Mom feels shortchanged by school lunch lady

School lunch

A Rio Grande Valley mom is upset over the way she claims her daughter was treated by a school employee for an unpaid cafeteria balance.

The mother of an 8th grade student at Sharyland North Junior High School is calling for action.

She said her daughter owed seven dollars on her school lunch account, so the lunch lady only gave her girl two slices of bread and a slice of cheese.

The superintendent says that's their policy.

"We believe that the manager handled the incident with the upmost respect for the student," said Dr. Virginia Richter.

She has been leading the district since June of 2012.

She tells Action 4 News any students with a negative balance on their account can charge two hot meals.

After that, they get a courtesy meal and then they have to pay up.

"If you read the guidelines from USDA, as a school district we have the choice not to serve them at all, but at Sharyland we choose to give them a cheese sandwich which does meet the guidelines," said Richter.

That's not good enough for the student TMs mom who said, "when a child owes on a lunch account they are treated no better than county inmates."

"Are we strict? Yes, we are. If we're going to be able to continue offering the meals that we offer to our students, then we have to operate in a positive budget and not a negative budget," said Richter.

While the mom has since paid what she owes, she said, "I am completely disgusted at this and I am ashamed that the school is treating kids like this."

In the end, her child did not go hungry.

The mother feels it's not fair to treat any child differently when it comes to serving them food.

Parents can keep track of their balances online.

The district said they also send out notices in the mail warning parents when they have a past due balance.