ASHLAND, Mo. — A school district in Missouri could start suing parents who don’t pay for their children’s school lunches.
KOMU reports said that in Southern Boone School District, nearly 70 families owe roughly $30,000. It’s an annual problem for the district, according to School Board President Barrett Glascock.
“Some parents just don’t pay,” he said. “So we’re going to try to go after that.”
The new policy says that parents with unpaid meal charges won’t be able to attend events like graduation ceremonies. The district will also take a family to court if their unpaid school lunch balance hits $500. If parents file a payment plan with the district, however, they will be able to avoid those consequences.
Every student can still get a lunch under the new policy, which doesn’t affect those who receive government assistance.
The school board president said some parents haven’t paid school lunches from the time their child was in kindergarten all the way through sernior year of high school.
“When it first caught our attention, we started to think about ways to maybe punish the kids if you would, to try to get them to start paying or parents to start paying, and then some community members spoke up and said, ‘We shouldn’t be punishing the kids, you should be punishing the parents that are not paying.’” Glascock said.
“Hopefully I won’t have to take anyone to court, but it’s a situation that can be avoided and should be avoided and we’re more than willing to work with parents and families cause I know life happens,” said Supt. Chris Felmlee. “I don’t want to be a burden, but at the same time it’s really not fair to the community, to those that do pay their taxes and their fair share.”