Anya Howard is a 6-year-old kindergartener from Indiana that reportedly had to return her hot meal due to insufficient money in her lunch account to pay for the $2.25 meal.
The girl then had to walk past her peers to the end of the line to get herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the walk she had to make turned out to be an awful experience for her, and she was laughed off by her classmates.
Anya spoke to WISH about what that took place at Southwest Elementary School in Greenwood, Indiana, and she said that she was told that she needed to give her food back to Ms. Jenny. She revealed how unpleasant this whole experience was because several of her classmates laughed at her when she had to walk back to the end of the line to wait for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of the hot meal her peers were enjoying.
Her grandfather, Dwight Howard, argued that the “cafeteria walk” was definitely unnecessary and it must have been a very humiliating experience for his granddaughter.
According to the kindergartener, she and another equally embarrassed child were sent back to the line, and a note received by her family stated that her cafeteria credit had dipped to $0.10. The grandfather claims that they weren’t previously informed of his granddaughter’s account status and that this was irresponsible behavior exhibited by the school.
The Greenwood Community Schools superintendent claims, however, that parents are issued payment reminders when their child’s lunch account only has $5 remaining.
He said in a statement that it is not an uncommon occurrence for multiple students to be served the alternate lunch on any given day, and the school’s staff looks to handle all of these cases as discreetly as possible when this happens. He also noted that they do allow elementary students to charge two hot meals before receiving the alternate meal.
The statement read that they will no longer allow any Cafe accounts to go into the negative, and if there’s not enough money in any child’s account to cover the entire meal, they student will be receiving a peanut butter sandwich and a milk.
Following the news about Anya’s traumatic experience, DeKoninck informed the Indianapolis Star that the cold-sandwich policy would be suspended for the time being.