RPS 205 Lunch Controversy Leaves 9-year-old Hungry

- ROCKFORD - A third grader at Rolling Green Elementary School had his lunch taken away and then thrown in the garbage. Eyewitness News had an exclusive interview with the 9 year-old and his father who say they are disappointed in the Rockford Public School district and want answers before this happens to another student. Nine year old Ben Yoder told Eyewitness News that he had his hot lunch taken from him last month because of his overdue balance, but his father says the school never told him that he had missed a payment.

Ben Yoder is in the third grade at Rolling Green Elementary School, and counts on hot lunches every day.  “Hot Dogs, Chicken, and Cheesburgers” But Ben Yoder the 9 year-old was not given any of those options one day last month. His hot lunch was taken away, and then thrown in the garbage. The lady that takes your lunch money, she took my lunch away, and she gave me a bag of crackers.

All because he had no money in his lunch account, “I didn’t even know they did that to me that is outside the realm of possibility that a lunch would be taken away from a child.” Said Staven Yoder, Ben’s father.

The Yoder’s send their son to school with checks to pay for his lunch, but Ben had just forgotten to turn the money in. “Like many other nine year-olds that they can only be accountable for so much.” Said Staven.

The Yoder’s say they were not notified about it, which is against the Rockford Public School lunch policy sent by email to Eyewitness News. It states that "it is district practice to still provide students with five days worth of traditional lunch meals." as a grace period. Plus, Ben is autistic and takes medication that requires him to have his food intake monitored, the assistant principal told the Yoder’s she forgot that day.

Ben was given a package of Ritz Crackers, which is around at most 200 calories. The average nine year-old consumes around 500 calories for lunch. “Like how can you get through the rest of the day on Ritz crackers and milk? I think all of our stomachs would growl after an hour.” Said Staven Yoder

Denial of school lunches has become a nationwide issue, prompting one mother in Michigan who's son was denied lunch at school to pay off every kids lunch fund in protest. The Yoder’s want the local policy changed. “It is not a practice that should be accepted, in any school to any child.” Said Staven.

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