1st grader says school cafeteria worker told him, ‘Guess what, you can’t have a lunch’

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SNOHOMISH. Wash. (PIX11/KCPQ)-- The only thing 7-year-old Xavier loves more than his math homework are his fruits and vegetables. But Xavier's parents say they're concerned because on Oct. 20, the first-grader was denied school lunch at Cascade View Elementary.

“It was a sack lunch. It was in a bag, she was passing it around to everybody.  The lunch lady said, ‘Guess what, you can’t have a lunch.’ She said that.  She said I can't have a lunch,” Xavier said.

Xavier is on the free lunch program.  But instead of getting a meal, Xavier was sent home with a grumbling tummy and a slip saying he had a negative lunch balance, Xavier's dad, Eric, told KCPQ.

“My question was never answered as to why he was denied.  I was very mad.  I couldn't believe it happened.  It happened to me as a child and I could still feel that hurt and I can only imagine what he went through,” Eric said.

The Snohomish County School District said they are investigating. The school spokesperson says whenever a student’s account is negative $20 or more, the child gets a cheese sandwich and unlimited fruits and veggies from the salad bar, along with a drink.

Eric said this does not apply to his son.

“We get funds from the state, food stamp wise, which means his balance should be covered,” Eric said.

Eric said he's angry over how the school handled the situation and he's concerned over how it's affected Xavier. He is now considering removing his children from the school.


    • Rebecca Teagan Gherity

      It was probably because he was white. If you’re white and poor, you don’t deserve to live. That’s what white privilege really is. If you’re rich, you get away with everything. If not, hurry up and die as you’re a useless feeder.

      • Brian

        Well, that explains why I never got the concept, and why my life (in Fl, not where we are living now) totally stank. The way I was treated (white, male, and technically ‘poor’- $38k a year coming to us, and we were ‘poor’!) was past deplorable- it was downright illegal in most cases.

        Up to and including not putting my name on my daughter’s medical records as parent. I was denied medical treatment, and treated as homeless (I lived with my wife in a 2 bedroom apartment. we still do- just in a different state).

        I saw what you said here put into practice down there with frightening efficiency.

      • Bubbamike

        Probably because you are a racist. I’m sorry that your parents didn’t teach you that we are all alike and that, unlike you, God has no favorites. You make me sad.

      • Nikki

        Unfortunately Brian this is a fact, I live in Florida and is made to jump through hoops just to get any assistance when it was desperately needed I do believe it was because I was white. I went to a free clinic to get some medical care and was treated poorly, ignored and looked over while they took care of the blacks and Hispanics as if I was invisible. This isn’t a racial slam on my part but a hard fact. Blacks and Hispanics cry racial discrimination all the time but white America goes through it too but when we speak of it causes an uproar. Stop with the double standards and realizes it not just minority groups that get treated poorly in certain situations.

    • Jennifer Fugate

      “The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program provides food stamps for almost 47 million Americans. Of those 47 million people, 43 percent of them are white and 33 percent are black. Approximately 19 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are Asian and the remainder are Native America. ”

      Now you can’t say you didn’t know the facts next time you decide to show off your ignorance.

      • Anonymous

        Could you link me to your metrics please Jennifer, because the Pew Research has strikingly different numbers. Not trying to give you a hard time but genuinely interested in correlating an accurate representation of the numbers here! :)

        By Race:
        White: 15%
        Black: 31%
        Hispanic: 22%
        Other Non-Hispanic: 18%
        By Political Party:
        Republican: 10%
        Democratic: 22%
        Independent: 17%
        Conservative: 17%
        Moderate: 17%
        Liberal: 17%
        Total Percentage of (legal) U.S. Adults who have ever received food stamps: 18%
        Source: Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends Project

      • Heather

        Jennifer’s statistic shows the break down by race of people getting food stamps. So if you take all the people on food stamps then 43% of them are white. Anonymous yours looks at race and what percentage of them are on food stamps. the two statistics are comparing different things, that’s why they differ so greatly

  • Jessica

    Unfreaking believe able!!!!! How dare they not feed him ANYTHING?! How would the lady feel if that were her child or grand child?! I DONT CARE WHAT THE RULES R!!!!!! U DONT DENY A CHILD FOOD!!!!! The parents should remove him from the school n SUE them!!!! When we had horrible weather last yr. Schools stood open n 1 of the reasons given was that there were children that needed to eat n school was possibly the ONLY way they ate but here it is a child is being DENIED food……. SHE SHOULD BE FIRED!!!!!!!!! IM SO ANGRY OVER THIS!!!!! I WOULD SERIOUSLY HAVE LOST IT ON THE SCHOOL N WORKER!!!!! GOD DONT LIKE UGLY!!!!!!!

    • Concerned Reader

      Hi there Jessica. I just thought I would bring up a couple of points that you might to consider alongside your strong position.

      First, you’re right. The later half of the bible clearly points to a loving God, one who wants to see no harm to his followers, his children. It preaches of love and tolerance, compassion and values… of all the things that you feel this employee was unable to show.

      You also stand firmly with the point that some times the rules that are given, well they may be a little out of touch. Sometimes, pushing the boundaries is the right thing to do even when it’s the wrong option. This lady should have clearly been more understanding of the child’s needs and taken efforts to ensure that he was fed properly.

      But what needs to be said, and this is key, that you’re choice of words here, that your stance on the whole issue ignores all the values and choices you say this employee should have made. You would have acted in anger, possibly violence on this situation, turning your eyes blind to the same bible that says to forgive and work towards peaceful resolution.

      I’m not even going to pull into highlight your control over the English language, though I would like to mention it seems to be as well controlled as your temper in this situation.

      • Kate

        Concerned reader,

        As an English teacher in an urban setting with a masters degree, I get the impression you are insulting Jessica. She has a strong opinion, and just wanted to speak it in a very strong, passionate, beautiful voice. Although it’s not how I would word it, I agree with her. It’s terrible this kid was denied a lunch, and I wouldn’t be too polite if someone did that to my future children.

        Belittling her via this media is honestly cyber bullying, and that’s just not what this story is about. I hope this school gets everything straightened out.

    • Soul

      Another fake Christian. Lmao. Get over yourself. This is the dumbest situation ever to lose your sh*t over. So over-dramatic.

  • jillian

    This same thing happened to my son when he was around the same age and he also gets free lunch and he ended up eating nothing also that day, I got on the phone with the schools lunch aid manager and the worker was reprimanded.

  • Dude1

    When I was about his age it happened quite often to me. Not until I got to 5th grade did it stop, because the lunch lady knew my mother, and she called me a few other names too. However, her and mom were friends and kept his up for about 4 years. I hated school. I was not on public assistance.

  • Suzi Hoffman Castiglione

    I don;t understand this…..he was on the Free Lunch program…how did he have a negative balance?
    First…NO child should be denied a lunch…but if there is a balance owed, then the parent should accept some of the responsibility here….HOWEVER…..if he is on free lunch, how could he owe money?? Something isn’t right here. Legal action is not the answer, what will it solve? This country is sue happy.

    • Judy Willis

      The answer to the Negative balance for a child that gets free lunch is that the child got extra food besides the lunch/breakfast they were given. For example they got an ice cream, extra milk, juice, or lunch/breakfast item. I know this personally. BUT!!!! A child should never be denied lunch or breakfast, only limit the extra items they get.

    • Bryan VanHoose

      It happens because a lot of schools sell things a-la-carte, they dont explain to the child that you must get what they call a complete meal or you get charged each item. Its a scam to make more money and should be punishable by law.

  • Brian McBehrer

    “he’s angry about how it was handled”
    And rightfully so! They said it in the video itself, even if they’re negative they’re supposed to get a sandvich and fruits and vegetables. He’s in first grade, you can’t just make him skip lunch! give him some damn food, and worry about the money later!
    We care about your kids… unless you owe us money, in which case those little buggers are on their own.

  • Chris

    No kid is suppose to be denied anything at all. So basically it is a case that the lunch lady needs to be reprimanded. This is why I teach my son to ask to speak with me anytime he feels he needs to. He would have called and would not have gone hungry. Just saying…

    • Soul

      “No kid is suppose to be denied anything at all”?? You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s exactly how you end up with spoiled little sh*ts!! And it wasn’t the lunch lady’s fault, it was an account error.

      • Krista

        Obviously you didn’t read the entire article, Soul. If she had been doing her job she would’ve given him a cheese sandwich and access to the salad bar.

  • Lynda Lien

    Xavier deserves an apology from that lunch room worker in front of his parents and the principal. What a cruel thing to do to a child and what a humiliating thing to say to him. Inexcusable for that worker to do this. Unfortunate that Xavier wasn’t able to tell his teacher he was hungry and why. Hopefully the lunchroom worker was reprimanded.

    • Soul

      Reprimanded for something that was an account error and NOT her fault? Are you serious? She was just doing her job. The baby can easily go a little while longer without eating. Oh my god. Such spoiled people on here.

  • Benjamin Witz

    But now here’s my question for you all: how many of you brainlessly pull that republican lever whenever you step into a voting booth? This is exactly the republican plan for all of us, whether it’s food, heat, or medical care: pay or die.

  • theartistone

    Make your kid a lunch yourself not a big cost and less then a Starbucks coffee of $5.00. your cost to make, bread .05, meat .75 tomato, lettuces, mustard, mao .15. Chips (bulk) .65, Fruit .75 Milk or juice .65 Total $3.00, and more then likely get that down to $2.45 if you buy in bulk.

    • SickenedBySociety

      I’m so glad that you have all the grocery prices for every region in the country. I’m also impressed that you know what this family can and cannot afford. The fact that they are signed up for and should be receiving free lunches would imply that there should not have been a negative balance on the account in the first place and therefore the parents might not have been unaware of the need to “simply” make and pack a lunch for their child. Why are we so quick to pass judgement on other people’s financial situations instead of seeing the bigger picture in which the child was mistreated by the school employee? I hope that you and your loved ones are never in this situation and if they are, someone doesn’t draw conclusions and make assumptions leading to the mistreatment of that child.

    • connie

      in order to pack a lunch for you child in our state you have to get the lunch approved by the school first, so it can’t be just anything it has to be certain items that is allowed. so i gave up on sending my child lunches

    • Beth DeRoos

      Just negative mean comments from some people. The area this family lives in is a poor working class area, so its not as if the parents don’t work. They work and pay taxes probably, which means like many, many children they qualify for reduced or free lunch at school. Think about the child for a moment. And ask yourself IF it were your child wouldn’t you want someone to make an effort to give the child something? Not to mention he loves fruits and vegetables which I damn refreshing!!

      • OverIt

        Oh spare me, if they’re on public assistance and free lunch programs, then they’re not paying taxes. But, I bet they keep having kids to get fatter welfare checks!

  • Kaitlyn

    I don’t understand how someone can turn a child down for food whether the balance is in the negative or not. They even said that with a negative balance you still get food. I would have expected the teacher to realize that he had no food and to have done something about it. I make sure all of my students have something to eat at lunch because I know how hard it is to focus on an empty stomach. More should have been expected of an institution and the adults around that should have witnessed this. No child should be hungry.

    • ts

      Right. And everyone should have their own unicorn. Life is hard for most people on this planet, that’s the way it is. There are so many “shoulds”, and reality is reality.

  • Carlos Garcia

    This is soo..bad.denying any child food.i remember when i was a kid school lunch was free to all that wanted it.Regardless of protocol how could that lunch lady live with herself.We give away aid to countries who dont even like us and our children are hungry?Somethings definetly wrong here.smh

    • plastik892

      Empty judgement. Unemployment, physically disabled, many potentials and none of them in the case of a child being denied a meal.

    • Krystal

      So you must know why this family is on food stamps? If you do not know a person’s circumstances do not make ASSumptions. People are so ignorant it’s not even funny. No one knows what people go through in life. Everyone ends up with a financial crisis, I have a 6 year old in 1st grade and as a parent I too would have been mad. The way the lunch lady went about it telling him “Guess what you don’t get lunch.” was harsh. She could have done things differently. People need to stop ASSuming that everyone on assistance is just robbing the government, not everyone is. So stop ASSuming when you have no clue.

  • Jillian Edwards

    I think the school and the dad are both at fault. Just because you are on assistance doesn’t mean you should just think that everything is fine. It is your responsibility to check and make sure that everything is good. Once a week, once a month. Something. Just check. That money doesn’t come from thin air, it comes from people’s tax dollars. At least have the decency to be responsible with it. And the worker should have absolutely given the child food-without question. Something to get him through the day. A negative $20 balance had to been at least a few days worth of lunches if not more. Nobody could have made any phone calls prior to let them know? Banks for example, responsible people check their bank account regularly, and banks still do the courtesy of providing balance alerts even if the person isn’t checking. They couldn’t set something up like that? It seems like this happens often than it should, I hope schools and parents figure out a better solution.

  • Suze

    Where was his teacher? I teach kindergarten and if one of my students was sitting there at the table without a lunch I would be asking where his lunch was and upon hearing this, I would have had that woman in a headlock. I also go down the table and make sure the bagged lunches from home are sufficient (we eat lunch very early in the day) and if not, I send them through the line. We’ve had kids bring a lunch box with a bag of fruit snacks or a handful of goldfish in it. That isn’t going to sustain a child for the remainder of the day. Of course, my school feeds every child the same lunch, whether they are paid lunch, free lunch, reduced lunch or behind on their lunch bill. We don’t give them the stigma of having a different lunch because of circumstances they have no control over. They are children and cannot force their parents to pay. We are more concerned with the child eating than embarrassing them. NO child should EVER go hungry in this country, least of all at school, which is supposed to be a safe place.

  • Thomas Fitzgerald

    While I feel bad for the kid for going hungry. HOW ABOUT YOU USE SOME OF THAT FOOD STAMP MONEY TO FEED YOUR CHILDREN! We didn’t have school lunches… We had to bring them to school. I guess our parents cared too much.



  • Tellingitlikeitis

    Let’s see….I have a child that I can’t afford to feed and yet I keep having more children. What would happen if all the funds just dried up? Then what will people do? The government can’t take care of everyone! Or maybe it can, because as long as someone has a job, then it seems fair to take a portion of their paycheck to help pay for the poor. If you’re on any kind of government assistance then you should have to pay that back in some way. Like, if you don’t have a job, and you’re receiving food stamps, or some other kind of help, then you should have to give a certain number of hours towards volunteer hours in your town. Something that is tracked and followed. I don’t give a flying fig leaf if anyone agrees with me or not! Help yourselves people! All you’re doing is raising children to live off the government in some way, shape or form! If you can’t afford it, then stop having other mouths to feed!!

    • ts

      I hear you, and to me that is the most heartless thing of all. To keep having children you can’t take care of. And that’s what people do. They accuse people of the very things they are guilty of themselves. Heartlessness.

  • Henry Todd

    *ahem* So, I’m just throwing some valid opinions and points out into the void that is cyberspace…. But….
    How in the fuck is THIS (of all things) considered to be breaking or even important news?
    With everything going on in the present time: a nuclear war on the verge of occurrence, the intimidating presence of ISIS, and the numerous police officers using African-Americans as combat training and target practice among many other countless dangerous situations affecting the general population of this nation, this story can’t possibly be of the same caliber? Could it? Spoiler alert: the answer is a strong, fuck no, it isn’t.
    But please, let’s just up and say, “fuck all that is of importance and value!” and direct our already short attention spans on some little snot-nosed shit named Xavier in regards to “a missed meal” and “grumbling belly”. I’m sure that’ll show “oodles of importance” when we get fucking nuked by the Ruskies or the countless other hostile nations in this world, suffer from radiation sickness, and all fucking die. Wait a brief moment, I just happened to come to the realization that it won’t fucking matter. Other than Xavier’s family, who actually gives a flying fuck about him. I can certainly assure myself, and especially myself, that I 100% couldn’t give less of a fuck about this story of this whiny-ass munchkin. Look you spoiled little twat, You missed ONE MEAL. That’s not even comparable to the fucking end of the fucking free world, you drama-engulfed bitch. When I went to school, I missed lunch on countless occasions. However, not once, did I make a Federal fucking case about it, or even bring it to anyone’s attention. Because, I learned early that the only person to give a fuck about you, is yourself. Plus, if you miss a meal, do what everyone else in the damn world does, eat when you get back home.
    Also, your equally-whiny family is on fucking food stamps kid. Just ask your mommy or daddy to make you a sandwich to bring to school with you in a brown paper bag. Honestly, with all of the “free” assistance the family has, why is one missed meal a big fucking deal? Do people even fucking realize that in third world countries, they’ve missed days upon days of fucking meals. But of course, we as Americans, don’t read any of THOSE stories, or see THAT as a true tragedy, now do we? Of course not. Because we’re America, and everyone else around us is equivalent to shit. Seriously Xavier, my suggestion would be to invest in a handkerchief and wipe away your tears, you whiny little bitch.
    You just learned a tough lesson in life, that everyday life is an disgusting and unjust wasteland of empty promises and broken dreams, welcome to the fucking club.

    • Bonnie

      Right. Because we can only care about one thing at a time ever. Only one thing is ever allowed to be newsworthy.

    • Robert

      Yes there are important issues, but medias tell stories like this to let others know that it too can happen to their children. I hope and pray you do not have any children because I would seriously feel bad for them because of the way you speak about innocent children who have no fault of happens. You are lucky I am not the parent of this child because if it was my child and you made these remarks I would love to see how big and bad you are in person. You are ignorant and probably your parents didn’t care about you so that is where your hatred speaking comes from. Don’t worry Jesus loves you.

  • Krys

    When my son was in middle school, the free lunch kids were fed first. If there were any hot lunches left …or time left during lunch period…the children who paid for lunch were able to eat. My son went a week without eating lunch because the cafeteria ran out of food before the paying kids were fed. My son never told me until the next week… For the rest of the school year, we made sure to pack lunches. No one seemed to care whether or not my son or the other paying kids ate lunch either.

    • Krista

      What exactly is your point? Your kid’s school messed up, some a child, in an entirely different school, should be punished for it?

  • Nancy

    Hey “Government”. If you are going to bring people here you need to figure out how you are going to “feed them”. Now that you have cut off or deplete funds to helping U.S. Citizens who are without jobs, with low paying jobs now that you sent our good jobs overseas….now you starving the immigrants you bringing in? And children at that? IDIOTS. Pull your funds back home and take care of us…and figure out your immigration issues. Feed them for God’s sake.

  • OverIt

    Don’t want your kids to be hungry? How about you pack them a lunch then! Sorry excuses we have your parents nowadays. Holy heck, when did it become everyone else’s responsibility to feed your kids? If you can’t afford your kids then don’t have them! It’s not rocket science. Welfare and food stamps should be used in times of need, it’s not a lifestyle or a career path.

  • claudette stevens

    He is now considering removing his children from the school. children??!! they’re on welfare & have multiple kids, stop having kids if you cant support them!

  • smkisgen

    These comments upset me. Ignorance is flooding my brain. Receiving food stamps does not mean dude sits on their arse all day, doesn’t work hard, or pay taxes. Packing a school lunch may be impossible for him and why would he when he is on the free lunch program? A child has no control over paying for his own lunch. He’s 7 he doesn’t have a voice. The parents also aren’t at fault. For all of you righteous commenters I can personally say you guys have a false sense of reality. Or how this world really works. Until you fall on hard times your words of belittlment to those of us who work hard for our money, receive food stamps, constantly falling behind in bills or paying for repairs, and still can’t get ahead, just shows how silver spooned arrogant and sheltered you really. Plain and simple.. A kid went hungry. The lunch lady showed no remorse towards a hungry child. We are suppose to take care of our own. Humanity, regardless of race color or religion, we all have the same parts, is gone.

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