First-grader claims lunch lady told him he ‘can’t have lunch’

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SNOHOMISH, Wash.-- The only thing 7-year-old Xavier loves more than his math homework are his fruits and vegetables. But Xavier's parents say they're concerned because on Oct. 20, the first-grader was denied school lunch at Cascade View Elementary.

“It was a sack lunch. It was in a bag, she was passing it around to everybody. The lunch lady said, ‘Guess what, you can’t have a lunch.’ She said that. She said I can't have a lunch,” Xavier said.

Xavier is on the free lunch program. But instead of getting a meal, Xavier was sent home with a grumbling tummy and a slip saying he had a negative lunch balance, Xavier's dad, Eric, told KCPQ.

“My question was never answered as to why he was denied. I was very mad. I couldn't believe it happened. It happened to me as a child and I could still feel that hurt and I can only imagine what he went through,” Eric said.

The Snohomish County School District said they are investigating. The school spokesperson says whenever a student’s account is negative $20 or more, the child gets a cheese sandwich and unlimited fruits and veggies from the salad bar, along with a drink.

Eric said this does not apply to his son.

“We get funds from the state, food stamp wise, which means his balance should be covered,” Eric said.

Eric said he's angry over how the school handled the situation and he's concerned over how it's affected Xavier. He is now considering removing his children from the school.

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46 comments

  • UptownChicago

    Why is it the fault of the school, and not the fault of the parent who shirked his/her responsibility to keep that balance in check?

  • DreS

    UPTOWNCHICAGO – It states in the story “The school spokesperson says whenever a student’s account is negative $20 or more, the child gets a cheese sandwich and unlimited fruits and veggies from the salad bar, along with a drink.” So this boy should have gotten something to eat. This boy is not the one responsible for the mistake. Shame on the person that didn’t give him something to eat. What does that help? Give the boy a sandwich and then contact the parents to work it out. He is in school and it is the responsibility of the school during school hours to make sure that children are taken care of and letting a student go hungry is not acceptable. What harm would it have done to give him something to eat and then notify the school and his parents about the situation?

  • Tracy

    It really doesn’t matter if they had free lunch, paid lunch with a negative balance. That is a child and he should have been given a lunch, even if the damn lunch lady had to give him hers. It’s called having a heart and some damn decency as a human being. Where was the teacher? I just don’t see how no one cared that a child went without eating all day over a 50 cent ass lunch.

  • Carrie

    Who the hell cares, really? Why hasn’t anyone said anything about the deadbeat parents? THEY have the responsibility to feed their offspring, not the taxpayers. Boo, hoo, the little brat didn’t get his FREE lunch. Guess his momma and daddy are gonna bust some heads or get the community to protest somewhere. Pathetic.

    • Mark

      Carrie – I take it that you are not a mother – or if you are – I am guessing it is your child who is the brat if he or she has learned ethics from you. This is a 7 year old child you are disparaging. The child should not suffer because of the parents at least while he is under the care of the public school. I pay a lot of taxes – and a high priority to me as a tax payer is making sure no kid goes hungry in public school. It is money better spent than some expensive weapon system the Pentagon didn’t even ask for or want. If you don’t have children – I hope you don’t procreate.

  • diane

    I have in-laws who like this poor child are multi-generational reliant on government programs to survive. My nephews are third generation of food stamps , section 8 housing, medicaid, cell phones, internet access.,utilities etc. Neither parents and grandparents have any reason to change their situations. They’ve accepted as as a way of life.

  • PartyWarriors (@party_warriors)

    Wow some peoples ignorance in commenting is astounding and appalling. This is a child you do not humiliate a child for whatever reason. They should of given him a lunch and then taken it up privately with parents. You can’t blame innocent children for the circumstances they live especially when you do not know the family’s circumstances. Things like this or loss of jobs, medical issues what ever could easily happen to anyone of us.

  • Pat

    I have had the problem that my son kept getting lunch and then they sent me the bill. He takes his lunch every day, it’s not my fault he throws it in the garbage when he gets to school and then they feed him. I never paid the bill. My other child is now on food stamps because I lost my job for months. He gets a free lunch. He doesn’t have a “balance” I put money into an account if I can if he wants something more than the free lunch. This school lunch lady is an idiot

    • Amber

      So your child is eating a meal that cost money, and you’re refusing to pay for it? You need to get him to stop. That’s stealing, plain and simple. You’re taking something you’re not paying for. It IS your fault he’s throwing it away, and you SHOULD pay for it. What pathetic reasoning.

  • Brandy

    Some of the comments are so ignorant and insensitive. What has happened to the human race that anyone would knowingly let a CHILD go hungry for any reason. The child should not be punished even if the parents are at fault. This goes especially to Carrie and Dick. Carrie, calling this kid you don’t know a brat because he was hungry at lunchtime? You two make me sad for the human race! I am not saying I agree that all people on public aid need it, but unless you know their individual situation, you have no reason to be a- holes about it!

  • peter kowalski

    maybe eric should get off his ass and get a job to support his kids and not rely on the state , but if you read the article eric’s parents were also on aid like father like son

  • Jachooz

    To Dick ( no pun intended) I hope that you never have to face the humility of not being able to scrape up enough money to pay for your own child’s lunch. Last year my husband who made over $80,000 a year lost his job with the rest of his department. I am disabled. we used every bit of our savings to pay our mortgage ( which is only $1500 a month) to make sure we had a roof over our heads. Eventually the money got so low we were forced to get food stamps and aid to pay for our kids lunches. It took just over a year but he finally got a new job and we were able to get off the aid. It is humiliating, scary and degrading when you can’t put food on tour table. maybe if you were forced to go through it you would change your views. I did.

  • Denis

    And this is the child’s fault why? No metter what this child should not have been denied food!! He’s a child it’s not his responsibility!! The school could have gave him a PB & J& some milk!!

  • deb

    I am a lunch lady– if a student has a negative balance we make sure they get a sandwich and a carton of milk. Not the best solution but we do offer something to eat. When my red flag is raised I talk with the social worker to try and come up with a solution. Kids should never be embarrassed, especially in front of their peers!!! Lunch is supposed to be a positive experience—just saying .

  • deb

    Empathy for a childs situation wouldnt hurt either– diversity training for the foodservice staff may help how they treat the students too.

  • Angel

    This happened to me once as a child in first grade. I made a scene by crying in the principle’s office and was eventually given a lunch. It stinks that this child didn’t get a lunch but moving the kid to a different school is excessive. How did this even make news anyways?

    • Dick Beninya

      Because the parents want it to be. Apparently they aren’t embarrassed enough by this to get a JOB and gain control over their own lives, but spray it out on the internet and change to a different school is their response. Can’t you bleeding heart liberals add all this up?

  • Sonia

    I live in Chicago il and my children are also a part of the free lunch program. My daughter was to denied luch because she had a negative $15 dollar balance when I picked her up after school she was starving …I went to the school the next day and thry said it was a computer error but they reacted as if it was normal and that they don’t allow any students account to go past a negative $10 dollars before they stop feeding them…I now always send my kods with a lunch but still encourage them to get the school lunch just so they will never be hungry again…

    • Dick Beninya

      Obviously not if you believe that the best way to raise a child is to let everyone else, but yourself, make sure he is fed, clothed and housed, then beef up a storm when your “plan” runs into the slightest snag! To claim “you have embarrassed my child” when YOU put your child’s issue on the internet…….. Once again the child is left best to the parents. If they can’t feed em they shouldn’t continue to keep them!

  • Julienne Vargas

    WOAH WOAH WOAH! I’m currently a student and if we have no money in our account, we get a free lunch that consists of a cheese stick and a yogurt! Atleast give him that! On the other hand, I feel like someone told this kid to say this. When he says the lunch lady refused him a lunch it sounded too scripted. The way he said things was just off for a first grader…

  • uh uh!

    im no child-hater, of course. howwever…all these ppl crying their kids went to school and had an issue for ONE DAY, get over it. if ur that worried about the kid actually eating then here is a novel idea, send the kid WITH food. dont ‘depend’ on someone else, esp the state to take care of ur kid. ppl starve every day.. its not pretty and not fair but it is what it is. indignant and ignorant parents in our country…getting stuff for free (well, we did pay for it for them didnt we?) and then have the audacity to complain and threaten when they dont get it.

  • Rob

    Get ready for more free lunch did any one see the king last nite let them stay home in their country and stop coming here to live on the public dole

  • Nics

    How do we even know the kid is telling the truth, or he might just be leaving stuff out. They probably did let him have the sandwich, fruit and veg and drink, the basic lunch they give kids when the parents are over $20 in debt. Why have they got two kids anyway when they’re living on food stamps? Perhaps they should find a way of paying off that $20 instead of making a huge issue out of this and going to the media!!!