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"They waited until there was a dime left, denied her the opportunity to eat the lunch that she had [been served and tried to pay for] and then she had to go to the end of the line to wait for a PB&J," Howard told WISH.
School officials told the station that other students do get the alternate lunches when they do not have the funds to pay for the hot meal, and that there are payment reminders sent once accounts drop to $5.
"Any time this happens, our staff looks to handle all of these as discreetly as possible. We do allow elementary students to charge two hot meals before receiving the alternate meal," Greenwood Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Kent DeKonnick told WISH.
DeKonnick said the Howard family has not contacted district officials and didn’t specifically speak about Anya’s case.
But a note attached to the balance slip Anya received said her school, Southwest Elementary, would not allow debts.
According to the letter, "Starting Monday, 5/13/2019 we are no longer allowing any Café accounts to go into the negative. If there is not enough money in your child's account to cover the entire meal, they will be receiving a peanut butter sandwich and milk," WISH reported.
Howard told WISH he wasn't informed of his granddaughter's account balance, or of the policy change prior to Friday's incident.