Boy, 9, left upset after school cafeteria staff took away his lunch because of $9 unpaid balance

Ohio boy, 9, left upset after school cafeteria staff took away his lunch on his birthday because of a $9 unpaid balance

A 9-year-old boy in Ohio was embarrassed by cafeteria staff when they took away his school lunch on his birthday.
Jefferson Sharpnack, a student at Green Primary School in Summit County, came home upset after he was denied lunch over a $9 unpaid balance in his lunch account on September 3.  
His grandmother, Diane Bailey, found out about the incident after he told her he had ‘the worst birthday ever.’
Bailey told Fox 8: ‘He gets off the bus and he says, “Grandma! Worst birthday ever!”
‘He says they took his lunch from his tray and gave him a piece of cheese and bread.’ 

Jefferson Sharpnack (pictured) is seen playing outside his Summit County home after he was given a piece of bread and cheese for lunch on his birthday

Diane Bailey (pictured) told Fox 8 reporters that cafeteria staff denied Jefferson school lunch because his lunch account had unpaid balance of $9

The cafeteria staff allegedly took Jefferson’s food without explaining why.
‘When I was going to check out the lunch lady didn’t say anything, took away my cheesy bread sticks and sauce, put them over there, and took out bread on cheese from the fridge and put it on my tray,’ he told WEWS.   

Jefferson and his two brothers began living with Bailey last month after they moved to Ohio. 
She enrolled the children in a free and reduced lunch program at their school. 
Bailey originally learned of the unpaid balance the Friday before the incident, August 30, and told WEWS she called the school ‘first thing’ to fix the problem.
WEWS reports that administration told her she could write a check to pay the balance until paperwork for the free and reduced lunch program was processed. 

 Jefferson (pictured) and his two siblings enjoyed cupcakes on his birthday

When Bailey learned of the incident, she was shocked. 
‘He was bullied. He was bullied by the school officials. He had his lunch removed from his tray at the age of 9,’ Bailey told Fox 8. 
She’s since called for school officials to change their protocol on situations like this. 
‘In my mind, he didn’t owe anything. I owed the money, the parents, the school district,’ Bailey said told WEWS. 
‘And my other question is, if they take the food off of your tray, they have to throw it away. You would take the food off a tray and you can’t reserve it? You’re going to throw it away and not feed the child? That doesn’t make sense to me.’ 

Green Primary School in Summit County, Ohio, has begun serving school lunches to children despite lunch account balance in the wake of the incident

According to a statement from Green Local Schools, they are currently investigating the situation.
Superintendent Jeff Miller told Fox 8 that students will receive school lunch, regardless of current account balance.  
Miller said: ‘We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches. 
‘Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available res to assist with purchasing school meals.’ 
Cafeteria staff has been addressed on how to handle similar situations going forward. 
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