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RPS 205 student loses lunch to school policy

May 28, 2014
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By Susan Johnson
Copy Editor

As Michelle Obama has expressed concern about school children receiving healthy lunches, she might like to check out a policy at Rockford Public School District 205 (RPS 205). Both WTVO-17 and WQRF-39, along with mystateline.com reported a case of a third-grader at Rolling Green Elementary School who actually had his lunch snatched and thrown in the garbage.

As reported by Eyewitness News, 9-year-old Ben Yoder said his hot lunch was taken from him last month because of an overdue balance, but his father says the school never told him about a missing payment. Ben Yoder said the woman who takes the lunch money threw his lunch away and gave him a bag of Ritz crackers instead. Staven Yoder, the boy’s father, said he found it “outside the realm of possibility that a lunch would be taken away from a child.”

The Yoders regularly send their son to school with checks to pay for his lunch, but Ben had forgotten to turn it in. Many children may forget things at school, but in Ben’s case, there could be health repercussions.

The Yoders said they were not notified of the overlooked payment, which is against Rockford Public Schools lunch policy, sent by e-mail to Eyewitness News. The policy states that “it is district practice to still provide students with five days worth of traditional lunch meals” as a grace period. Besides this, Ben is autistic and takes medication that requires him to have his food intake monitored.

The nutritional value of Ritz crackers aside, the calorie total would be 200 calories at most. The average 9-year-old consumes approximately 500 calories for lunch. “How can you get through the rest of the day on Ritz crackers and milk?” complained Staven Yoder.

Denial of school lunches has become a nationwide issue. One mother in Michigan whose son was denied lunch at school decided to pay off every kids’ lunch fund in protest. The Yoders say the local policy should be changed.

Posted May 28, 2014

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