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After dumped lunches, SLC schools will serve only full meals
Education » After the outrage, school district says it will keep kids out of debt disputes.

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"Where they leave it open-ended again and leave it nebulous, that’s what got them in trouble," Clara said Friday. "That’s the thing that kind of still gives me pause."

Olsen said "out of hand" refers to parents whom the district has been unable to contact or work with on negative balances.

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Clara commended parents Friday for pushing the district to make changes.

"What’s disappointing is in my experience, the administrators would never have come to these conclusions on their own," Clara said. "It was because of the pressure and determination of the parents to see this through."

Board vice president Heather Bennett, however, said district leaders took action as soon as they realized what was happening. "We can only fix what we know about," Bennett said.

"Our district and our board have always been in support of doing everything we can to minimize the impact of child hunger on learning, and I, at least, as a board member, was not aware this practice of giving out partial meals was as common as it was."

The Salt Lake district isn’t the only one making changes after the outcry over the incident last week.

Canyons School District had, like some other districts, been giving alternative meals to kids behind in their payments. Canyons issued its own memo Friday, saying it will no longer serve alternative meals, instead giving a full lunch to every child who wants one regardless of negative balances.

"As a result of the event that took place in another district last week, Nutrition Services has updated its practice for students with negative balances in their meals account," the Canyons memo states.

The Salt Lake incident also inspired at least one man, in Texas, to donate hundreds of dollars to his local school to zero out all the students’ lunch accounts there, according to news reports.

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Olsen has said the Salt Lake district is still investigating its incident and how widespread the practice of publicly seizing kids’ lunches had been throughout the district.

The Salt Lake district also released a report at its regular board meeting Tuesday night explaining what led to the incident and changes that would follow. Some parents, however, have criticized that report as still leaving questions unanswered, including who made the decision to yank lunches in the first place.

Many parents have said the school’s cafeteria manager is not to blame.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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