Can a School Deny a Child Lunch?

Recently, I heard from someone who attended their local public elementary school who believes that their principal told them that they could not eat lunch if they did not attend class on a specific day. Their principal stated in an email to them, that this was a “non-school sponsored” lunch program. I asked her if she understood what she meant by that. She replied, “I don’t think so, but it certainly made me feel bad because it indicates to me that they are choosing me (a low achiever) over their students. That makes me very angry.” This principal could not give me the specific detail of what subject matter or subjects her school chose not to teach their children, but considering the subject matter and the low number of students in her system to begin with, it is not likely they did not choose the wrong lunch program for her child.

Another time I was contacted by a parent who was upset with their school for denying their child access to a lunch program due to a prior illness. The subject matter at their school falls under a severe abuse category. They have the right to deny you access to lunch, based on your disability. (As I understand it, they are not allowed to deny you access to lunch for medical reasons, but that is different.)

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a mother who lives in rural North Carolina. She told me her daughter was denied entry to the school cafeteria for the third time this year. She could not understand why her children were being denied access to a free lunch program that is funded by the state, and that the school had not made any changes to the rules since last year. This mother has two children, both in kindergarten. She has had a positive experience with her school, but she does not understand why she is being punished for the behavior of her children.

What could happen here? The children could be denied entrance to the school because they do not meet the requirements required under the school lunch program. The school could also decide to charge additional costs to the child, like purchasing lunches at a local restaurant. The school could refuse to provide a menu if the child does not follow the proper procedure for ordering.

The parents have the right to challenge the denial of their child’s entitlement to free meals. If they are not served properly, or if their request is unreasonable, they have the right to file a complaint with the school. It is advisable to contact an attorney who specializes in these types of cases. I would not hire the first attorney that I come across. I found an attorney who has handled many of these cases, and he will be able to give me legal advice. He will also know the procedures that the school must follow in order to serve their students properly.

If the school cannot serve you properly, the court can issue an order stating that the meal is provided to you for lunch, or the school can reimburse you for the cost of your meal. In order for this to happen, there must be an incident that prompted the denial of the proper food. Usually, this is due to the overweight problem of one or more students. They can lose privileges at school if they continue to be overweight. The school may have other reasons for denying your child their deserved food, but if you can prove that there was an actual incident that occurred that justified the denial, you could have your case resolved in a court of law.

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