GREEN, Ohio — A Summit County school district has put out a message on social media clearing up its lunch policy after a student was denied a hot lunch last week due to a negative account balance.
9-year-old Jefferson Sharpnack had his birthday lunch taken away in front of his friends at Green Primary School last week because his balance was in the negative. It touched off a firestorm of controversy on social media.
Sharpnack's grandmother, Diane Bailey, has four students in the district.
She's led the change for all students to have a hot meal after her grandson was given a cheese sandwich for lunch.
"I can't believe that it's cost effective to throw away food and give them cheese and bread, that's more money," Bailey said. "I just asked if they could possibly change their policy or find a different way other than embarrassing the kids."
Green School Superintendent Jeffrey Miller wrote a note to the district's families on Monday afternoon to clear up its policy on school lunches.
"All students enrolled in PreK through twelfth grades will receive the standard lunch for the day at their respective buildings regardless of their account balance," Miller wrote. "We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches. Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals."
Bailey said after the incident went viral, other parents have come out with similar stories. The plan now is to move forward and encourage change in other district's lunch policies.