The experience was so disturbing, Damian and Renee Medrano said, they moved their son Armando to a different school.
A teacher saw the boy dispose of a wrapped chicken fajita in an outdoor trash can at Fletcher Elementary School Jan. 25, handed it back to him and ordered him to finish it, they claim.
"It was unhealthy, degrading and humiliating. He didn't dump the whole lunch. It was just that one item he didn't like," said Armando's mother, Renee Medrano.
Anne Truex, executive director for elementary education at the Orange Unified School District, said the teacher -- whose name was not reported -- handled the matter inappropriately and the district would advise teachers to properly encourage students to eat their food.
Renee Medrano said she confronted the teacher and the school principal, but they appeared defensive and did not offer a corrective course of action.
The Medranos decided to send Armando to another school, the Orange County Register reported Wednesday.
"Had we felt they were truly sorry and not so defensive, we would have let it go, but the principal kept saying the teacher had the right intentions and the wrong actions," Renee Medrano said.