School cafeteria worker quits job over ‘lunch shaming’

PITTSBURGH– A school cafeteria worker in Pittsburgh quit her job over what she calls a new “lunch shaming” policy.

Stacy Koltiska, who worked for two years at an elementary school in the Canon McMillan School District, told KDKA some students are being denied hot lunches to get parents to pay for overdrawn lunch accounts.

She says the policy, which was passed over the summer for grades K-6, replaces the hot meal with a cheese sandwich if $25 or more is owed; she says older kids get no lunch if the debt is $25.

Koltiska resigned after she was told to take away hot meals from two children. She shared her experience on Facebook: “The first week of school on Friday, I had to take a little first grade boys chicken and give him this “cheese sandwich”. I will never forget the look on his face and then his eyes welled up with tears.”

Superintendent Matthew Daniels told KDKA that this is about collecting money owed; he said parents are notified of lunch balances every week.  “There has never been the intent with the adoption of this policy to shame or embarrass a child,” Daniels said.