"The lunch lady didn't say anything. She just took away my cheesy bread sticks and sauce and put them over there," 9-year-old Jerfferson Sharpnack said.

On Aug. 30, Green Local school administrators sent the boy home with a note stating his account was in the negative.

"Students receive multiple means of communication whenever their accounts became in the negative," assistant superintendent Alana Niemiec said.

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Sharpnack's grandmother says she was left in tears after her grandson was humiliated in front of his classmates.

"You would take the food off a tray? You can't reserve it. You're going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn't make sense to me," grandmother Diane Bailey told WEWS.

She says after her grandson came home with the notice of negative funds in his account, she spoke with a school administrator to straighten out the issue.

Her grandson's enrollment in the free and reduced lunch program had not been finalized yet.

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The superintendent of Green Local Schools says policy changes are already being considered.

"We are reviewing all of those specifics. We're considering the idea of raising that debt cap from 15 to make sure that the student experience is positive in the lunch room," Niemiec said.

Krista Seals, the principal at Green Primary Schools, says the lunchroom staff has been addressed following the incident.

"We have spoken with our cafeteria staff already about how to handle things, maybe differently, and continuing to work with this family in particular as well," Seals said.
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