Yes, yes, that's it! After an in depth investigation it turns out it was a
computer glitch that ripped the lunches out of the hands of children and threw
them into the trash can. It's the computer's fault! On a side note, we
admit it was really just a communication error on our part. No biggie. Problem
Lame. There's no way to undo the humiliation that the kids are feeling.
They should at least get free lunch for the rest of the year...and don't
compound the humiliation by publicizing it.
Way of the Warrior has it right.No -- the new payment is not to blame.
The computer did not take away the trays, a person did. Apparently that person
was on the bottom of the pecking order and has been placed on administrative
leave. Go up the pecking order until you find the person that ordered the
action. The school board says they do not yet know who that person is --
clearly not trying very hard. If the school board ever finds out who that
person is then it can be determined if that person was following some school
board policy or is merely an idiot.
Rise of the Machines. Call out the Terminator - Computers are taking over.
Today it small children's' lunches - tomorrow Nuclear Missiles will be
flying unless Matthew Broderick can convince the machine the "only way to
win is not to play the game" or in this case "not to serve the
lunches."Apparently some of our Human Counterparts have sided
with the computers and have become minions of the machines. Compelled by words
on the screen they snatch food from little children and obey without regard.The End is Near..... Someone call Neo.(Please see The
Terminator, The Matrix and War Games if this post makes no sense)
Taking away a child's lunch is cruel and traumatizing. Whichever adult or
adults decided on that course of action should apologize personally and
individually to each affected student. And surely the school district can
provide some kind of training to their decision makers. It should at least hit
on at least the following two points:1. Policies designed to
humiliate have no place in the school system.2. If you need something from
parents, you reach out to those parents.They could serve lunch at
the training. Say, a pint of milk and a piece of fruit.
Pay your bills. End of problem.
Not only should the District employee who humiliated those students be fired,
but the District employee(s) who are now trying to blame a computer program for
causing the problem should be fired. It was an adult who threw the lunches into
the garbage, not a computer program. It was an adult who decided that
elementary aged students should be ridiculed in front of their classmates.The entire District office should be shut down until the people there
realize that humiliating little children is not part of their job description.
The "investigation" follows the pattern set by... ummmm, certain
National "leaders" -- blame someone else / couldn't have been my
I understand that what happened was not good. But shouldn't the parents
who did not pay their bill assume some responsibility regardless of whether
there was a computer glitch that didn't send them a notice? I check my
students account balance regularly as a parent and if gets under $10.00 I put
more money in. Our current society has basically allowed parents to give any
responsibilities associated with raising children to someone else, specifically
the school system. Again, not defending they way this was handled, but if
parents had been responsible and paid their bills, it would not have happened.
Why is it that you people don't understand the Utah school system?This is the way it has been for decades and it's called holding people
accountable!!Stop acting as if you want free lunches or a taxpayer handout
in exchange for your kids having been "humiliated" due to a computer
malfunction.The problem has been found and it will be solved so let's
we move on and stop the witch hunt.You don't pay for your kids
lunches there will be consequences so stop pressing that you want a free ride
for a computer error.The system should continue to be as it's now,
"you don't pay yuour kids gets a salad or a PBJ and milk" end of
Although kidly humiliation was clearly wrong, I do sympathize with schools
regarding these programs... I have a problem with the whole idea of
a "right" to a school lunch, if you don't pay. I actually have a
child who is sent to school with a nutritious lunch from home. When that child
arrives at school the lunch mysteriously does not. Then I get an email from the
school stating that I owe the school X amount of money because my child
didn't have a lunch and begged for one in the cafeteria, because there was
something better to be had. I'm frustrated with the system
because it seems to me that my child SHOULD go hungry. I don't think
missing a lunch for a day is going to cause any serious health problems, at
least not for my kid... especially if they threw their food away to eat school
lunch. I think schools should be required to contact parents before
charging money to the kids.
It is laughable to hear the school district blaming a computer for ripping food
away from kids and throwing it in the trash. District officials need to be
investigated. If they are are offering up this excuse they are hiding other
A couple of things about computers, Kelly:They are really stupid.
They reach results based on the information they are provided by people. Ergo,
it is not the computer's fault.Computes also do not have arms
and legs. They do not force lunch ladies to children's lunches. They
provide information; people then make decisions based on that information. It
is not the computer's fault.You did this, Kelly. It's
time to stand up and be honest.
yellow journalism......you got your attention therapy by creating a half truth
into a whole repulsive experience. Two bad practices do not make a right
Um, McMurphy: You really think Warrior was serious? I think there was a healthy
dose of sarcasm going on...Article: "District officials have
said they are still investigating whether taking lunches away was proper
protocol in this situation." ... Are you kidding me?
A glitch? Why don't they say "if you like your school lunch, you can
keep it" while they are at it?
Why not put the cashier at the FRONT of the line, so that if they are going to
deny a lunch, they don't have to throw the food away? Another question is,
if they didn't allow the child to eat the food because he hadn't paid
for it, how does throwing it in the trash pay for the food?
I'm still concerned about who has been sent home and who is still fully
employed. The last I saw, the $17/hour Food Service Manager and the $9/hour
cafeteria worker have been sent home pending termination. The $144,211.
District Nutrition Operations Service Director who stood by and told the lower
level employees what to do is still employed and is still making excuses for the
District's actions. If this isn't corrected, I sincerely hope that
Salt Lake City residents will take action to ensure that it never happens again.
The excuses being offered are lame. It seems to me that a bully from District
came to the local school and browbeat employees into doing something that was
fundamentally wrong, something that made the local employees cry while they were
doing it. I'm sure the District Director told the local school employees
that what they were doing was "good for the students." I don't
want this to become another case where privilege and wealth protects the person
most responsible for an evil act. So far between the excuses and the coverups
it looks like that is what is happening.
I think I did hear an apology in the article from Kelly Orton. This happened to
me a couple of years ago in another school district. I had made a payment but it
did not show up on the school computer. However, taking lunches from children is
In my opinion, its a great chance to teach about making mistakes and asking for
forgiveness! Yes, bring in the 600 cupcakes. Teach the children that we all
make mistakes and that is part of life. Don't let a feeling of
victimization permeate the school. Say your sorry and then move on. And
yes, parents, its your job to make sure your kid has lunch. If you don't
know they don't have any money, then you aren't paying enough
attention! Please get involved in your child's education and life. Say
you are sorry, and make a change. We all slip sometimes, its OK. Just promise
you'll do better next time.
While it is, indeed, a computer issue that kept the parents from being notified,
it wasn't a computer that took those lunches away and threw them in the
garbage. It's all good and well for the school district to state that they
are investigating to find how the order to take those lunches was given, but
just how big a chain of command do they have to deal with? A reasonable person
could interview everyone connected with the decision within a couple hours and
have an answer.
We all know that the leadership in the SL district knows who gave the direction
to toss the lunches, we also know that the district, the child nutrition program
personnel know they messed up and no there is no dignified way out of this.
Just get with all the kids and their parents and apologize, give the kids one
free lunch and have the computer software adjusted immediately. And to the
parents - if you don't get an email notification of your child's lunch
account just check it every Sunday to make sure they are at least covered for
A glitch may have been responsible for showing that the kids hadn't paid,
but it wasn't responsible for giving the food to those children then taking
it away from them and throwing the food in the trash--that was a really bad
decision by a human being.
raybies, I actually don't have a problem with the idea that kids have a
"right" to a school lunch. As a parent, it's fine if you want to
send a lunch with your child, but I think children should have a "right"
to at least one meal a day.
This is all hogwash about the parents not being notified - they are just trying
to re-direct the blame. As a parent, I have used this system for my
children's schools in Orem (Elementary, Jr High, and High School) and I am
sent a notice anytime any of the accounts reaches $5. We have used this system
for many years now and I have always been notified when my children's
accounts reach $5 (or less).
hamrdown, If you will read the article, you will see that Salt Lake
District's old program did the same thing. They now have a NEW program
that does not notify parents unless they specifically ask to be notified -
something parents were not told.
Funny to me that parents are passing the buck because of their inability to keep
track of their own kid's school lunch account balance. Do these same
parents just spend money from their personal checking accounts until the bank
comes and takes away their checkbook or debit card at the checkstand in Walmart?
Or are they responsible to know their balance and not spend more than
they've pre-deposited before they head into Wally World?
1) No excuse for punishing and embarrassing the kids because of irresponsible
parents and idiotic decisions by adults to trash meals.2) Parents know
their kids are eating school lunch, they know how much lunch costs, they know
how much they've paid-ergo-it isn't rocket science to know when your
kid's account is at zero-take the responsibility to put money in the
account, or send a brown bag to school with until you have money in the account!
It doesn't take a genius to manage a school lunch payment account. Sheesh,
it would be interesting to see the checkbook management skills of some of these
parents.3) The forced participation in the MyPayment+ program is a racket.
The system charges a fee every time you deposit money into your kid's
account. So you not only pay for the meal but you pay for the privilege of
making it easy for the school to electronically know when it's time to take
a kid's lunch away and throw it in the garbage. (Oh, and it's quite
easy to sign up for account balance notifications. A middle schooler could show
parents how with ease)4) See #1 above
This doesn't address the bigger problem which is: The district's lunch
distribution system is the true failure. As I understand it, the kids to whom
this happened had made it ALL the way through the lunch line, had their food
dispensed and were THEN told they didn't have enough money in their
accounts. To me, this method only facilitates the same situation happening
again. The district needs to modify their process so that it's determined
BEFORE they receive their food that account has insufficient funds and that
they've exceeded the maximum number of free lunches they can have. I also agree that parents do need to be more active in managing their
kids accounts, but in this case, parents were accustomed to the old system and
both they and the district weren't adequately educated on the difference
between the new and old systems. The bottom line is that this incident has
revealed some flaws in the current lunchroom procedure and now the district has
a chance to improve it and we can all move on.
I certainly believe in personal responsibility and accountability. But why
should the children be held responsible for the failure of the parents to keep
the lunch account current? And what lesson in "personal responsibility and
accountability" did the children learn when their lunches were taken away
and tossed in the trash?That was just plain stupid. No way the
computer glitch is responsible for that decision. How about some consequences
for the people who did itGiven the current emphasis on nutritious
lunches, where does a box of milk and an apple fit in that plan?
Very first paragraph computer payment system glitch the reason "several"
students . . . I thought the first reports we heard were way more than several
students that got their lunches taken away. They blow it off like it was not
very many and no big deal and oh, by the way it was the computers fault. Did
the computer make and sign school policy? Just asking. I think I would have
risked my job and given them the lunches. Then I would have taken them to court
to save my job if I had to. Nobody was willing to stand up and Chose The Right
that day? How sad!
@Fred44No, the parents should not assume responsibility for having their
kids harassed. We live in a civil society, If you owe me money I dont' go
intimidate your kids; that is what a mobster would do. I send a bill or handle
like a civil person.People dont' pay their bills all the time, that
is a part of life. Your system for debt collection SHOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT
include shaming children.
There is no "right" to a school lunch. Should a child or teenager have
a meal in the middle of the day, yes. It is the parent's responsibility to
provide that meal, either send it with the child/teenager or arrange to purchase
it at school.If you remove the federal government from the equation
you remove several layers of bureaucracy automatically. Delete the state and
leave the district to organize how to provide a noon meal service. Funding can
be by meal ticket, electronic balance or cash - it is legal tender for all debts
public and private. IMO a limited, simple menu would suffice. The
school meal is not meant to be a restaurant but a food stop in the day. A bite
to eat, some down time and then back to the day's business - learning.I have made my breakfast since Junior High and lunch too, or carried
money to purchase a lunch. We need to encourage parents and children to be more
self reliant and stop waiting for someone else to provide for their needs.
It's pretty clear that the action towards the students was carried because
of District policy. The District needs to be held accountable and take the
burden off the school employee who was following policy.
Wow, what a payment system, it made the decision then got up and took those
kids' lunch away!
Midvaliean,So if I send my kid to McDonald's to get lunch with
no money and they refuse to serve him, McDonald's is harassing and shaming
him? If my kid walks across the street to a convenience store for lunch and
grabs some chips and a milk a banana and sandwich and clerk says no you
can't have those because you didn't pay for them, the store has
harassed and shamed him and should just give him the food and come up with a
better method for collection?As I said the school employees could
have done a much better job of handling the situation, but why do we come down
on them for a mistake that is being corrected, and place zero accountability on
the parents who didn't pay their bills?Kind of hypocritical
don't you think. Both sides where at fault, but only one is held
dmcvey, to say that children have a "right" to at least one meal a day
needs to be qualified. That "one meal" is not the school's
responsibility to provide. Children have a "right" to be cared for by
their parents or designated guardians. Parents, don't have a
"right" to abdicate their responsibility to anyone else for meeting
their children's needs, unless prior agreement between the parent and
guardian has been established and agreed upon.Clearly, the current
system is broken. No meal should be taken away once in a child's hands. It
would be a noble thing for the school to have procedural exceptions to follow (a
safety net of sorts) for when a child shows up to the line without the means to
pay. But ultimate responsibility for any child rests with their parents or
So just how did throwing lunches in the trash accomplish anything?Did it
save any money? No.Did it reduce labor? Nope, it increased it.These things always hit the news. The education establishment should consider
how it will look to the public before they do something stupid.
Even if it was a system glitch, it was a 'human' decision by someone
to take food away from kids and throw it in the trash. Wrong wrong.
Feed the kids--- and work out any problems, discrepancies, concerns,
or glitches in a sane, kind and rational way later.
If they were so concerned about saving the money the parents supposedly
hadn't paid, why did they throw the lunches in the trash? They could have
let the kids eat and billed the parents later, but throwing food away was just
plain wasteful, especially when we are always hearing about how financially
strapped school districts are. This was a bureaucratic absurdity.
As has been suggested by others and should have been expected, when it all comes
out in the wash, some faceless entity was ultimately responsible.In
my way of thinking, no one's job description should ever include
humiliating someone, tearing food from their hands, cutting up a credit card in
front of dozens of onlookers, etc. People need to have the fortitude to stand
up and say, 'this isn't right'. Its not enough to say, 'I
was just following orders'.I hope they get that pesky computer
glitch fixed and I hope that people will get the notion that it is not okay to
publicly humiliate someone. There has to be a better way.
That's America, no one to blame for anything and no consequences. USA USA
The philosophy driving public education these days is that our children really
belong to society at large; not to their parents. So, if the federal government
is going to dictate the direction of our children's education independent
from parental oversight, then maybe the government schools should feed the
bodies of our children independent from parental responsibility. No, I'm
not seriously promoting entitlement to free lunch; I'm in favor of parental
involvement and responsibility for all phases of our children's
education.I say that parents should have the right to review and
provide oversight of public school curriculum, materials, testing, data-mining
confidential family information, and school-lunch menus aimed at our
children's minds, values, egos, self-esteem, and bodies.Incidentally, we have been invited annually to join our children for school
lunch. In our opinion, these "mostly cold lunches" are neither
nourishing nor appetizing. What have we come to? I remember "hot
lunch" (what we called school lunch) from my childhood as being a
well-balanced, delicious, freshly cooked meal. The lunch ladies took pride in
what they prepared. Not so these days. Michelle has had her way!
"There's no way to undo the humiliation that the kids are
feeling.""Taking away a child's lunch is cruel and
traumatizing.""...ripping food away from kids""...the District employee who humiliated those students be fired""No, the parents should not assume responsibility for having their
kids harassed. We live in a civil society, If you owe me money I dont' go
intimidate your kids; that is what a mobster would do. I send a bill or handle
like a civil person.""...include humiliating someone,
tearing food from their hands, cutting up a credit card in front of dozens of
onlookers, etc."A slightly regrettable issue, easily fixed, that
has been elevated to a melodrama of epic proportions. The quotes above are tame
compared to some I've read on other stories and, as we all know, death
threats have been made over this. As for the humiliated kids, I
should think the vast majority of them were over it by second recess. In their
innocence they just "get" that this is a first world problem.
I pay my bills when I get them. I know what they look like.If a
biller changes style -- telling me by way of some obscure communication (bulk
mail? website terms-of-use that I never visit? microprint "notice" in a
pile of stuff a child is supposed to take home?) that I must opt-in to receive
bills -- there *will* be a problem.
It's bad enough that children had their lunches taken away because of a
computer glitch but what about the employees that were put on leave? The apology
would be great to give to the students but the employees need it as well and
also they need to make sure there is no write up in their files.
I agree with the other commentators. What brain-dead mindset would suggest that
we let kids go through the line, and then we jerk their lunch trays out of their
hands and trash them. This IS NOT A COMPUTER PROBLEM. This is an
administrative foul-up that places the interests and feelings of the children
far down at the bottom of the list. Everyone involved should be fired.
Several times during the weeks' course of this sorry tale, the school has
admitted that children whose parents HAD paid for lunch still had their lunches
taken away.Children are not responsible for their parents not paying. Yet
people have been saying outright that the children are supposed to learn
something something from this incident about being responsible for their
parents' actions. Like these actions were justified.No.It's about a computer problem that led certain people to make a decision
to take away about 40 children's lunches. Not just denying them lunch,
which would have been bad enough, but dishing up those lunches, then snatching
them away and throwing them in the trash, in front of their friends and other
children who may not be their friends. "We were just following
orders." Does that have a familiar ring?It was thoughtless and
wasteful to say the least, mean-spirited, short-sighted, and unkind.Perhaps this was the only meal of the day that some of these kids might have
had.Life is tough enough for a lot of kids, without adults in authority
making it worse, without humiliating children in front of their friends.
What about the suspended employees? Do they get an apology?
Is our national debt a glitch?Is keeping our insurance plans a glitch?Are the taxes we pay a glitch?Wow! I could go on for ever!
Great news they figured it out...... The computers took the food from the
studants a threw it away ! Child Nutrition Department director Kelly Orton makes
$56.30 an hour and $144,211.00 a year in wages why should he be concerned a
child did not get lunch ! Perhaps a a donation of his overpay should be given
to the school to make us for this error
Trying to shift the blame to their computer system is just ridiculous.
We've been using the same payment system all school year, and get notified
when our account balance goes below $10, but we registered on the new system at
the beginning of the year. When we registered we set preferences for receiving
notification about our son's meal account. We're not seeing any
"system glitches" - the "system glitch" seems to be the school
district not letting all the parents know they need to sign up online.Smells like a red herring to me. "It wasn't me officer, it was the
one armed man!"They didn't tell me when I signed up for the
payment system that if I didn't keep my child's account up to date the
computer also had the capability to pick up my son's lunch in front of his
classmates, throw it in the trash, then hand him an apple and a milk to get
through the rest of the school day on. Quite a system!
Joe SchmoeOrem, UTPay your bills. End of problem.
Apparently you did not read how the district failed to provide sufficient time
for parents to add funds to their student's account. Do you
pay your utility bills prior to receiving the statement?
In Nebo school district you give you're number to the worker before you get
your lunch. And we start getting emails about lunch funds being low when it hits
$11.50, with an email every day until you pay it. The worker stamps the kids
lunch with a smiley stamp when their account hits $7, not sure what happens when
they hit zero because I always pay for the lunch. I just wait till my kid gets a
stamp because they think its cool to have a hand stamp. I do know they have
lunches that they give for free to the kids who had their funds run out.My dad works in food services and he said one time one of the district
people noticed a girl hovering near the trash can and when someone dumped in
food she would grab it out and eat it. So the guy goes to the lunch lady, hands
her $50 and said to put it on that girls account, and when it gets low you call
me and I'll get more money.
This is the schools fault and they must take the blame for it. They need to
apologize to the students who were not given food and to their parents. They
need to take full responsibility for it.