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Wyoming Valley School District Accused Of “Lunch Shaming”

According to CNN, a school district in Pennsylvania sent out hundreds of letters this week telling parents who had lunch debt to pay or their children could go into foster care.

The letter, which was reviewed by CNN, told parents that there have been “multiple letters sent home with your child” and that no payments had been made.

“Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without a breakfast and/or lunch..If you are taken to Dependency court, the result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care.”
The district says that it is trying to collect more than $22,000 from 1,000 students and that other methods to get parents to pay have not been successful. Four parents owe at least $450 apiece.

After complaints, district officials announced they plan to send out a less threatening letter next week. School district officials say they plan to pursue other legal avenues to get the lunch money, such as filing a district court complaint or placing liens on properties.

The letter also got negative reactions from local child services leaders.

Joanne Van Saun, who runs Luzerne County Children and Youth Services told CNN on Saturday she feels her agency was weaponized to threaten families.
“We exist to protect and preserve families. The only time a child is taken out is when they cannot be maintained safely in their home,” she said. “Our agency has helped many children and families with paying rent and buying clothes. We know children do better when they’re with their families.”


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