Controversial Lunch Policy In One Minnesota School District Is Overturned
The Stewartville School District is backtracking after landing in some very hot water.
The school district, located just outside of Rochester, has come up with a new student lunch policy after facing serious backlash regarding their current one.
The district's policy was to deny students a hot lunch or take their lunch away if they had a negative balance on their account, giving a child a sandwich instead. The district says this was their way of combating student lunch debt, which at one point was over $10,000 dollars.
The district gained statewide attention after local news in the area reported on an incident revolving around the controversial policy. The news report claimed a school employee threw away a student's lunch in front of everyone because they were in the red. (Note: this incident was not confirmed.)
The school board openly stated that student lunch debt is a huge problem - with the district facing nearly $11,000 in debt from unpaid lunch charges at one point in time. A GoFundMe account has been set up to offset the costs of the debt for now until they can come up with a better solution.
It seems they are on their way. The school board voted Monday to overturn the controversial policy. A new one was put in its place. The goal is to allow everyone a hot lunch so they can focus on their schooling during the day while also protecting those students that have a negative account balance.
The new policy states, "If a student has insufficient funds to pay for a meal, the student will still be allowed to purchase the meal, which will cause the account balance to become negative. All students will be provided a meal regardless of meal account status."
The school says they will focus on better communication with families for those that have a negative account balance rather than taking away lunch privileges. You can read the full policy here.