A school district in Pennsylvania has sent out a warning to parents telling them that if they do not pay for their children’s overdue school lunch bills their children could be put into foster care.
Wyoming Valley West School District sent out letters to parents earlier this summer stating that parents who refuse to pay their children’s lunch bills will be subjected to dependency hearings where their children could possibly be taken from them due to their not providing food to their child.
“You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child’s right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care,” the letter read.
The district reported that students owe more than $20,000 in lunch bills including at least four students who each owe at least $450 on their accounts. It was also noted that the district tried other methods including serving children with overdue accounts peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but they legally advised against that as well.
The school district has since announced plans to send out “less threatening” notices to parents after receiving several complaints, however, Wyoming Valley West’s lawyer, Charles Coslett says he did not believe the letter was threatening and also noting that it got the attention of the parents:
“Hopefully, that gets their attention and it certainly did, didn’t it? I mean, if you think about it, you’re here this morning because some parents cried foul because he or she doesn’t want to pay a debt attributed to feeding their kids. How shameful,” Coslett told WYOU-TV.
School officials are now looking into other legal ways to get parents to pay for their children’s lunches.