Minnesota school workers reportedly dump lunches of students in debt

STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — A new school lunch policy in a Minnesota school district is getting push back.

Last month, the Stewartville School Board approved a rule aimed at curbing student lunch debt.

“There are already a lot of hard things kids have to do in school, academically and socially. That’s not something kids should have to worry about,” said Megan Romens.

But Romens also understands that it’s troubling for a school district to face a $10,000 lunch debt. Instead of pointing fingers, she’s trying to point people towards a solution.

“We are just shy of $3,000, so $2,985,” said Romens.

As the parent of a Stewartville student, Romens’ appetite for answers led to her creating a GoFundMe page for families not able to afford school lunch. A new policy means hot food is replaced with an alternative lunch for any student with a negative balance.

“I believe the main course is taken back and they get a sandwich. They still get to keep their sides,” said Romens.

The Stewartville schools website states that the district is “reviewing our procedures to ensure that all students are treated with dignity and respect in regard to our school lunch policy.”

Superintendent Belinda Selfors said that the policy does not provide for the pulling of trays from students. The issue led to a news conference at the Capitol Tuesday morning, centered around what they’re calling “school lunch shaming.”

Romens doesn’t want to label it, she just wants a solution for everyone.

“This could be your little girl’s best friend that’s not getting the same lunch as her other friends. Or it could be for a lot of families that this is the only good meal their kids get every day,” said Romens.

In a statement, Superintendent Selfors went on to say that no child is turned away from receiving school lunch.

Representative Sarah Anderson, who authored legislation to keep schools from shaming students who lack school lunch money, said Tuesday that she’s disappointed to hear about this. She said it’s possible funding could be withheld from school districts who demean students that can’t pay for school lunch.

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