Local school district denies it has “lunch shaming” policy

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Killeen school officials Wednesday rushed to clarify the district’s school meal policy after a message was sent to parents of students at Clear Creek Elementary School on Fort Hood that said “trays will be pulled” from students who don’t have money to pay for meals.

(File)

“Neither the district nor Clear Creek Elementary School have plans to implement a ‘lunch shaming’ policy. Furthermore, the previous correspondence pertaining to such a plan should be disregarded. Parents are being provided further clarification immediately,” Superintendent John Craft said in a statement Wednesday morning.

“The district has plans and procedures in place to ensure all students receive nutritious meals on a daily basis,” he said.

The original message to parents of Clear Creek parents said that starting Wednesday “breakfast and lunch trays will be pulled from students who do not have breakfast and/or lunch money.”

“Students without breakfast money will not eat. Students without lunch money will get a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of water or a cheese sandwich if the student is allergic to peanuts.”

“Students are embarrassed when their trays are pulled. Please do not let this happen to your child,” the message said.

The school apparently sought to clarify the message late Wednesday night with an updated statement in which it said “the pulling of trays from children who do not have money to pay for their meals” is a “district expectation.”

A bill that Gov. Greg Abbott signed in June took effect Sept. 1 that requires districts that use prepaid meal cards or accounts meals served at schools to adopt a grace period.

Students whose cards or accounts are exhausted must be allowed to continue to purchase meals while the district notifies parents or guardians of the shortfall.