Mom’s unexpected reaction when school denies her son lunch makes headlines

A mom whose son had his lunch taken away because he owed his school cafeteria less than $5, paid off his debt and that of all the other students in arrears.

Amanda Keown felt that no one should have to undergo the humiliation her son Dominic Gant suffered, when a worker in the Dowagiac, Mich., High School publicly removed his lunch in the cafeteria. Dominic owed only a few dollars, but school policy allowed the lunchroom’s private contractor not to serve anyone whose account wasn’t up to date, abc57 News reported.

“I was appalled that he was denied lunch and his lunch was taken out of his hands over $5,” she said. She went to the school intent on seeing that no other pupil should go home hungry and paid off everyone’s outstanding bills, which came to $60.

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Principal Peter Hoekstra explained that “There’s no reason why a student should ever go without lunch, even if they have overdrawn their account. They can seek out one of the adults in the lunchroom and ask for permission to charge for another day.”

“We communicate regularly with parents,” he added. “We send letters home on a regular basis and the directors of the lunch program have also made phone calls.”

“[But] it’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure there are funds in the account if they’re not on free and reduced lunch,” he told abc57 News.

Gant told his mother that “it was really embarrassing, especially in front of the whole class,” which convinced her to pay the total bill and keep everyone’s slate clean.

“I realize I didn’t have to do that,” she stated, “but I don’t want another kid going through what my son went through.”

Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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