MESA COUNTY, Colo. School districts across the country have been in the spotlight for taking away lunches from students when their accounts come up empty.
However, District 51's Food Service director, Dan Sharp, said staff will not take a tray from a student's hands under any circumstances at risk of embarrassing the child.
"If the student is in the line with a tray of food already in their hand, when they're at the point of sale equipment, they're told no matter, the balance could be 50 dollars negative, they're told not to take that tray out of the student's hand," Sharp said.
Until an account is at -$10, children will receive lunch as normal along with a note for parents reminding them to refill the balance.
When it continues dropping below that mark, students will be notified before lunchtime that they will be receiving an alternative lunch.
"We don't want the students to be embarrassed because of a mom or dad being busy in their life and they just haven't refunded that account," Sharp said. "We don't want them to be embarrassed in front of other kids in line."
District 51 has an auto-call system, which notifies parents every Sunday if their children have balances at $.00 or less.
Parents can also sign up for free email alerts through the My Payment Plus portal.