School gives students with lunch debt ‘sandwiches of shame’

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Parents are outraged after an Indiana high school began handing out “sandwiches of shame” to students who have debt on their lunch account, according to TODAY.

Kokomo High School officials said they enacted the policy to encourage parents to pay off their debt.

News of the new policy spread after a student posted a photo of a bread-and-cheese sandwich that was served to her classmate.

“The lunch lady said, ‘You owe $25.60. You have to have this alternative lunch,'” Kokomo High School senior Sierra Feitl told TODAY.

Under the school’s new policy, students who owe more than $25 will be given an alternative lunch.

The school district apologized but defended the policy by noting that 499 students carry debt on their lunch account and only 10 percent of those students are from low-income families.

“Some of these people on the list, I’m sorry, are making $100,000 a year,” said David Barnes, the communications director for Kokomo School Corporation. “Family of four, and have a debt over $100. I’m sorry, those people need to pay their bills.”

A spokesperson for the district told TODAY that all the credits on lunch accounts have put the school $50,000 in debt.

But Feitl said embarrassing students isn’t going to help the situation.

“Two slices of bread and two slices of cheese. Absolutely mortifying,” she said in a Facebook post on Jan. 5.

According to TODAY, the school district has suspended the policy until February, giving parents a chance to pay their debt. The school has received $15,000 back so far.

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