Tahlequah Daily Press

February 6, 2014

Readers support leniency on school lunch payments


TAHLEQUAH — After an incident at an elementary school in Utah, the Tahlequah Daily Press asked readers to respond to an online poll.

The Daily Press asked the question, “In Utah recently, a school threw away some lunches served to about 40 children because the kids had low or zero balances in their cafeteria funds. What should happen to children in these situations?” Respondents were given choices of:

“Feed the child a regular meal, regardless of whether the parents ever pay.”

“Feed the child a regular meal for a few weeks, and if the parents refuse to pay, stop feeding the child.”

“Feed the child snack items (peanut butter sandwiches, an apple) until the parents pay up.”

“Refuse to feed the child anything once his balance is at zero.”

“Feed the child a regular meal, but implement a policy whereby parents are charged interest, or the child can’t receive his/her grades until paid in full.”

“Other or undecided.”

A plurality of respondents, 48 percent or 144 votes, said the child should always be fed a regular lunch. Another 33 percent, or 78 votes, said school late payment policies should be adjusted so parents are charged interest and children don’t receive their grades.

Of the respondents, 14 percent, or 32 voters, said children should be fed snack items, and 2 percent, or 5 voters, believed a child with an empty account should not be fed anything. Four voters, or 2 percent, were undecided, and 3 voters, or 2 percent, believed regular lunches should be provided for a few weeks before being discontinued.