Some schools have strict lunch payment policies—which end up hurting children in unforeseen ways. Stories like a 4-year-old having her lunch thrown in the trash because she missed successive payments are horrifying, recent, and not at all uncommon.
Dominic Gant was a high school junior when this happened to him for the first time. Nearly an adult, he suddenly had his lunch plate taken away and thrown in the trash by a cafeteria worker because his school lunch balance was in the negatives. He owed less than $5, but rules were rules.
“It was really embarrassing,” Dominic said. “Especially in front of the whole lunch room.”
“Took away my plate and said I didn’t have enough to be able to eat today,” he said.
When his mother heard about it, she was understandably enraged.
There have been many cases of parents storming down to the lunchroom to give the staff a piece of their mind, to demand reparations, to vent, or to humiliate in kind.
But Amanda Keown, Dominic’s mother, did no such thing.
She went down to the school and paid off Dominic’s balance. Then she paid off the lunch debt balance of every other student at the school.
The total came out to be barely over $200, but affected numerous children.
“I was appalled that he was denied lunch, and his lunch was taken out of his hands over $5,” Keown said.
“I realize I don’t have to do that, but I don’t want another kid to go through what my son went through,” she said.