Dozens walked out of Monday’s Franklin County School Board in protest of the district’s policy toward free lunch for students without money in their account.
Demonstrators say it’s literally taking food from the children who need it most. School board leaders say they’re reviewing the policy and urge struggling families to apply for free and reduced lunch, if they apply.
“But as long as a child is sitting in class hungry, none of that matters,” said Sherry Scott, an FCHS parent.
“As people say, children shouldn’t go without a meal. We can’t concentrate without a meal,” added Jasrielle Patterson, an FCHS student.
Patterson’s Facebook post last week protesting the policy inspired Catina Wright to make this GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $6,000 since, more than twice the original goal.
She says Franklin County’s recently-announced ‘Be Kind’ movement is hypocritical.
“Where is the ‘be kind’ in any of this tonight? Please tell me that,” she said.
Currently, elementary and middle school students not on free and reduced lunch – and without money in their accounts – are provided an ‘alternate meal,’ but high school students, following a number of unpaid meals, simply have their meals taken back.
Franklin County Superintendent Dr. Mark Church says the policy only applies to students not on free and reduced lunch, so if families qualify, they should register.
“We certainly don’t want [students] to go hungry, but we ask if there’s a family of need – which it sounds like it is – fill out the forms. Let us help you,” he said.
Church says the board needs to review the policy before voting, so the soonest possible action would be the November school board meeting.