This School Gives a ‘Shame Sandwich’ to Kids with School Lunch Debt

Staff Writer
Students at Kokomo High School in Indiana are complaining that anyone with a lunch debt of over $25 gets a plain cheese sandwich
"Do I have enough money? Am I going to be able to get this tray? Is everyone going to see and wonder why I can't get a normal tray, too?" one student worries.

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"Do I have enough money? Am I going to be able to get this tray? Is everyone going to see and wonder why I can't get a normal tray, too?" one student worries.

A school lunch policy at one high school in Indiana has drawn criticism from students and parents for “shaming” students.

At Kokomo High School in Indiana, if students have accrued more than $25 of debt on their school lunch card, when they try to order lunch at the cafeteria they will receive a “special” alternative meal of two slices of American cheese on whole wheat bread.

One student witnessed the following exchange happen in front of her on the lunch line:

"The lunch lady said, 'You owe $25.60. You have to have this alternative lunch,'" Kokomo High School senior Sierra Feitl told NBC Today. Feitl expressed her outrage in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

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The policy began this school year. Parents were informed of the change toward the end of last school year, but the school only recently began enforcing it.

The school has since pointed out that of the 499 students who have debts on their school lunch cards, only about 10 percent come from low-income families.

"Some of these people on the list, I'm sorry, are making $100,000 a year," David Barnes, the communications director for Kokomo School Corporation told NBC Today. "Family of four, and have a debt over $100. I'm sorry, those people need to pay their bills."

The school also claims that the collected lunch debts of students have cost the school at least $50,000. 

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