Last week, Stacy Koltiska, a cafeteria worker at Wylandville Elementary School in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, was so heartbroken at being forced to take back a first grader’s hot lunch in exchange for a cold cheese sandwich—due to a new policy designed to penalize parents who owe the school money—that she quit her job in protest.
The Canon-McMillan School District requires the families of students who aren’t receiving financial assistance for school lunches to set up meal accounts that they pay into. This year, the district initiated Rule 808.1, which says that any child between kindergarten and the sixth grade with an outstanding debt of more than $25 dollars on their account is required to be given a carton of milk, a serving of fruit or vegetables, and a single sandwich in lieu of the school’s advertised fully-cooked meal. Students older than that aren’t given any food at all. In a Facebook post, Koltiska explained that students are also still being charged for the regular meal’s price, which is further added to their running tab.
“The first week of school on Friday, I had to take a little first grade boys chicken and give him this ‘cheese sandwich.’ I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears,” Koltiska wrote. “What makes this even MORE SICKENING is that we throw so much food away EVERYDAY. So Our Children are being served cheese, being charged and denied the hot food that we then throw away.”