Father decries ‘lunch shaming’ after child’s lunch taken away at school

WILDWOOD, MO (KTVI) – A St. Louis County father is raising concerns about lunch shaming over unpaid meals at a middle school in the Rockwood School District.

On Friday, Don Re said the incident happened back in February as his daughter, who attends Lasalle Springs Middle School, stood in the lunch line.

"When she got to the end of the end of the line to pay she was told by the lunch woman, 'You didn't have enough money in your account and I'm gonna have to take that tray of food,' and offered her a cold cheese sandwich," Re said.

Re said that he always puts money in his daughter's lunch account but for some reason there weren't enough funds on that day.

And that's something Re said he takes responsibility for. But does not believe his daughter, or any other student with a delinquent account, should be put on the spot.

"I wanna know why is this still happening? The kids are having food taken off their tray," said Re. "The school can come and make me clean tables, embarrass me—and that's fine—but not my kid."

Re said that he brought the incident to Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost's attention.

"I felt like he was receptive and I felt like he was going to make sure it didn't happen again," Re said.

Knost told FOX 2 that while he cannot comment on that particular incident, it is something the district will not take lightly.

"It's our policy to make sure our kids are fed," Knost said. "If the parents don't fund the account we are going to work with the child, we're going to make sure they have a lunch, eventually it's going to be a different lunch than the lunch kids are paying for, but we are going to make sure they are nourished."

Knost said that if there are incidents similar to this one happening within the district then he wants to hear from those parents.