Most parents would flare up if they heard that their child was denied lunch in school. But for one mom who faced this reality, though she was enraged, she knew she had to do something about it.
In 2014, a high school boy in Michigan was shamed in front of his class during lunchtime and had his lunch taken away, making him hungry. The reason? He owed the school for his lunches, with an accumulated tab of $5…
Dominic Grant of Dowagiac Union High School was just served his lunch and then had it taken away from him, leaving him hungry for the day.
“It was really embarrassing,” he told CNN. “Right in front of the whole lunch room, they took my plate away and said I didn’t have enough to eat today.”
According to WBND, the school has a policy whereby students who can’t pay are denied their lunches.
“I was appalled that he was denied lunch and his lunch was taken out of his hands over $5,” his mom, Amanda Keown, said.
“The bottom line is that the food is taken from them,” Keown told Yahoo Shine. “It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The kids shouldn’t have to pay for that.”
Enraged, Keown contacted the school and was told that though the balance was a small amount, there is no exception.
“She asked me, ‘Where is the cutoff? Where do you draw the line with the charges? When do you say no more?’ And I said, ‘There shouldn’t be a line,’” Keown told WBND.
Keown knew she had to do something and marched to the school. She paid off the outstanding lunch balance for her son and also for 19 other students who had outstanding balances. The total came to be about $200, Fox News reported.
Keown even set up a petition on Care2 petition, in order to pressure the school into ensuring that no student will be denied their lunch again.
“I want guidelines set in place for all of the Dowagiac Schools,” she wrote on the petition page. “No child should be denied food EVER. Under no circumstances.”
“Each school needs to set aside funding for sandwiches to be handed out for the special cases that may arise,” she added.
On why she paid off 19 other students’ outstanding balances, she told ABC 57: “I realize I didn’t have to do that. But I don’t want another kid going through what my son went through.”