Parents accuse Germantown School District of 'shaming' students with negative lunch balances

NOW: Parents accuse Germantown School District of ’shaming’ students with negative lunch balances

GERMANTOWN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Germantown parents are frustrated with the school district's lunch policy.

Some say it shames students who don't have enough money to pay for their meal. 

Germantown student Tristan White says he saw a classmate's regular lunch taken away from him because he had a negative lunch balance. In another instance, the eighth-grader claims he couldn't use his own balance to buy a drink for his friend who didn't have money.

The school superintendent says they "do not deny a student food when they have a negative balance," but instead of a regular lunch, students will be given a cheese sandwich, carrots, and milk. Some parents believe that policy shames students.

"Definitely would make a child feel separated from the rest," said parent Wayne Schroeder. "I definitely wouldn't want that to happen to my child."

Germantown is not alone. If Waukesha students have negative lunch accounts, they'll also be given a cheese sandwich and milk option. And in West Allis-West Milwaukee, they follow an alternate meal policy too.

Other districts take a different approach. Wauwatosa students will be given a regular meal even if they have negative lunch accounts, and Cudahy School District recently changed its policy so students will get a regular lunch no matter what. Some parents would like the Germantown School District to follow their lead. 

Tristan says he would also like the policy to be changed because he doesn't want to see his fellow classmates bullied because of it.

"Why would you put a kid down if he doesn't have money?" he asked.

In Germantown, graduating students won't get their diploma until the lunch debt is paid, and in some other nearby school districts, if an account is negative for a long period of time, the debt will be sent to a collection agency.

Germantown's full school meal program and charge policy can be viewed here:

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