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Monday, August 25, 2014 - 5:28pm

Pay Up Or Children Go Hungry?

News

POSTED: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 7:54pm

UPDATED: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 5:39pm

LAS CRUCES - One parent says a school district in the Borderland is going to extreme measures to get student cafeteria debt paid off. She says they're not allowing kids to eat if they owe $5 or more on their cafeteria balance.

Vivian Galvez has a son in the 8th grade at Sierra Middle School in Las Cruces.

"He was embarrassed. He was in line with his friend and his friends kind of felt bad," She said.

Galvez says earlier this month her son grabbed his school lunch tray and was at the checkout line when the cashier stopped him and said you owe us money.

"And then they told him that he couldn't eat, that he had to take his tray back," she said.

Galvez told us it was the first time the school told her son there was a balance, and she doesn't think it's fair they made him go through the day hungry.

"It's our responsibility but if the schools are not letting us know that we have a balance then how do we know what we have to pay," she said.

We asked the district about the allegations.

"If she did not {receive notice} then I certainly apologize for that on behalf of the school district," Las Cruces Public School Spokesman Michael Cook said.

Cook told us more than $3,500.00 is owed to school cafeterias in the district, and he says they're simply trying to get parents to pay up.

"If the family works with us to make some effort to resolve even part of the debt our major goal is to make sure kids get fed," he said.

Galvez paid off the $20.00 balance she owed and her son is now allowed to eat, but she's worried the same thing may be happening to other kids whose parents don't know about a balance owed.

"I understand where they're coming from on that part, but I still don't think they need to be telling the kids that they can't eat their meals. I think the kids need to eat no matter what," she said.

Galvez says at the very least the school should have given her son a snack, but she says they didn't even do that.

"You think, you know, that your kids are being fed at school, and that's something that should be done every day," she said.

We asked the district if it was true that they didn't offer anything to Galvez's son.

"That's a possibility, unfortunately. I think it's pretty rare that happens. I know in elementary schools it does not," Cook said.

He also told us the district is now working to make sure this never happens again.

"This is an issue we're trying to resolve. We're trying to come up with an alternative program to make certain in 100% of cases if the student doesn't get the meal being served he or she is served some kind of alternative."
 

Comments News Comments

1. I have no problem with the schools charging lunches. Things happen in life.
2. Parents shouldn't abuse the system. She had to know that there was a balance due.
3. A child should never go hungry? You're right. However, there are children actually starving in our country. This child missed lunch. A little perspective is good to have.
4. Know what the school policy is and don't put your child in a humiliating situation.
5. Quit blaming others and take responsibility.

Excuse me, I don't think any child should go hungry. Let's take food away from the prisoners who get THREE meals a day, BEFORE we take 1 meal a day away from our students. What is wrong with this world?

Don't say she had to know, you have no idea whether she knew or not. If she gave the child money which they didnt turn in then she did not know. If they sent the note about it home with the child who didn't give it to her then she did not know. It doesn't mean the child is bad, maybe just forgetful or lazy. One of my daughters did that, many times I wrote checks which I found weeks later at the bottom of her book bag. In middle school.
You quit blaming others and have a little empathy.

Parents should come to the school and see exactly what their kids do with their lunches. If it is not hot cheetos, it all goes in the trash. There is so much waste, it is unreal. Everyone is looking for something free. What has our country turned into. No one has pride anymore. We just wait for a free handout. Parents need to be proactive and you should know if your kids needs money or not. The school should not be to blame. Get off your back sides and get involved with your kids.

Are you ppl not reading the column correctly??? She did assume responsibility for not paying, however I think the issue is not to turn the kid away! What if this kid was ill (diabetes) and had to eat?? What then?? As a parent I'm glad she shed light to this situation. What ever happened to NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND??!! Owe five dollars or more and guess what kid, you ARE left behind, its ridiculous!!

If a child has a legitimate diatary need then I would imagine any district would feed that child. Can I just say this again....THESE CHILDREN BELONG TO YOU. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBLITY AS A PARENT TO PROVIDE ALL FACETS OF THAT CHILDS DAILY NEEDS. If you go into a McDonalds will they give you a happy meal because your child is hungry but has no money? COME ON PEOPLE TAKE RESPONSIBLITY!!!

I am the parent who spoke up for her son's rights. I never denied that the money for his lunch was owed. I am trying to make sure that not only my child but everyone's child does not get humiliated in front of his/her peers. And it's a little hard to pack a lunch when you wake up at 3am to get to work. Thanks to those of you who understand what i am trying to get across.

It's funny how some kids have to pay while other kids with loser parents don't. Oh the irony.

by law a school can't deny a child food, they have to a least provide a cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich....I know in our district when your low a certain amount you get a phone call and a letter...

I'd like to see a copy of that law. School lunch is a priveledge, not a right because you have to pay for it. It is the responsiblity of the parent to pay for their child's meals...PERIOD.

Umm. Parents don't be lazy and make your kids lunch. Always complaining about something. That's life!! School is part of life. Education is a necessity. You complain about materials for your child's future, but yet you carry those expensive cell phones and designer bags!!

Not every parent has an expensive cell phone in a designer bag. Your argument doesn't address what this article is about. The parents have every right to be upset, especially if the school didn't give notice to the parents that the account was low. School lunch is an option and plenty of people eat school lunch. I doubt it's possible for every parent to make lunch in the morning for their children. Who knows what weird hours different parents have working. No one can predict this would happen.

I live in the Socorro Independent School District, I pay a pretty hefty amount in property taxes and I still have to purchase this, that, and the other for my child to take to school because the teacher is teaching an interactive, hands-on lesson that requires me to purchase these items, and I have to pay full price for some pretty unhealthy lunches, as far as I can determine from the menu's I receive. Don't deny the children their food; you'll get your damned money, it's called communication!

Why did the kid have a balance in the first place. Why let them start a balance in the first place? DO the parents approve the charge?(IMO if not just like a credit card company that gives a minor an account the parents are not responsible for the debt - Let the school learn not to give credit to a minor and try to hold the parent responsible to pay the debt!) Perhaps the parent does not want the kid buying that crap instead of eating a packed lunch they prepare - so don;t allow it to start with

this school lunch ordeal- one school, one kid, one mom who complained to the media. what does this tell you? other than shirk her responsibility and blame the school. a kid in the 8th grade by now already knows if he/she needs money for lunch and usually tells the parent.

THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR EVER THE WORST THINGS IS THAT CAFETERIA LADIES TAKE THE FOOD OFF THEIR HANDS ONCE THEY GET TO THE CASHIER IF THEY OWE MONEY PR DO NOT HAVE MONEY AND YOU KNOW FOR WHAT TO THROW THE FOOD AWAY BECAUSE ONCE THE KID TOUCHES THE TRAY THEY HAVE TO THROW IT AWAY

Excuse me but I'm sure the office in the school cafeteria has a phone, if he or she owes money, Call the parents at home or cell and let them know there is a balance. Don't embarrass the kid infront of his friends and everybody in the Cafeteria. I'm sure when the lunch ladies forget their lunch money they still eat but pay the next day or at the end of the week.

Her son had a balance of $20.. I know I would remember if I had given my child money for lunch.. That is 2 weeks of lunch. So ultimately it was her responsibility. If she really cared for her child she would make sure SHE REMEMBERS just like I do that lunch money is needed. Don't go blaming the school because you have 2 weeks of a balance.

There is some heartless people out there, if the parent did not get the notice she owed the school money then how is it the childs fault.
All my finances are in order but over the years I have had my share of a business or corporation not adhering to common sense policies.
The school district is not above making mistakes and they did just that in this situation. They have acknowledged this fact, it will not happen again so easy on the kids and parents...have some common sense and decency.

Thanks for a voice of reason. So many people who write here are sure they know that this lowlife dirtbag lazy parent is just trying to get over on the school district, and her lazy good for nothing child is just taking the school lunches and throwing them in the trash anyway. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't think it's all so black and white.

If your kid doesn't like the cafeteria food and/or you think they are overpriced....then HELLO....pack your kid a lunch!!!!

FOR YOUR INFO 2 YRS AGO MY KIDS STOP EATING AT THE SCHOOL CAFETERIA BECAUSE I WENT AND PAY FOR THEIR LUNCH FOR SAME REASON THAT I DIDNT WANT FOR THEM TO BE EMBARRASED SO I TOOK 2 HRS OUR OF MY WORK DAY TO GO PAY AND 2 DAYS LATER THE STUPID LADIES AT THE CAFETERIA TOOK THE TRAY AWAY FROM MY DAUGHTER THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL HAD TO CALL ME TO LET ME KNOW THAT SHE WAS CRYING BECAUSE THEY HAD TAKE HER FOOD AWAY SO I WENT AND TOOK THE RECEIPT AND STHEY HAD MISTAKENLY APPLIED THE MONEY TO SOMEONE ELSE.

parents should have the ultimate responsibility to make sure they pay. as a parent myself i don't think any parent should blame the school. it just boils down to the kids not being taught correctly at home.

I bet you'd feel differently if it happened to your kid. What lesson should the child have been taught at home that would have prevented this oversight from happening? I guess school workers, administrators, etc. have plenty of time to call parents when their child acts up in school, but God forbid they pick up a phone or send a note home informing parents that they've run behind on their school lunch accounts. No, let them send the child back to class hungry and humiliated. A-holes!

1) Did you know your kid needed lunch money EVERY DAY to eat?
2) Did you make sure he had it?
3) Do you know your kid can take his lunch?
4) They offer pbj sandwiches to kids who are hungry and keep forgetting to bring money.
5) Whose responsibility is it to feed your kid? To make sure he has money on his account? To be his adult supervision? To teach him to check his balance when there is any question about whether he has money left?
6) Your kid, your responsibility.....

The same to you deep pocket.

Thee schools are ripping off people, getting to open an accout for sub par overpriced msg enriched garbage, worth about 50 cents. I'd say send a message, everyone start bringing their own lunch, cold of course. I offered the school district a microwave so stundents who want to heat their lunches brought from home. They refused, citing they have a contract for their own lunch. I smell a rat, and they are serving it in a corrupted school lunch program. They punish people who bring own lunch.

Just pack a lunch. School cafeterias cannot microwave a child's lunch brought from home. We cannot insure it is up to temperature or way too hot. It has nothing to do with corruption, it has to do with quality and safety.

Never should a child go hungry that is insane! Never discuss financial problems with a child either, let him eat and have a chat with his parents after school, so that they may pack him a lunch the next day if they can not afford the bill!

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