Lunch Taken From Students And Tossed Into Trash

Posted on: 11:11 am, January 30, 2014, by

school lunch tray

(Salt Lake City, UT) Parents are angry and there are a lot of questions after dozens of students at a Salt Lake City elementary school were served lunch, only to have the food taken from them and thrown away.

The problem started with children whose lunch accounts had run out of money at  Uintah Elementary School.

Each child was handed their lunch, then when they got to the register the food was taken way and tossed if the student’s account was short money.

Parent Erica Lukes told KSTU-TV taking away her child’s lunch was “ridiculous.”

“I don’t think any child should have to feel like that over a two-dollar lunch balance,” she said.

The students were given milk and fresh fruits.

The school district says the food had to be tossed once it was handed to the student per health laws.

Jason Olsen, communication director for the Salt Lake City School District, said, “This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize.

We are also investigating what type of notification parents may or may not have received prior to this week. The schools says they inform students when they go through the lunch line if they have a low balance. They say they also send notes home in the student’s Monday folders. However, when contacted Monday or Tuesday, many parents were surprised by the news. The district has specific guidelines for school kitchen managers on how parents should be notified, and we are currently investigating to see if these guidelines were followed correctly.

We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again.”


  • In this economy we are punishing our children because parents either forget to send money or didn’t have any to send. You would think educators would know that a child who is hungry struggle to concentrate when they are hungry and this creates problems when grades fall because of a measly $2 lunch when our federal government is wasting so much money on the Obama’s and their vacations that could have been used to supplement for children’s school lunches so they would have sufficient food to be nourished and yet our politicians are either too stupid or too stingy to send money to school systems to make allowances for situations such as this. I as a parent do all I can to pay what it takes to feed my children while in school but those who can’t shouldn’t see their children punished yet the food is wasted by throwing it in the trash which is another example of local, state and federal Government waste.

    • jean says:

      regardless if the money was owed the childrenshould have gotten their lunch any way this is just awful , children cant help the mess ppl are in today with little money no jobs shame on you

    • Daisii says:

      It’ not the educators Bishop Greene who take student lunches. It is administration who take student lunches when they are not paid for. As an educator, I have paid for student lunches when I see they did not get their meal.

    • Leonard says:

      Your comment about the Obamas is 100% absurd and completely devoid of facts. At best, It demonstrates your sheer ignorance; at worst, it exposes your bigotry, gullibility and/or utter stupidity.

      Sir, please stop watching Fox News and listening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck. Frequent exposure to a parallel-universe is hazardous to ones intelligence, seriously.

  • Suzy Holman says:

    This is happening in most school districts. My child attends Oxford City Schools in Oxford,MS and this has happened to him and his friends. When I spoke to the superintendent about it he stated the kids didn’t go to Kroger and expect to get food without paying so they shculdn’t expect to come to school and get food without paying. I contacted state of MS to ask what the policy was and they stated the food program is federal and their policy is there cannot be any outstanding balances at the end of the school year but there was no policy on how the school goes about it. Not only is this wasteful but it is also very embarrassing for the children. This has been going on for several years. I’m glad people are finally catching on and saying something about it.

  • Memphis says:

    Well said Bishop Greene

  • Suzy, as a minister I feel for the children and this among other reasons is why I am considering a run for congress.

    • Mela Rene says:

      Please do, then go for the Oval Office!

    • Joe says:

      what you feel….is lightnheadedness

      the children are fine…..they got food

      their parents need to show more responsibility

      people like you…mr green…..(I doubt u are a bonafide bishop) are eager to spend other peoples money by promising free food, free tuition, free training…..and then you follow it up with free unemployment checks after your efforts produce kids with no inclination to work or contribute because they have gotten everything for free all their lives

      you…are the problem….not the solution

      • Rhonda says:

        Apparently, Joe, you have never been down on your luck or ever gone to bed hungry, gone unemployed, and a good formal education but a life. This isn’t something out about a hand out. No child in America should go hungry. For some,whose families haven’t had it as good as you have, school is the only place they can a hot meal. And for that to be taken away from them is the crime. Trillions are spent overseas never to be used because their governments don’t want it. As a parent, things haven’t always been as good for me as they have you. So not only did my children have the assurance of meals at school; many nights, I was the last one in the family to eat and that what they had left over. if our government is going to give it away regardless, the yes Charity begins at home.

    • CW says:

      Interesting comment…I wonder if another minister who lived about 2000 years ago or any of the the other ministers that he trained…ever considered making a run for the Sanhedrin or any political body hoping to bring about true change?

  • Amanda Rich says:

    I have a 3 year old that will start attending school soon and I hope my child isn’t punished like this. I don’t think no kid should go without any food. When they are in school that might be the only hot meal they get so I think they should be able to eat even though they don’t have no money. This economy that we are living in is not the best right now and parents are struggling to put a hot meal in front of there child every night so its not going to hurt the state to furnish a hot meal each day to each kid. I pray that this matter is taking care of and that those children that didn’t get to eat that day don’t go through this situation again.

    • Joe says:

      you should actually read the article…the kids got fruit and milk….

      THINK……the answer is not free food and forgiveness of stupidity on the part of the parents

      yet every liberal screams…..everything we want must be free!!!!!!!

  • Beth Frey says:

    Not only what an absolute embarrassment for the kids, but what a waste of food. Weren’t they “losing” money by just throwing the food away? I am glad that I am lucky enough to live in a school district that provides free breakfast and lunches for all kids that attend any of their schools. In our country people are struggling hard enough to feed our children dinner when they come home, let alone lunch money or lunch to take to school. While this is horrible that it happened, at least the school district is willing to admit that it was handled wrong and they are at fault. Next they need to look into disciplining the lunch workers… Or the principle if they were the authority that told them to do so.

    • Joe says:

      you’re proud that someone pays your way?

      I think we just identified the problem in this country….

      freebies are destroying our pride and any ambitions adults and children might have

      wake up beth…..responsibility is not for state government to hold a monopoly upon……parents that cant feed their kids have failed…..

      free lunches are just another bailout

      • Christian says:

        Are you KIDDING?! “Free lunches are another bailout?!” Should our children work a few hours in the school sweat shops – just to make sure they pay their fair share?!

      • Beth Frey says:

        Excuse me, but I work to pay the taxes in MY community for my child to have free meals while at school. Just as YOU and everyone else in this COUNTRY does. It is unnecessary to be rude to someone over being APPRECIATIVE of the offer they are given. Maybe you should “wake up” to that.

      • Beth Frey says:

        And I CAN pay my child’s way. Trust me. I am PROUD of that. But there are many people who cannot because they have been laid off a job that they have worked hard to keep. Many times because the employer want’s to make an extra 50 cents. There is a BIG difference between someone who APPRECIATES a “hand out” ( as you say )… that works and CONTRIBUTES to our country and someone who DOES not try to better themselves and help our country.

      • Beth Frey says:

        Oh, and on another note. I hope you are never in a position where you yourself have to ask someone for help, because of rude people like yourself who have such a biased opinion. To each their own.

  • April says:

    Why not just make the kids pay before you dish up and hand over the food. What a waste of food. And for those concerned about children going hungry..well then lunch programs are worth looking into. There are solutions to these problems!

  • April W says:

    What really gets me is that they are served the food and when they get to the register, it’s trashed if they have a balance?! They would rather trash the food than let a hungry child eat. Unacceptable!

  • thatsbull says:

    they threw it away rather than giving it to the child. thats the real crime and to an elementary child at that. i dont care about thier notification policies. i care they wasted it in the garbage over feeding a child. hold the adult responsible and dont punish the kid for adult matters. its not an elementary kids responsibility to communicate for the school. they arent old enough or mature enough to understand adult business…all they know is its lunch time and are lined up by adults and instructed to get lunch. stupid and a waste of food they could have gave them over throwing it in the trash. this makes me so angry. fire the entire lot of them and put human beings in charge.

  • saraht1119 says:

    I’m sorry but what kind of soulless, poor excuse for a human being could take food from a child and throw it away in their face? That is more disgusting than the parents that didn’t pay their child’s account.

  • this happens every day in SCS schools this year. Why report on it happening in Utah, rather than reporting on this horrible practice right here in Shelby County?

  • tuffnoogies says:

    This happens right here in Shelby Count Schools. Why don’t you report on that????

    • BamBam84 says:

      Because, the top priorities in this “town” are rebuilding the city’s name, and fixing potholes. Something like this, they would rather have somebody else take the blame. -smh-

  • Kristina says:

    Our new SHELBY COUNTY (Memphis City takeover Schools) Schools do this so why don’t you report on that? It happens every day in Shelby County so get your news truck on jump on the story since it’s obviously newsworthy.

  • Sierra says:

    Pay your bills and you won’t have to worry about this.

  • Jeremy says:

    Why should schools be stuck with these programs? Kids go to schools to be EDUCATED not fed.

  • Melissa says:

    How would these cafeteria workers feel if they were handed their paycheck, then it was taken back and they were told to make do with a apple and a glass of milk? If the parent isn’t going to be able to pay for the school’s lunch for their kid, maybe we should go back to letting the kids go home at lunchtime and eat a lunch their parent has prepared.

  • Mrs Peacock says:

    If you can’t afford to feed YOUR child, then YOU shouldn’t have them!!!!!!

  • MikeBarret says:

    Salt lake city UTAH people….mormons…10 kids per mom..o wait now I know why they put the story in Memphis.

  • MikeBarret says:

    Also if you go to the East Basement she serving up some fish tacos down there.

  • Tammy says:

    in the past several could afford to feed their children but now with plants closing down, and businesses going belly up .. where is people going to get a job? ..i am ashamed of what this country is going to.. my step daughter went through the same thing in Mckezie Tn.. but she is in high school so i didnt say much.. these kinds were humilated to have throw their food in the trash in front of thier classmates

  • DJack says:

    Some of these comments are utterly stupid. This has happen to my child in SCS. She was given a cheese sandwich because her account had a zero balance. Not her fault and not even mine. I made three attempts to make a payment to my child’s account and got a confirmation number…so I thought the account was covered. But, we are all human, we make mistakes, systems have technical difficulties. So, stop talking down about the parents, you don’t know the situation. The fact is that the child’s lunch should not enter into the zero balance matter at all. At lunch time each child should be given a lunch regardless. The child is doing what he/she is supposed to do, coming to school to learn and in order to feed the mind, you must feed the body, so lunch is a part of education. There are many other ways to settle the account without involving the child. Deduct the amount from the next payment to account, hold the report card until the balance is cleared, withhold the promotion decision until the balance is cleared, refused registration for the next school term until the balance, etc. Something other than embarrassing the child, forcing them to eat less food than is needed , wasting food our tax dollars already paid for…….come on people, we are human, aren’t we?

    • MikeBarret says:

      DJack problem is solved. All students get 3 meals a day at school now didn’t you hear. Not just a cheese sandwich. I hope you feed your kid(S) better than schools.

  • 1blackman says:

    I pay my taxes so my children and others should eat if needed. Our taxes are set up to help feed the kids of all ages and grades. I work 2 full time jobs to make sure that mine have what they need on a daily basis, and don”t mind paying a liitle more to feed another. We have to remember that they are children, and look for ua has the adults to set the example for them to follow. At 1 point in time we ALL ate free lunch.

  • Make Mine Stupid says:

    That was EXTREMELY petty pf them. It’s the equivalent of someone snatching a sandwich from a starving homeless guy. The mean-spiritedness demonstrated here…..

    I’m just speechless….

  • Make Mine Stupid says:

    “of” I mean…

  • Steve Cohen will get right on this!

  • Ann says:

    I think its horrible the way this is portrayed in the media. The problem lies with the parents, if they were really concerned about their children they would make sure their child came to school with money for lunch or a packed lunch. No child will go hungry if they are given milk and fresh fruit for lunch. Why should I or anyone else have to pay for someones lunch. Its the parents responsibility alone to take care of their own children. These parents are teaching their children that all their needs should be met by the government. Thats a shame.

  • Rhonda says:

    Scrolling through reading all the comments that have been left there have been some much blame placing. This is something that all society should not go through. Regardless of anyone situation, everyone pays taxes in some shape, form, or fashion. Trillions are spent on aid that goes overseas that some countries don’t want our help. Regardless as to who is to blame, no child in America should go hungry and charity should begin at home.

  • Jose Ramirez says:

    Steve Cohen will get on this after finishing his evening smoke and dinner

  • Crazy Right Winger says:

    Apparently not one of you who have posted a comment on this story has heard that federal funds have been secured by the Shelby County School system to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner to every student starting next year. That’s right! 3 square meals a day. According to Tony Geraci, SCS Nutrition Services, every student will receive “free” food regardless of family income. No sign up is required and no money will be kept in the cafeterias starting next year. That being said, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Taxpayers will now be footing the bill to feed every child 3 times a day in Shelby County. Search for “free lunch” on this very website to read the article.

  • janet says:

    I work for hlms as a cook an we get alot of kids that dnt have their money topay for their lunches an yes our big boss told us to only take their tray if they can’t be charge anymore than we give them cracker and milk ;but i think if the kids parents can buy these high dollars xbox,playstations,micheal jordan…and ect. they should be able to put $.40 cent into their child account.

  • Donna says:

    students are at the mercy of their parents. Especially the elementary kids. We allow students to charge their lunch if no m0ney and they then owe the office the money. We will never let a child go hungry. We are here to feed the kids and if the parents do not see to it then we will. I can not say the same about other schools and cafeteria’s but that is our policy. We are a real SCS school and take care of our students.

  • trashed food hungry kids real problem somebody seriously needs to lose their job for this i’m really disturbed by this The cafeteria manager rather throw away food instead of sending notification for a 2.00 meal really!! I also hold the teacher responsible because if i’m not mistaken role call is taken daily and students pay for lunch then that’s how it was done when i was in elementary i’m 29 now

  • Mae says:

    Let’s stop playing the “Blame Game”. True, children’s needs are the parent’s responsibility. Every institution has rules and regulations and
    must be enforced by the person in charge. Often times the one in charge is following instructions from a higher authority. The higher authority is following rules set by the one (perhaps the government) who mandates how and when food is to be distributed. So, who’s the REAL CULPRIT? Parents, let’s communicate with our children and their school a little closer so these oops won’t happen again. I’m an educator and my child’s account has had a zero balance before, but I accept responsibility for allowing it to get too low. My child, however, was threatened to eat a peanut butter & jelly sandwich if she didn’t bring money and deposit in her account. Thanks be to God my child reminded me of the situation before it got to that. Should she have had to eat a peanut & jelly sandwich, I feel that, we, the parents would be at fault.

    God bless the children, the parents, & all who make up our school systems!

  • lisa j c says:

    Obama needs to give plp a raise on there food stamps again and to those who are on ssi and ss and start doing wat he said he was going to do when he went in office for us and start helping plp that needs the help and that’s pretty sorry of the school ti just sit there and take a kids food from them cause of money that’s just sorry looks like to me they need new plp to servers in the school that will help the kids that need it not take there food from them and throw it in the trash that’s just wrong to do such a thing to a child wat if somone done that to there kids wouldn’t they want to stand up and say something about it cause i bet there kids didn’t have to pay for there food

    • sherry says:

      lisa I am replyimg to your post beacuse I couldnt take the time to sign up for comment–this is not directed at your specific comment just an overall response-…
      clearly, this is a case and point of the haves and haves nots–and they are making a point with our children–little children. not the high schoolers who know to come home and tell the parents they need money but the lille ones who would be confused and hurt that they did not get a tray of food-
      now lets make the elementary children who know nothing anout bad economy and federal money go without lunch, be embarrassed, and a school district that states “well we couldnt put the food back on the line for health reasons we had to throw it away–those children needed to eat for health reasons!!!!! who are these monsters??????why are they working with children–money is appointed to schools for this reason soooo I am totally angry, disgusted–Obama what do you think???

  • renee says:

    I used to work at SCS in the cafeteria. I, as a parent, could not EVER turn a child away from lunch. My co-workers and I would bring out own money in and “lend” it out to the children who didn’t have money. As mothers, we couldn’t imagine our children being embarrassed in that way. Shame on those ignorant people!!! It’s hard enough with the peer pressure of school, much less trying to embarrass these sweet babies! Shame, shame, shame!!!

  • Cheshepe says:

    This recently happened to my kids. I have been laid off due to business closing and my mother passed away the same month. The funeral cost, the work my husband lost plus my unemployement set us back a whole month. I was unable to factor in school lunch for my middle schoolers. I’m not looking for a hand out. Why am I explaining my hardship to anyone? Its because sometimes we need a poster child. We are almost caught up but it would be nice if the school system had a program for families who can prove a temporary hardship. However, they dont and my kids have had friends give them money or share their lunch. I tried to keep them home on days i dont have $4.50 but i ended up in a truancy meeting. And I really wish people would stop saying a bailout, or a handout. What difference does it make? Jesus wants us to give to the poor and needy. If they take advantage it won’t last. They will eventually exhaust their resources. Besides the poor’s extortions of the government in this country falls very short compared to corporation’s subsidies, bailouts and tax breaks.

  • Joe Bo says:

    What an outrage, you people complain about free lunch in American schools. The Bush era got us involved in 2 wars that resulted in Trillions of dollars in US DEBT. In, fact we left behind soo much scrap mettal, that you could feed every child in this country for the next 60 years. Why the right wing imbeciles will not debate this issue is astounding. Instead, they choose to argue about a free lunch.

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