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Richfield school officials apologize for tossing lunches

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Two school officials talk to a reporter.
Richfield Public Schools Superintendent Steven Unowsky (right) and Richfield High School principal Latanya Daniels (left) talk to KARE 11 reporter Jana Shortal about the recent lunch incident where as many as 40 students with lunch debts of more than $15 had their hot lunches taken off their trays, thrown in the trash and replaced with a cold lunch.
Courtesy of KARE 11

School officials are apologizing after some students at Richfield High School saw their meals thrown away because of outstanding lunch debt.

As many as 40 students in the lunch line Monday had their hot lunches taken off their trays, thrown in the trash and replaced with a cold lunch when a lunchroom staff member at the register saw that they had outstanding lunch debts of more than $15.

Superintendent Steven Unowsky tells KARE-TV that the school’s nutrition staff “inaccurately and inappropriately implemented alternate lunch.”

Richfield High School Principal Latanya Daniels says the school “absolutely failed.”

The move earned the scorn of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who tweeted about it on Wednesday, calling it outrageous.

“This is shameful. No student should be denied food PERIOD,” Minnesota DFL U.S. House Rep. Ilhan Omar said on Twitter

Republican Rep. Tony Jurgens of Cottage Grove has sponsored legislation to ensure that students’ meals are not dumped. Jurgens says there is no reason to waste food and shame students because of account balance issues.

The Richfield school discrict on Wednesday also said that it’s received some $3,400 in donations this week to its Sunshine Account, which helps cover the cost of unpaid lunch bills.