PLYMOUTH, Pa. -- A school district in Luzerne County that threatened parents over unpaid lunch money will soon have those debts wiped clean thanks to a donation from a Philadelphia businessman.
It's a major turnaround for Wyoming Valley West School district officials.
The letter sent out two weeks ago ignited anger and brought national attention to the Wyoming Valley West School District in Luzerne County.
Parents who owed lunch money to the district were threatened with being taken to dependency court and, "the result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care."
"They owe us an apology," said day care worker Janice Petlock of Larksville.
Petlock is likely to see that apology. Newswatch 16 has learned school district officials are drafting a letter of apology to the parents and to the public.
"I think it was the right thing to do," said Barry Tenenbaum of Shavertown. "It was pretty awful sending that letter for that particular purpose."
"I think they should apologize to everybody. I think they made us all look real bad," said Shelley Cousin of Plymouth.
When kids head back to Wyoming Valley West High School in Plymouth, not a single parent will owe a lunch debt that prompted the threatening letters in the first place.
Philadelphia businessman Todd Carmichael offered to pay off the $22,000 in lunch money owed to the district.
At first, the Wyoming Valley West School Board president rejected the donation.
"I was angry. I was upset, and I just said, 'Guys, don't give up.' Maybe it's just emotion, but that was it. They won't take our calls. They won't take anything," Carmichael said.
But Wednesday morning, district leaders reversed course and agreed to accept it.
"I think they should have taken the guy's money when he first offered. Why they didn't, I don't know. It is just plain ridiculous," Cousin said.
"That's generous," Petlock said. "I think that was acceptable."
"I think they should accept it and it was a nice donation as well," Tenenbaum added.
The district will also take donations from others who said they were willing to pay some or all of the debt.
That money is earmarked for the district's educational foundation.