Student Short On Lunch Money Turned Away

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A Washington Junior High student in Bentonville prepared for a normal day in the lunch room, but when it came time to check out, she didn’t have enough to cover the bill.

The student was forced to return her food and was told to go to the office to call a parent. That never happened, so the child never ate.

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure this never happens again,” said Principal Tim Sparacino.

Sparacino said administrators have now changed the policy to where kids will receive a lunch no matter what.

"We are to feed every kid, every day no matter what it takes and rather than send them to the office where they are potentially embarrassed," said Sparacino.

One student said he has had the same thing happen to him.

“I was getting lunch and I was a dollar in the hole and they wouldn`t let me eat, so I had to put my food back,” said Josh Smart.

Parents like Aaron Smart said that's unacceptable.

“I don`t think that they should not let them have lunch just because of a small negative balance,” said Smart.

Sparacino said they are aware that this has happened more than once, but plan to ensure no student ever misses lunch again.

The principal also said the new plan allows the student to receive a meal and the cafeteria will then notify the office who will then talk to the parents.


  • Malinda Pitts

    This happened to my son at WJHS as well, and it is standard operating procedure at BHS. There students are not allowed to purchase lunch if they are short on funds at any time.

  • brandon tom

    holy crud what is wrong with people these days… how you gonna go and deny a kid the right to eat when they are hungry regardless is they have the ability to pay or not? i mean seriously…

  • Becky

    There are plenty of kids who receive free lunches on a daily basis due to not being able to afford lunches…. why punish the children and families who have to pay for lunches by not allowing their children to eat when they have ran out of money? I’m sure the parents of these children will pay the balance whenever they can. Many times all it takes is a note home to the parent. Regardless of the reason, the child should be allowed to eat!

  • hogfan

    You chose to have them, then you need to feed ’em…you should not need a note to remind you that they need food daily at school

  • Becky

    Whatever hogfan! I feed my children and they take their lunch more often than not however if they use all the money in their account and they have from time to time then I get a note or a phone call reminding me there is a balance due it get’s paid and life goes on… No child should have to go hungry ever!!!

  • hogfan

    I agree, “no child should have to go hungry”….however; parents should not have to be reminded by the school that their children must eat daily. As my grandma said, “It is a sorry old hen or rooster that can not scratch for their chicks”.

  • tref89

    The school should at least provide a cheese or peanut butter sandwich and a cup for water to those students who do not have the money to pay at that time. Nourishment is a huge part of learning! This is just NOT right!

  • Robin

    The child deserves to eat no matter what, no one ever should ever go hungry, people get food stamps to eat, so should we not allow then to use their EBT card, same thing, heck, I will donate money for a child to eat, it does not bother me to help, what bothers me is people that always have to be negative, ( not all)

  • shannon

    yep just a couple of weeks ago this occurred to my friends son. Food and education should be a given for all man kind. And yes we do have the means and resources, no matter what they tell you.

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