(CANONSBURG, Pa.) — A cafeteria worker at a Pennsylvania elementary school quit her job after she was required to take a hot lunch away from a student who had fallen behind on payment.
Stacy Koltiska announced her resignation from Wylandville Elementary School in Canonsburg on Facebook Thursday, saying that she will “never forget the look on his face” and the tears that “welled up” in his eyes when she had to take away a plate of chicken from a first-grader on Sept. 9, during the first week of school.
The Canon-McMillan School District implemented a new policy for this school year, Rule 808.1, which states that any student between kindergarten and sixth grade with an unpaid balance of $25 or more must be provided a sandwich, a fruit or vegetable serving, and milk. Students in grades 7 to 12 will not be allowed to charge any additional lunches and will not receive a lunch at all, ABC affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reported.
The policy was implemented to deal with backlog of unpaid meal accounts, according to WTAE-TV.
The students are given one piece of cheese on bread that isn’t toasted and are still being charged the full price of a hot lunch, Koltiska said.
“They’re being charged the same price, and then we have to throw it away,” Koltiska told WTAE-TV. “Because once that child’s touched that tray, we can’t then serve it to someone else.”
Koltiska wrote on Facebook that she planned on resigning the next Monday but had forgotten to when her mother died the day before — until the same incident happened again that week.
“I had the same sick feeling,” she said. “What makes this even MORE SICKENING is that we throw so much food away [EVERY DAY].”
Koltiska wrote that despite the “hot and hard work” she loved the “joy and excitement the younger children get from something as simple as a school lunch.” She accused the school district of “shaming” the student, according to WTAE-TV.
In her letter of resignation, Koltiska wrote: “Adopting this policy has shown that this district places the bottom line as a priority over the children’s most basic needs. I can no longer be a part of it.”
ABC News could not immediately reach the Canon-McMillan School District for comment. District Superintendent Matthew Daniels said that the new policy has drastically cut down the number of parents who don’t keep the lunch accounts for their students current, WTAE-TV reported.
“There has never been the intent with the adoption of this policy to shame or embarrass a child,” he said.
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