Food workers fired after students denied lunch
ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) -- A food service company spokesman said Friday it has fired four employees after about two dozen students at a Massachusetts middle school were denied lunches this week because their prepaid meal accounts ran low.
"There is a zero tolerance for any individual who leaves a child hungry," said Todd Shapiro, a spokesman for Whitsons Culinary Group.
The decision outraged parents, who said some students at Coelho Middle School in Attleboro cried Tuesday after being told they couldn't eat. Parents and school officials said some students were told to throw their lunches away when they reached the checkout.
Whitsons officials apologized Friday and said it was a violation of its policy that only occurred at Coelho, which has students in fifth through eighth grades.
Marketing vice president Holly Van Seggern said Friday the company would give free lunch to all Coelho students for three days next week and also host a barbeque for students and families at a later time.
"There is nothing we take more seriously than the health and welfare of the children and families we serve, providing them with the nutrition they need so that they have the sustenance to engage in their studies on a daily basis," she said.