Westerly parent: New lunch policy humiliates children

(Photo Credit: Steve Nielsen/WPRI)

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — Parents in Westerly are outraged over a new school lunch policy in the district, saying it singles out and humiliates their children.

If a student’s balance is $10 or more in the negative, they receive an alternative lunch consisting of a cheese sandwich, fruit and milk. The new policy was approved by the school committee in December, and went into effect on Monday.

Holly Gingerella said her daughter was one of the students who had their hot lunches taken from them on Monday.

“She was in front of everybody, she was humiliated,” said Gingerella. “She asked if she could pay tomorrow, and they said no.”

Gingerella said she had no idea she was $100 in the red, since she wasn’t given any sort of notice.

“Had I been billed it would have been paid,” she added. “I had no idea there was an outstanding balance.”

The Rhode Island Department of Education said even though cheese sandwiches may not be popular, they do meet educational guidelines.

Eyewitness News reached out to Westerly Superintendent Roy M. Seitsinger, Jr., Ph.D. multiple times, but he’s yet to respond to questions raised by parents.

Gingerella said she’s trying to start a campaign to get enough money to pay off all the overdue balances in the district.

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