Officials at a Utah elementary school took the meals of 40 children and threw them away due to outstanding balances on their accounts.

Parents of students at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City were shocked and angered upon hearing the news.

From Salt Lake Trib:

“It was pretty traumatic and humiliating,” said Erica Lukes, whose 11-year-old daughter had her cafeteria lunch taken from her as she stood in line Tuesday at Uintah Elementary School, 1571 E. 1300 South.

Lukes said as far as she knew, she was all paid up. “I think it’s despicable,” she said. “These are young children that shouldn’t be punished or humiliated for something the parents obviously need to clear up.”

Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said the district’s child-nutrition department became aware that Uintah had a large number of students who owed money for lunches.

As a result, the child-nutrition manager visited the school and decided to withhold lunches to deal with the issue, he said.

Read more at Salt Lake Trib

Cafeteria workers were unable to see which children owed money until they received their lunches, so the meals were literally taken away from the children as they prepared to eat.

The children were given milk and fruit instead. School officials told the district that staffers typical tell students about balances owed as they go through the lunch line. Letter are are sent home to parents each week.

Was the school inappropriate for taking lunch away from the students?

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