6-Year-Old Forced To Do the ‘Walk of Shame’ After Not Being Able to Pay for $2.25 Lunch

Bullying has become an enormous issue in schools, but a fresh problem now appears to be happening: lunch shaming?

Students are denied food or often served just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if their parents have fallen back on their accounts, resulting in other students singling out and teasing these children. This was discovered the hard way last week by Indiana kindergartner Anya Howard.

A cafeteria worker, who said the girl didn’t have enough money in her account to purchase the $2.25 lunch, told the 6-year-old to return her hot food tray.

The worker then sent Anya and one more student to the back of the lunch line and told them to wait for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead.

“They were laughing at us,” Anya said of her classmates, who saw what had happened.

Anya said she did not know how to react to her laughing classmates, and now her grandpa is talking about the “lunch shaming” of his granddaughter. As a former teacher, he is asking the district administrators to review their policies on cafeteria food.

“When she was talking to me about it, she was more than ‘sad,'” Dwight Howard said. “I mean, that’s embarrassing for a little 6-year-old.”

Although the policy is to issue lunch account payment reminders dipping to $5, Howard, a former teacher, said the school had failed to notify the family that Anya’s account had fallen to just 10 cents.

“They waited until there was a dime left, denied her the opportunity to eat the lunch that she had [been served and tried to pay for] and then she had to go to the end of the line to wait for a PB&J,” he said.

A statement from a district official indicates that the incident that involved Anya being denied the hot lunch appears to follow the standard procedure.

“It is not an uncommon occurrence for multiple students to be served the alternate lunch on any given day,” Kent DeKoninck, Greenwood Community Schools superintendent, said in an email sent to News 8.

“Any time this happens, our staff looks to handle all of these as discreetly as possible. … We do allow elementary students to charge two hot meals before receiving the alternate meal,” he said.

But according to Howard, the situation with Anya was not handled with discretion. He described the “cafeteria walk of shame” as unnecessary and humiliating.

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