Skip lunch line for $100? Florida school accused of 'cafeteria classism'

Oceane Deschanel
Agosto 12, 2017

Outraged parents took to Facebook demanding answers and calling the program 'cafeteria classism'. With the recent rise in awareness over lunch shaming, this pay-to-play arrangement caught the attention - and ire - of several parents.

It was a fundraising letter from the school's Parent Teacher Student Association, or PTSA, and said students who give $100 or more get a "front of the lunch line pass".

"Andrews said he also addressed the issue with PTSA members, who are volunteers".

Attending middle school is rough enough, Stephenson said, so when he saw the form in his sixth grader's orientation packet, he went red.

"Hey my dad has more money than you I get to eat first you have to wait you have to wait", Stephenson speculated what the form would incite from young students.

Last school year, nearly 7,000 kids in the Polk Co., Florida, got free or reduced lunches, according to the Dept. of Education. "With middle school already being a very contentious age, with hormones and everything else, the last thing you really want to do is add a food hierarchy on top of that", parent Chris Stephenson told News Channel 8. Since he's arrived, he said he has changed many things to be as inclusive as possible.

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Principal Brian Andrews sent an email to parents informing them to disregard the Family and Business Sponsorships form that was sent home with students.

"Nobody is a second-class citizen here, and I would encourage anybody to speak to parents that have been here", Andrews said. We offer a variety of fundraising options for our students and families to choose from each year. The intent of our PTSA is to always do the best for our students and families.

"Where were the checkpoints missed", said Stephenson.

The principal though, says he never saw the form and would have never included it in the packet.

"Who allowed unapproved documents to be distributed to 300 some-odd students without having read it?"

"What we do behind these walls, I truly believe we are for all kids, and we will continue to do that", said Andrews.

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