New Woodall Schools Lunch Policy Singles Out Kids, Parents Say
CHEROKEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - A new school lunch policy is raising concerns for some parents in the Woodall School District in Cherokee County.
Parents worry their child could be singled out if they don't have enough money in their account.
The policy went into effect Nov. 6.
The school wants parents to know any student with a negative meal balance of more than $20 gets a cheaper, alternative meal: a sandwich, a fruit and milk.
While it still meets nutritional guidelines, it's a meal some parents aren't too happy about.
"I don't think it's fair. I think they should all be able to eat a hot meal. Because sometimes for some kids that's all they get to eat," said Sabrina Ragsdale, parent.
Ragsdale is a mother of two elementary school students. She said the alternative meals make students feel singled out for their families' financial struggles.
"Not everybody has enough money to pay the lunches. The lunches do get expensive especially if you have more than one kid," Ragsdale said.
Others agree, saying that giving a student a cheaper alternative could lead to a much bigger problem.
"There's already enough bullying at school. But it will give the kids something more to pick on each other about I think," said Robin Palmeiri, grandparent .
"You got 10 kids sitting at a table, and you got that one kid eating a bologna sandwich. We'll then they get made fun of for not having money ... I think it could cause a problem," Ragsdale said.
The school district declined to speak on camera, but Superintendent Linda Clinkenbeard said they're working with parents to make sure every student receives a quality meal.
She said more students are eating in the cafeteria now than in the past, so they're asking parents to do their part.
"To a certain point it does embarrass them. It does hurt them. I see because I deal with kids so I know. I know what they're facing. But I also know that the parents need to step up and say 'hey I need to make sure my child is covered,'" said Tonna Jones, parent.
The school district is also part of the free and reduced lunch program.
If you believe your child qualifies you're asked to contact the school cafeteria.