Staff At Wisconsin School Accused of Taking & Trashing Students’ Meals Over Lapsed Accounts

It was lunch period at Stanley Boyd High School and students were sitting down in the cafeteria to eat. Among them was an unnamed student with special needs. According to an account by another student, Principal Jeffery Koenig approached the special needs student, telling them that their lunch balance was negative before taking away the lunch tray and discarding the food in a waste bin.

According to several parents and students, this incident isn’t unique. Staff at the Stanley, Wisc., school have confiscated served meals from students for having unpaid lunch balances in several cases, they allege.

While Stanley Boyd School District Superintendent Jim Jones says that no one has taken meals and thrown them away, he admits he has been pushing for a crack down on lapsed lunch accounts. Jones says that the policy for students with a negative balance is to provide them with an “alternative” meal rather than the paid one. It is not clear what this meal consists of or whether students are expected to later pay for them.

What’s happening at Stanley Boyd has become so common across the country that it’s been given a name: Lunch shaming. A couple years ago the issue was briefly acknowledged after several incidents gained widespread attention and condemnation.

In Gardendale, Ala., a father was extremely troubled after one school day when he discovered that his son had been given an ink stamp on his arm which read, “I need lunch money.” Around the same time, in Dumfries, Va., the local middle school wound up in hot water when knowledge spread of an incident in which a black student was handcuffed and suspended for taking a 65 cent milk carton (which, it later turned out, he had been entitled to).

Accounts of staff taking and dumping students’ meals, as in Stanley, Wisc., have also come from schools in Washington, Texas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, among other places.

Fortunately, legislators in some states have been taking notice of this “lunch shaming” phenomenon and are working to forbid the practice. New Mexico broke new ground on this by becoming the first state to officially end lunch shaming via the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights. Washington state is also in the process of approving a similar bill while California and Texas are considering doing the same.

In very few cases parents of a student with a negative lunch balance are being willfully negligent; most often it is either a matter of limited finances or even a simple communication breakdown between the school and the parents. Regardless of the reason, it is difficult to see lunch shaming programs as anything other than being the mean spirited, deliberate public humiliation of youths who have little or no control over their lunch balances. It’s bullying, through and through.

Take Action!

Both Washington and New Mexico have proven that it is both possible and prudent to create state laws that forbid “lunch shaming” style bullying at its schools. Given the deeply concerning allegations coming out against the staff of Stanely Boyd School District in Stanely, Wisc., it behooves state lawmakers to take a cue from their peers in New Mexico and Washington to draft and pass an anti-shaming bill.

Add your name to our petition to urge Wisconsin state lawmakers to take action on lunch shaming! Please be sure to share the petition with friends, family and on social media to help this issue gain exposure.

Concerned about an issue? Want to raise awareness about an injustice? Join your fellow Care2 users by learning how to make your own petition and make your voice heard today.

 

47 comments

Cindy S
Cindy Smith3 months ago

bulllies

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Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago

Thanks

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Karen H
Karen H4 months ago

If parents weren't feeding their children, they'd be arrested and charged with child abuse. Why isn't the school?

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Ellie M
Ellie M4 months ago

ty

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Winn A
Winn Adams4 months ago

Noted

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Winn A
Winn Adams4 months ago

:-(

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito4 months ago

Thanks

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito4 months ago

Thanks

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Janet F
Janet F4 months ago

How anyone could be so cruel to children is beyond me, they are the innocences of the world.
But then again the conservatives believe that it's only the unborn that need to be protected, once a child is born, all bets are off and they become pawns to be played with.

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Sandra V
Sandra Vito4 months ago

Thanks

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