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Salt Lake City School District sets new policy after outcry over dumped lunches

Published: Friday, Feb. 7 2014 6:57 p.m. MST

Granite School District chef Jeff Gratton serves students lunch at Woodrow Wilson Elementary.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News Archives

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SALT LAKE CITY — Responding to backlash after Uintah Elementary School students had their lunches taken away and thrown into the garbage, district officials have enacted a policy mandating full meals for all students independent of account balances.

"The district and the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education believe children should always receive a full meal and that discussions regarding account balances should happen between adults, without involving children," states an official release on the district's website.

The policy states that school kitchen managers file a balance report at the end of each day, notify parents when a student's balance drops below $10, and work with the school administration if a negative balance becomes excessive. The policy also states that students are not to be asked for meal payments or asked to remind their parents about balances.

"The district and the board of education are continuing to review and investigate the child nutrition program to ensure strict adherence to these procedures and to determine what other changes may be necessary to fulfill their commitment to the children, parents and city," the statement reads.

Last week, several students at Uintah Elementary were stopped from eating their lunches and told that they had negative balances. The students were given a piece of fruit and milk, but because their lunches had already been served, they could not be given to other students and were instead thrown in the garbage.

Upset parents flooded the school district with calls, including some who reportedly threatened school officials. Last Friday, district spokesman Jason Olsen confirmed that two employees had been placed on leave while the incident is under investigation.

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

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