School cafeteria workers fired for not feeding students

Anissa Ford's picture

Those four Massachusetts school cafeteria workers who ordered students toss out their lunch trays because of low balances were fired this week.

Last week, CNN reported on middle school cafeteria workers who tossed lunches of students whose prepaid accounts had run low.

Typically, school cafeterias send notes to parents that inform of low balances or deficits. Students who owe are informed won’t get lunch, but an alternative lunch like peanut butter and crackers. In Massachussets, at the middle school the incident occurred (Coehlo), officials say students with a negative balance usually get a cheese sandwich, fruit, a vegetable and milk.

But the food services company, Whitson, in its official apology, said the school had no policy for what happens when students owe. The company’s president said the food service workers in this case had instituted the toss the tray away rule on their own.

Those rogue employees, four of them, denied 25 middle school students lunch. The company’s spokeswoman said that it’s not company policy to deny meals to children.

Typically, cafeteria workers are high school degree holders, or less, often with little customer service or management skills. After years of working the same job, there may be a tendency to handle situations of student debt in an uncivil and unkind manner.

The incident at Coehlo Middle School is an example.

Whitson has not only fired the guilty employees, but has taken measures to prevent similar situations in the future. The company says that it will notify parents when their 5th – 8th graders have low balances. Although, in this case, it seems a cafeteria supervisor would have had an action plan in place to prevent problems.

School lunches and breakfast, over the decades, have become central tenets of a public school’s day. Busy parents, poor parents, and socialite students depend on the cafeteria for sustenance and socializing. The school caf is a major part of any school child’s day.

One parent called the cafeteria incident at Coehlo bullying. Whitson’s said the food service incident was a violation of its policy.


Submitted by sue (not verified) on
How dare one say Lunch Servers are uncivil, unkind and undereducated.. What an insult...sounds like a company and school district without a policy in place. Put the blame where it belongs.

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