An angry mother has denounced the school for refusing to feed her son because she was in debt on his school meals account.
The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said his son was ‘humiliated’ and left ‘without lunch’.
Staff at Bramall High School in Stockport refused to give the schoolboy a plate of pasta after his account, used by low-income families, ran into £4.05 debt, Manchester Evening News reports.
The mother said her son was ‘humiliated’ as the dinner lady confirmed with another member of staff that he could not be allowed to eat.
He was offered a sandwich, but as he does not eat butter, he refused, and therefore deprived himself of his lunch, says his mother.
She said she originally received an email from the school on Monday morning saying she was only £1.70 in debt but hadn’t had the chance to do so before her son goes to school.
“I work six days a week and I just haven’t had the opportunity to,” she said.
“He arrived at school in the morning and had a sausage bar and a drink, which pushed him into more debt.
“Anyway, at lunchtime he arrived at the checkout, he had chosen his pasta and put it on the tray.
“She then said ‘you’re in debt’, then left to tell someone else what to do, then came back and said no to him to have the food because he didn’t have paid.”
She added that he was offered a sandwich but declined as he did not eat butter.
His son said it “has often happened” with other students in a similar situation if their accounts went into debt.
She said the incident has raised questions about what happens to food that children cannot afford.
“My question is, even without Covid, do they give the food to someone else, or do they just throw it away?” she asked.
“If they give it, especially with Covid, is it cross-contamination, or are they deliberately not feeding a child. Was it an oversight?
“And if I had more, would my child go without food for another day? »
She said she was left angry and upset following the incident and feared for the parents in worse financial shape.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
“My son is not Oliver.
“I was just appalled. It really upset me and I couldn’t believe no one was calling me or asking if I was in trouble – what if I was in financial trouble, would it have been refused again?
“What if he was £30 in debt? I worry to think what will happen to parents who are struggling financially and unable to claim school meals.
She said it ‘wasn’t just human error’ and happened ‘regularly’ to other schoolchildren.
“I find this shocking, especially since Marcus Rashford has done so much to make sure children don’t starve themselves,” she added.
Footballer Marcus Rashford has championed a campaign for free school meals for children during school holidays and has since been awarded an MBE for his work tackling child poverty.
A Bramhall High School representative said: ‘The school has a policy in place when an account is debited.
“As the parent said, on this occasion a sandwich was offered as an alternative, in line with our policy, and it was declined.”
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