KENT, Wash. (CBS Seattle) — A father says a middle school cafeteria worker threw away his son’s lunch because he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.

Jimmie Keys tells KOMO-TV that his son, who goes to Mill Creek Middle School, was 26 cents short on his meal plan card to buy lunch last week. Keys claims that the cafeteria worker then threw his son’s lunch in the garbage on back-to-back days.

“He gets up to the front and they say there’s not enough in his account, so they take his food, and in front of him, throw it away,” he explained to KOMO.

The school’s lunch that they serve costs 40 cents. Keys says he was never notified prior that his son’s meal account card was short of the money.

“My first instinct was to get a huge jar of pennies, and get it ready,” Keys told KOMO. “I was going to take it down to the school and throw it on them.”

The school district apologized for what happened.

“I just have to say sorry to this student, sorry to the parents,” spokesperson Chris Loftis told KOMO. “We made a mistake, we need to fix it, we’re sorry.”

The school confirmed that the cafeteria worker trashed the student’s lunch. They also said the student should have been given a free substitute food item, which did not happen.

“We forgot the humanity of it,” Loftis told KOMO. “We’ve learned from this and the kindness of all of our workers is not going to be overwhelmed by the policies and procedures that we’re required to follow.”

The school district says it will now change its notification policy when a student’s meal plan account runs low.

“To have it hit so close to home was very disappointing in the least,” Keys told KOMO. “Somebody had to stand up for my kid and for everybody’s kid.”


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