Two workers on paid leave after lunch taken away from elementary students

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  • billster36 Nies, MI
    Feb. 2, 2014 9:15 p.m.

    So what exactly is the difference between "paid leave" and some vacation time? Sounds absolutely dreadful doesn't it? Being put on "paid leave. Sounds like a day off with pay to me.

  • Sequoya Stafford, VA
    Feb. 2, 2014 7:01 p.m.

    This is typical of bureaucracies everywhere; but especially in the litigiously oriented U.S. -- where everybody sues everybody else at the drop of a hat. Otherwise good and intelligent people become monsters because they are afraid they will get in trouble if they don't -- and in this case, they get in trouble anyway because the bureaucracy they thought they were serving desserts them. There needs to be less government as noted above; but where you must have it anyway, there must be "wiggle room" to allow people to exercise judgment.

    Compare this to a policy interpretation in Afghanistan that got people killed -- no fire support delivered because if we accidentally kill an "innocent" (however defined) we lose hearts and minds. Consequently, U.S. troops died. Same dynamic. Even in simple authority structures, we have to figure out how to let common sense prevail.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Feb. 2, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    Some parents are irresponsible, period. The schools and the social service agencies see them daily. In 1990, my daughter worked at a Boys & Girls Club and had parents who were furious when the Club closed for holidays --the parents were used to the club being a reliable six-day a week babysitter and meal provider (the dues--don't laugh--for unlimited use of the club facilities, including one meal per day, were $7 a year). But punishing the kids does not make the parent responsible--never has and never will. Is it not our responsibility as a society to care about all children, whether their parents make the grade or not?

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    Feb. 2, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    1. True, most of Michelle Obama's "healthy" school Lunches are barely palatable. A child who is truly hungry will eat whatever they can get.
    2. If a child's parent is having a hard time paying for school lunch, chances are, they don't have much food at home either. In that case, it was criminal to throw that food away in front of a hungry child. The dairy and citrus fruit given will probably cause an upset stomach. Milk and a PB&J would have been more substantial and humane.
    3. These were elementary school kids who have no control over the family financial situation, they are merely observers to whatever their parents can or victims to what their parents can't provide.
    4. If we're talking about "teaching entitled kids", let's save this lesson for the High Schoolers, who could get a part time job to buy their own lunch.
    5. The message those kids will take from this is "You are of no value. You are not even worth the garbage in this can." Kids this age will spend the afternoon in tears, focused on their empty stomach rather than learning anything.

  • Sophie 62 spring city, UT
    Feb. 2, 2014 1:28 a.m.

    I doubt that it's a federal law to throw away a child's lunch which workers have already dished up because there isn't a positive balance in the child's account. It appears that some lunches were thrown away which were paid for. What happened at this school was not about the federal government. It was about adults being wasteful, and shaming students who have no control over a transaction between adults.
    Humiliating children for their parents' actions or lack of action accomplished nothing.
    Isn't it bad enough that children do this sort of thing to each other, without adults adding to their difficulties?
    As for teaching children that not being able to pay your bills is painful, if those children are aware of family bills not being paid, believe me, they are already in distress and anxiety because of it.
    They don't need to be humiliated in school in front of their friends and sometime enemies for something they have no control over.

  • Clifton Palmer McLendon Gilmer, TX
    Feb. 1, 2014 8:36 p.m.

    The Constitution does not give the Federal government the power to do or say anything about school lunches, so anything they do or say is unconstitutional.

  • gridlockisbetter Antowuk, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 6:09 p.m.

    Perhaps many options had been tried and yet people felt entitled to eat without paying.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 2:27 p.m.

    i was taught at an early age that wasting food is unacceptable. There were several choices to be made here. The worst one was made.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland Cuyahoga , OH
    Feb. 1, 2014 2:02 p.m.

    "I was hungry, and you told me my lunch account was not paid up. I was thirsty, and you told me that I was lazy and needed to learn a lesson..."

  • jrey2 slc, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    The Superintendent is sitting behind a desk looking at numbers on a paper. Numbers count kids do not. This is what happens when numbers are all that matter wether it is in reading or lunch. How else can you explain taking away lunches or taking away the classes that kids enjoy and posting test scores outside classroom doors these all stem from the same problem. Kids are numbers and no longer people.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    Great example of government bureaucratic actions and bad judgment. And people think there should be MORE government programs?

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Feb. 1, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    I do worry that some poor soul is going to take the unfair blame for this.

    The school should just feed every child who asks for food. It's a few percent of the school's budget. Fruit and milk cost something. Or milk and a sandwich. Whatever they give to the kid without money. This is what the Pope spoke about. We are treating people unevenly and wasting food. This is a perfect example on how wasting food is harming people and sinful. Some parents will send from home due to picky eating. There will always be parents who pay. A number of students are subsidized. What is next, requiring them to bring toilet paper from home? Just providing lunch is cheaper than busing the kids home for lunch and back and extending the school day so they can eat at home.

    Feb. 1, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    Oh yeah - and why do all the craziest stories always come from Utah - like this never happens in Nebraska?

    Feb. 1, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    A lot of dumb things happened.

    Parents forgot/did not pay their bills.
    District Officials over reacted.
    Lunch Ladies threw away food. (that must have been a sight)
    The media picked a side and went crazy with blame.
    Kids ate "Fruit" and "Milk" (Instead of Korean War Surplus Fish Sticks)

    and no one takes responsibility.

    I would be shocked if just one parent came forward and said "hey look - it's my job to feed my kid and I missed the payment - my bad"

    Instead some unappreciated lunch lady and her supervisor will have to "eat" this one with a formal apology - when the truth probably is they were told to do it by someone who figured he/she was going to draw a line in the sand a "stop the madness" - The thinking being - if the Congress won't stand up to Barry - then I am going to stand up to these freeloading kids.

    Sadly - no one will learn any of the lessons that should be learned. Although I did make sure that all my kids accounts are up to date - even though I'm sure now I have license to never pay again thanks to this story.

  • Joemamma W Jordan, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    So how are we going to teach children cause and effect is the question??
    We now live in a society that teaches young people they're entitled to everything.
    As well as they should never be embarrased or ashame of being lazy as the government or those who have more than you should provide for you.
    If this was a clerickal error fix it.
    However this system has been in Utha schools for decades, it teaches responsibility to parents and kids.
    If the child has no money in his or her account give them the esentials a PBJ sanwich and milk and inform the paerents they need to get their behinds into the school and pay their kids meals.

    This is Utah! not CA, IL, NY, OR, WA or any blue state where they encourage dependability.. Here we teach resposibility and accountability.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    We should expect more and more incidents like this, as control of all aspects of our neighborhood schools is surrendered to more and more distant, more and more unaccountable bureaucrats.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Feb. 1, 2014 5:52 a.m.

    Having lived in Utah and understanding their double standards and greed, I am not at all surprised.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 1, 2014 3:13 a.m.

    The workers will hopefully sue the district and legislaors for violating their rights for obeying the laws, and rules are rules for a reason. How should a worker know if the parents don't want their children eating this food or has a stolen food ticket? I refused to let my children eat the garbage the schools have, sack lunches were more nourishing.

    As far as I'm concerned by the quality and edibility of these school lunches it should never be allowed in the schools. This food is all made out of state and preserved for shipment to Utah schools for consumption of grossly inadequately prepared foods. Even the raw vegetables taste like chemicals and who knows what the rest of the food is made from.

    This program should be abolished, its a contractors billion dollar dream contract, no accountability or competition for what they serve. Homeless or not, parents get food stamps and WIC money to feed them, hunger is a lie. The food in the program is stripped of nourishment and stomach filler is not nourishment.

    God help any child who is forced to be dependent on schools for food, the employees did them a favor.

  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    Feb. 1, 2014 2:28 a.m.

    I don't know why everyone is so upset. The children still were given food to eat. If they wanted to eat lunch than they should have to pay for lunch. That is how the world works, You don't hear me complaining at McDonalds for not getting food I didn't pay for. If you didn't pay for it you don't get it, its that simple.

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 10:17 p.m.

    Put those employees back to work...and fire the district person that was there directing the stupidity! I'm appalled!

    I encourage everyone that is angry to call the district, and get those employees back to work, and demand the district take responsibility for the actions, and the policy!!

    Do we live in the dark ages? My daughter called me from school and said she couldn't eat, because her account was empty. We've been in this school for 5 years!!! Have we EVER not paid her lunches?? NO. Have we EVER been a problem with paying? No.

    Alpine School District. They don't get off either...they are getting a call now!

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 8:47 p.m.

    Would it be so difficult to put the cashier at the beginning of the line, before the kids receive their food. That way they would have been aware that the students were out of money before they were given their trays. My children have to put their lunch # in the system before they receive their lunch. They also receive a note on Friday if they do not have enough money to cover lunches for the next week, even though I receive emails from PayPams when my child's account is low.

    Also, if I had a child in Salt Lake school district, I'm not sure I would use their online pay system since it charges an additional 4.5% to use. Although it is free to check balances. If these children's parents had registered with "MyPaymentPlus" they would have received an email when their children's balance became low. Maybe the system was not working properly.

  • CabezaMan Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 7:42 p.m.

    This is what happens when Federal Government thinking works its way into our local affairs. I was taught that in Capitalism, if you have two cows you sell one and buy a bull, but in socialism you simply milk the cows and pour the milk down the drain. And there you go, that's where we're at - pouring the milk down the drain. Brilliant.

  • Lets check the facts Santa Fe, NM
    Jan. 31, 2014 7:06 p.m.

    Probably the most important lesson the kids will learn in school and one they should remember. If you get behind in your payments it doesn't feel good.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Jan. 31, 2014 6:20 p.m.

    @BU52, I totally disagree. The children should NEVER be humiliated, publicly or privately, for such a thing, especially when it really is the parents' responsibility to have the account paid. Humiliate the children to motivate the parents? I think not. And here, we are trying to eliminate bullying, but yet the adults are doing just that.

    School district--and government, really--mentality is maddening. They threw away food because the accounts were not paid up. Makes no sense whatsoever. If the food was going to be thrown away, anyway, why not just let them eat it? Stupid waste, not only of food, but of intellect and common sense.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 5:41 p.m.

    This is sad for the students. This is sad for the employees that were trying to enforce a policy they didn't write. This is sad because it shows the divisions in our society played out in a child's lunch. Granted it would be nice to have parents pay for a child's lunch but in Europe, particularly in Finland and the rest of Scandinavia, lunch and even breakfast is part of the funding of schools. If we truly valued education and our children maybe we should change our policies and funding so that we didn't even have to worry about a child not having lunch at school.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    Jan. 31, 2014 4:38 p.m.

    If the meal is marked as sold then the district gets its Federal government allotment for the lunch. But humiliating the child by throwing away the lunch would certainly embarrass the parents into paying their bills

  • crazladie Draper, UT
    Jan. 31, 2014 4:37 p.m.

    As stated in earlier comment...This entire problem is about the lack of RESPECT given! It starts at the district level, and funnels down from there! Obviously the lunchroom manager was feeling immense pressure to get the money in the kids account, and she reacted every bit as poorly as her district administrator! Fireing is NOT the answer here! Giving respect to ALL (above and beneath job statis) would solve this entire problem! Your politicians are just out to look as if they care, when in reality, this has NOTHING to do with politics! It has EVERYTHING to do with a poor working enviroment! Go in and teach the adults how to be nice, and these kinds of problems, and acts of stupidity will go away!

  • whatnext Clearfield, Utah
    Jan. 31, 2014 4:26 p.m.

    This whole lunch thing makes me very angry. I work in a school and I see how much food gets thrown away after the lunch has been served. Every day we throw away 3 to 4 trash cans full of food that was not served to the students because of Federal Law. At my school we have many students that are in homeless situations and the only meal they get is what is served at school. We also have many students that are hungry even after they have finished eating their lunch. Instead of throwing the food away, why aren't we allowing these students to go back for seconds, with out paying for it since the food will be thrown away anyway or allow the students that have run out of money in their accounts to eat. Make them wait until every student that is paying for their lunch get theirs then allow those who ran out of money to have lunch. All the kids will at least get something to eat and the food won't be wasted. Students should never go hungry just because their parents forgot to put money in their accounts.

  • djc Stansbury Park, Ut
    Jan. 31, 2014 4:14 p.m.

    I am so very angry about this, and now the situation is even worse. Two employees, probably being browbeat by a district employee do what they are told to do, and will be punished. Yes, I agree that they should have told the district employee that they wouldn't do it, but they might have been afraid they would lose their jobs. This whole thing stinks to high heaven and the person directly responsible for it will probably skate. This is wrong. I didn't think this situation could possibly get worse but the school district proved yet again that nothing is impossible.

  • aspen Bellevue, WA
    Jan. 31, 2014 4:02 p.m.

    I cannot believe they would rather throw the food away than let the children eat it. There are no words.