Parents are angry with Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City after workers took lunches from up to 40 kids with unpaid balances and threw them away, several media outlets reported.
Salt Lake City District spokesman Jason Olsen told the Salt Lake Tribune that parents with balances were contacted via phone Monday and Tuesday. They weren't able to reach all parents before the child-nutrition manager decided to withhold lunches to deal with the debts.
"She took my lunch away and said, 'Go get a milk,'" Sophia Isom, a fifth-grader at the school, told NBC affiliate KSL.com. "I came back and asked, 'What's going on?' Then she handed me an orange. She said, 'You don't have any money in your account so you can't get lunch.'"
Isom's mom, Erica Likes, described the situation as "despicable" and "traumatic" for the children involved.
Olsen told the Tribune that cafeteria workers were unable to see which students owed money until after they received their lunches, which is why the workers then took them away. They were disposed of because once food is served to a student it can't be served to another, the Tribune reported.