UPDATE: The superintendent of the Pennsylvania school district where Stacy Koltiska previously worked as a cafeteria server has spoken out against claims that their policies are depriving students of hot meals.
According to CBS News, when asked whether Koltiska's complaints about taking lunches away were true, Superintendent Michael Daniels replied, "That is not true. By all accounts that have been shared with me, that is not true."
When asked whether Koltiska was ever told to snatch hot meals away from students and if she ever did so, he said, "She was not, and she did not."
He also defended the school district's new policy, which is being used to curb overdue balances on meal accounts. According to Daniels, it is working, and when implemented properly, there is no shaming involved.
However, Daniels' assessment is not totally true because — regardless of Koltiska's debatable story — shaming can certainly be a side effect of this policy.
If students see a classmate eating a cold cheese sandwich, they will instantly know it is because their account is unpaid, which will undoubtedly open the floodgates to teasing and ridicule.
Koltiska's experience, however, has become a case of "he said, she said" as she has also defended herself following the superintendent's denial.
"The one thing I am not is a liar,” she said. “Why would I make this up? I’m not a liar, and I don’t lie, and I don’t appreciate this attack on my character.”
“This is a bad policy. You made a bad choice, and instead of fixing it or having a discussion about it, you’re now going to blame an employee over policy,” she added.
If Koltiska intends to fight for this policy to be changed, she's going to need some proof that the incidents she shared really happened.
A Pennsylvania cafeteria worker recently quit her job over a “lunch shaming” policy that did not sit well with her.
Under the Canon-McMillan school district’s newly implemented policy, cafeteria server Stacy Koltiska was required to take back the hot lunches she gave to two students whose parents were behind on their payments.
Koltiska took to Facebook to express her frustration after she quit last Thursday.
She detailed one incident in which she didn’t realize a first-grader had an overdue balance on his account before handing out his lunch.
Once she noticed, she had to take his tray back and replace it with a “cheese sandwich,” which she claims is really just one piece of cheese slapped onto one piece of bread.
"I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears," she wrote.
She said the whole ordeal left her feeling sick, and when it happened another time the following week, she resigned.
According to Mic, the school district’s new policy states that K-6 students whose families owe more than $25 on their lunch accounts are to be given the cheese sandwich instead of a hot meal, and students above the sixth grade with the same balance are not to be given lunch at all.
This harsh policy was adopted in an attempt to recoup the “tens of thousands of dollars” owed by approximately 300 parents, according to the Associated Press. As cruel as it is, it has proven to be effective as the number of parents with outstanding meal payments has reportedly dropped to under 70.
Still, the fact that Koltiska had to enforce the policy twice over the course of just two weeks with children who are too young to even understand the “logic” behind it is extremely troubling.
Adding insult to injury, when the students receive the sandwich, their account still gets charged the full amount for a hot lunch, according to Koltiska's post.
As Koltiska so eloquently put it, “Once again, it comes down to Profits Over People but this time the People are Our Children.”
The students do not deserve to be punished for their balances, especially considering the many possible reasons why their parents may be behind on payments, such as financial hardships.
The schools in the district certainly have enough to spare, as Koltiska revealed that they throw a large amount of untouched food away every day.
Of all the students in the district, there are probably a good percentage of them who look forward to their school lunches because it is the only decent meal they get each day, and they should not be deprived of that.
Banner Photo Credit: Flickr, U.S. Department Of Agriculture