Family members are demanding a change to school lunch policies in Indiana after a 6-year-old was denied a hot lunch and forced into a humiliating “cafeteria walk of shame,” according to CBS-affiliated television station KWCH.
The Southwest Elementary School kindergartener was publicly asked to return her hot food after a cafeteria worker found out her account didn’t have enough funds to pay for the $2.25. The student was then asked to stand in line for a peanut butter sandwich, while some of her classmates laughed and made remarks about the situation.
"When she was talking to me about it, she was more than 'sad.’ I mean, that's embarrassing for a little 6-year-old," said Dwight Howard, the girl’s grandfather, who claimed he was not alerted she only had 10 cents remaining on her account.
Howard is demanding the district modify the school’s policies, which he called “humiliating and unnecessary.” The Indiana district previously allowed students to eat 2 hot meals after their funds depleted, but students are no longer allowed to have negative balances after May 13.
School officials disagree with some points of Howard’s account. Payment reminders when lunch accounts have $5 remaining, said Greenwood Community Schools superintendent Dr. Kent DeKoninck, who added that "It is not an uncommon occurrence for multiple students to be served the alternate lunch on any given day.”