25 middle school students denied lunch

April 4, 2013 at 1:12 PM
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ATTLEBORO, Mass., April 4 (UPI) -- A school lunch provider in Massachusetts denied 25 students lunch because they either could not pay or their prepaid accounts were empty, officials said.

As many as 25 students at Coelho Middle School in Attleboro were denied lunch Tuesday by provider Whitson's because they did not have enough money, The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, Mass., reported.

Some of the 25 students were denied lunch and others were told to throw their lunches away.

Superintendent Pia Durkin said administrators were not informed of the incident until later Tuesday afternoon and that she has a meeting scheduled with Whitson's officials, adding that the on-site director employed by Whitson's has been placed on administrative leave.

"There is no way any child in my school district will ever go hungry," Durkin said. "Children need to eat."

Durkin said normally, if a child cannot pay for lunch, or their prepaid account does not have enough money in it, schools provide a cheese sandwich and milk until parents resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, parents said that they are upset that some children went hungry and that some students cried over the ordeal.

"I'm [expletive] that when there are people in prison who are getting meals, my daughter, an honor student, is going hungry," said John Greaves, whose 11-year-old daughter Victoria was told to throw her lunch away.

Whitson's has apologized for the incident.

"We agree that this situation was not handled correctly," said Holly Von Seggern, vice president for marketing and community relations for Whitson's. "We really want to apologize to the parents of the children who were affected."

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