Worst. Birthday. Ever.
An Ohio boy had his school lunch taken away from him on his 9th birthday because he owed a debt, according to multiple reports.
Jefferson Sharpnack, a student at Green Primary School in Uniontown, had picked out a lunch of cheesy breadsticks to eat. But when he approached the register to check out, the lunch lady took his tray away from him without a word, replacing it with a slice of cheese and bread.
And it was all over a $9 debt the student allegedly owed to the cafeteria.
According to a report in News 5 Cleveland, Jefferson had recently moved in with his grandmother, Diane Bailey, and was supposed to be enrolled in a free and reduced lunch program. While they were waiting for the paperwork to process, he came home with a note saying he owed $9 on his lunch account. So Bailey called the school to sort it out, believing he was in good standing.
Instead, the birthday boy had his lunch denied in front of the entire cafeteria.
“In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district,” Bailey told News 5 Cleveland. “And my other question is, if they take the food off of your tray, they have to throw it away. You would take the food off a tray and you can’t reserve it? You’re going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn’t make sense to me.”
Jefferson’s story was shared countless times on social media, which led school officials to change their policy. On Monday, Green Local Schools Superintendent Jeff Miller sent a letter to all parents, saying students will now receive a standard lunch regardless of their outstanding balance.
“We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches,” the letter said.