Lunch taken from boy, 9, on birthday for negative balance

A 9-year-old boy's hot school lunch was taken away and replaced with a cold one on his birthday Friday because he had a negative balance on his account.

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The food was taken off Jefferson Sharpnack's tray and replaced because he owed $9 on his account, WEWS reported.

"I can't believe that it's cost effective to throw away food and give them cheese and bread, that's more money," Jefferson's grandmother Diane Bailey told WKYC. "I just asked if they could possibly change their policy or find a different way other than embarrassing the kids."

In response to the incident, the school district changed its policy. Students enrolled in pre-K through 12 grade will receive a standard lunch regardless of their account balance, Green Schools Superintendent Jeff Miller said.

"We are sensitive to the financial hardship families incur and challenges presented due to the cost of school breakfast and lunches," Miller said in a statement Monday. "Our staff, in coordination with Family Support Specialists, will continue to work with families to ensure they have access to all available resources to assist with purchasing school meals."

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