UPDATE: Stanley-Boyd School District apologizes for cafeteria co - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Stanley-Boyd School District apologizes for cafeteria controversy


Stanley (WQOW) - 
In a message posted to Facebook, and on the district's website, the Stanley-Boyd School District is apologizing for how the lunch program was handled for the past couple of months. 

Earlier this week, News 18 reported some Stanley-Boyd students claimed staff members tossed their meal in the trash if they didn't have enough money in their account. 

Superintendent Jim Jones denied the claim, telling News 18 earlier this week, "We have not physically, no employee at the district has physically taken a lunch and thrown it in the garbage."

Now, the district is apologizing to families by issuing the following statement:

"We wish to apologize to all of you regarding how our lunch program has been handled over the past couple of months.

Even if you may not have been directly affected, your friends and peers might have been experiencing problems and were affected.

This week we have made changes to better serve our students. Lunch numbers are being entered at the beginning of the line and we are ensuring an alternative lunch option is being offered.

No student at Stanley-Boyd should go hungry for the entire day.

Again, we are sorry and hope we can move forward.

Thank you for your time and make it a great day."

Stanley (WQOW)- Some Stanley-Boyd students claim that staff members have tossed their meal in the trash, if they don't have enough money in their account. 

Superintendent Jim Jones said the school district has been cracking down on lunch accounts that hit zero. He said they've been offering those students an 'alternative' lunch. 

"We have not physically, no employee at the district has physically taken a lunch and thrown it in the garbage no," said Jones.

However, students and parents tell News 18 that is not the case.

"I guess I would have to call him a liar because he says straight up that he's never done that and his staff doesn't do it, and that's not true because we've as students have seen it happen," said a student at Stanley- Boyd who wants to stay anonymous because he was afraid he could get in trouble. However, he said he's seen this happen first hand. 

"So this special needs student sat down and was eating lunch he grabbed his tray and said you don't have any money in your account and dumped his tray in the garbage and he did not offer him an alternate food option," said the anonymous student. 

The student said it was the Principal Jeffery Koenig who tossed the food.

Denise Hoffstatter had heard about the incidents and decided to confront the school board on April 23rd.  

"One of the administrations guaranteed me quote: Denise I promise you this has only happened once and it was some nachos," said Hoffstatter. 

"Koenig said his quote was "we can ensure that every kid has a free education but we cannot ensure free meals," said the anonymous student. 

News 18 obtained an email exchange between the superintendent and a parent who claimed her child was not allowed to eat because of a negative balance. Jones responded:

First, I appreciate your contacting me.  I do share your concern in regard to our students and we most certainly do not want to throw food away.  To that end, I have a couple points to make.

1. Our system sends you an email almost every day.  I realize the policy uses the word mail but we use email when available to do that.  If a family does not have email on file, we mail home a notice whenever an account goes negative.

2. We talk to our students constantly about bringing in money.  They are told multiple times.  Parents are called constantly.  Not allowing a student to eat or providing an optional meal is always a last option and never something we would do without many warnings.

3. In regard to Kerry Foods, we had a person here who knew we needed to start doing something different to get a handle on this.  We did not do this because of the Kerry donation but rather the opposite.

 If there is a better option, we most certainly would try it as long as that option does not lead to thousands of dollars of unpaid lunch bills.  This is a board policy that has been policy for quite a while.  We have had a handle on it for some time but for various reasons, our total balances had recently increased beyond $1,000 so I needed to attend to it.  When I started here in 2003, we had tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid lunch bills due to allowing students to eat without collecting money.  In order to have that not happen, we need to keep working on it.  

Parents told News 18 that they do not believe it is fair to force some students to eat alternative lunches, while staff eat in the cafeteria for free. 

The next school board meeting is May 28th, and parents and community members hope the school board addresses this again. 

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