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Lunch Program Causes a Stir

LENOX TOWNSHIP — Lunch is causing a debate in the Mountain View School District in Susquehanna County.

At a recent school board meeting, a parent claimed their child’s hot lunch was thrown away because the student didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

Some parents at the school near Kingsley said they are outraged.

“I would be appalled if it was my child, and I think the school owes them an apology,” said Kendra Hamilton from Nicholson.

“I just think that no child should go hungry. They were given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but they should put aside another fund or something,” said Mary Donovan from Lenox Township.

Karen Voigt, the substitute superintendent at Mountain View School District said that’s only half of the story. It’s procedure with the lunch program that when a students account is in the red they will still get lunch, just not a hot lunch. They are offered a peanut butter and jelly or a cheese sandwich. The superintendent said that child’s tray was never thrown away.

“That is not the case at all. All of our elementary school students eat lunch,” said Voigt.

Voigt said more than 40% of the students in the district are already on a free or reduced lunch program.

She said the school wants to help families, but the district has to work within the budget.

Voigt said, “Our cafeteria program already faces a $30,000 deficit this year. We’re not out to make money, but we do have to be responsible to the tax-payers in the district. “

Parents are afraid this lunch situation could encourage bullying.

“The school is totally wrong in this instance, and I feel it’s atrocious,” said Hamilton.

The school board said the cafeteria manager sends parents numerous notices by phone or mail to let them know when their child’s lunch account is running low, and they also have a fund community members can donate funds to, for these type of emergency situations.

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