A Roseville Middle School student leaned a tough lesson about lunchroom procedure, but was it too tough? He said he went hungry because there wasn't enough money in his lunch account.
13-year-old Nicholas Eckert was hungry studying hard in eighth grade class all morning, so when the lunch bell rang, he hit the cafeteria for a nice hot lunch that dad pays for, or at least dad thought he had paid for.
"They said that I couldn't get it because I didn't have money on my account and I owed money."
It turns out Eckert had only $0.15 in his hot lunch account. The lunch price is $2.75. Eckert was $2.60 short and his stomach was rumbling, so he sent a text to dad, who was at work.
"He just said they denied him lunch. He said, 'I need money,' but that was too late in the day for me to get him any money," said Fred Eckert. "I was never notified by the school. He just said that they said he couldn't have it."
Eckert told us he went hungry. Dad said he got an explanation from the principal.
"I talked with Principal Rice. Very good guy. He said it was school policy. He said if Nicholas would've went to him, he would've paid for it out of his pocket and then a parent would reimburse him or whatnot. He just said it's school policy. There's nothing he can do about it, but he did give me information, who to contact in the school."
We left a message late in the day for the Roseville district superintendent. We did not get a return call.
Fred Eckert said policy is important, but a hungry child should be more important.
"I personally think any student that is in line for lunch and is part of the Roseville school district, if they're not on a free lunch program and they're paying for their lunches should be allowed at least a grace period of one lunch or whatnot, and the parents should be notified ahead of time if an account goes into either a low status or whatnot. Parents are busy nowadays and some things can slip our minds. We're only human."