An incident in a school lunch line is bringing a lot of
attention to an Upper Valley community. Last week, a middle school student in
Rigby was brought to tears after an administrator with the school lunch program
took her food and tossed it in the trash.
Julia Stephenson says she was patiently waiting for her turn
to pay for lunch when things took a turn for a student in front of her.
“She was typing in her number so that she could purchase her
lunch,” said Julia Stephenson. “And so she entered it and the she started
walking away. Then the lunch lady said her name and then she turned around and
then she took the lunch away from her and threw it in the trash and said you
can’t have lunch today.”
Mortified, the girl then exited the lunchroom. That’s when Julia
sat her lunch down with some friends and went looking for her.
“I went to the library and I found her in a corner and she
was about ready to cry,” said Julia.
At this point Julia was faced with a challenge. The school
lunch policy says you cannot share food but Julia didn’t want this girl to go
hungry. After some coaxing, the two of them returned to the lunchroom keeping a
watchful eye so they wouldn’t get caught.
Later that day she told her mom what had happened.
“I instantly started to cry,” said Janet Stephenson. “I was
crying because I was proud of her and because I was broken hearted for the girl
and because I was mad.”
This anger turned into a social media post and then it went
“The next day I woke up and she was like ‘150 shares’ and
then it just blew up,” said Julia.
At last check, her post had been shared 153 times just from
her page. But more importantly, others were starting to get involved to try and
prevent this from happening again.
“The Rigby Lions Club reached out and said we would like to
collaborate with you to create an emergency lunch fund but with the caveat that
we talk to the administration, the school board, to find out what are the
policies and procedures when a school lunch account is delinquent,” said Janet.
We attempted to contact the school board but their offices
were closed for the holiday. However, Janet says they have already instituted
“Thursday, Rigby Middle School changed their procedure for
lunch,” said Janet. “Where they would go through the entire line, get their
food, and then go pay, for it; they’ve change the whole process so that the
paying happens up front. So she wouldn’t have already had her tray and then
have the lunch thrown in the garbage. That won’t happen anymore.”
Janet says the next scheduled school board meeting is March
12th. That’s when she hopes that the Lions Club and the district can
come together to create an emergency lunch fund account.