From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
PINSON — The Jefferson County School District issued a statement in response to a sign that was posted in the cafeteria at Pinson Valley High School.
According to Principal Michael Turner, the Child and Nutrition Program Manager posted a sign that said, “NO MONEY FOR LUNCH?? NO LUNCH.”
The school system responded hours after a photo of the sign was posted on Facebook, on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
“The signage posted at Pinson Valley High School does not reflect the procedures of the Jefferson County School District,” the statement read. “It is never our intent for any student to miss a meal (breakfast or lunch). Our Child Nutrition Program is required to follow all state laws which prohibit charges or negative balances. Communicating our students’ meal balances with guardians is a crucial part of making sure our kids are healthy and ready to learn. We send automated meal balance messages to parents/guardians every Monday at 4:45 p.m. in the form of emails, texts, and phone calls. If a call is not answered by the guardian and their voicemail is enabled, we leave a message.”
Turner also responded earlier Tuesday to comments on Facebook about the sign.
“The sign is not an accurate depiction of what our policy is for students who intend on charging for lunch because they don’t have the money or the funds,” said Turner.
Turner said the CNP manager meant to convey to the kids that if they did not have lunch money, they would receive an alternative lunch. Alternative lunches consist of a cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with fruit and milk. Even with the option for an alternative lunch, Turner said he would rather pay out-of-pocket for students to eat than have a child go hungry.
“I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve reached into my own billfold and paid for a student’s lunch,” said Turner. “There has not been a single student who wanted a lunch or a breakfast, for that matter, to go hungry.”
Turner said he personally removed the sign as soon as he found out it was posted in the lunchroom.
“I hate that the sign was even posted but that’s not an accurate depiction,” he said. “I do want parents to know there are civic organizations and the city council and the mayor’s office has set aside money for these types of situations.”
The school sent a message to parents to clear up any misconceptions concerning lunches at Pinson Valley High School.
At the beginning of each school year, the Jefferson County School District provides free and reduced applications to all parents/guardians. Applications are available at your local school and can also be submitted online. To find out more you may visit www.jefcoed.com/childnutrition