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Default School Official Shames Teen, Throws His Lunch In Trash. Mom Saves The Day
by Ronelle_King 05-13-2014, 04:57 PM

The Huffington Post | by Robbie Couch



What happened to Dominic Gant in the lunchroom of his Dowagiac, Mich., high school was unacceptable, if you ask his mother.

Gant's lunch was taken away by a school official and thrown in the trash -- in front of many of his classmates -- because the high school junior had an outstanding balance of $4.95 on his lunch account, according to Yahoo Shine. The policy at Dowagiac Union High School, similar to many schools, denies hot lunches to students with insufficient funds to pay for meals, according to ABC 57.

"It was really embarrassing, especially in front of the whole class," Gant told the outlet.

Amanda Keown, Dominic's mother, was not happy that her son was publicly shamed, and then went an entire school day without eating.

"The bottom line is that the food is taken from them," Keown told Yahoo Shine. "It doesn’t matter whose fault it is. The kids shouldn’t have to pay for that."

She put her money where her mouth is.

Keown paid off the outstanding lunch balance of every student at Dowagiac Union High School, which covered 19 students and totaled about $200, Fox News reports. Knowing there would likely be future instances similar to her son's if nothing changed, Keown also launched a Care2 petition page, pressuring Dowagiac Union Schools to have food set aside for emergency cases. More than 3,500 people had signed the petition as of Monday afternoon.

"I want guidelines set in place for all of the Dowagiac Schools. No child should be denied food EVER," Keown writes on the petition page. "Under no circumstances."

Mark Daniel, superintendent of Dowagiac Union Schools, told Yahoo Shine it's a "very rare situation" for a student not to receive their lunch, and there are policies set in a place to avoid such scenarios, especially with younger students. But he's grateful for Keown for shedding light on the issue so that those policies can be enacted consistently throughout the district.

Unfortunately, Dowagiac Union Schools isn't the first district to come under fire for denying meals to its students.

About 25 students in Massachusetts were denied hot lunches last spring because they did not have enough money for a meal. After being told by a school worker they would not be able to eat lunch, parents claimed some of their children were reduced to tears. Soon after, four employees held accountable at the middle school were fired.

But not every lunch controversy has ended badly.

Cayden Taipalus, an 8-year-old from Michigan, spotted a student in front of him in the lunch line with a cheese sandwich. The student had been denied the well-rounded meal Cayden's other classmates were enjoying, and Cayden didn't think that was right. So he began a fundraising page to make sure every one of his peers could depend on a hot lunch at school. Today, Cayden's campaign has raised nearly $32,000 -- enough to feed tens of thousands of meals to students.

To people like Cayden and Keown, the issue goes well beyond family ties. It's about community.

"I realize I didn't have to do that," Keown told ABC 57 of the check she gave to her son's school. "But I don't want another kid going through what my son went through."

To join Keown's fight to make sure every Dowagiac student has a lunch, sign the Care2 petition here.

Taken from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...usaolp00000592
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Old 05-14-2014
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Much respect to those two.

Taking the food away, and throwing it in the garbage? That, in itself, is fucking insane.
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Old 09-01-2014
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That's a very brave mother. If I were her, I'd do the same. But considering that the boy is already in high school, I just wonder if he gets teased for still needing a mother to fight for him. It's a usual scenario I always see in movies. Boys in high school do not want being treated being like a baby. I don't know about Dominic, but I'm just saying.
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Old 09-05-2014
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I am for this mom who did not take the schools crap for what they done to her son. I would have been enraged too if it were my kids.
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Old 09-08-2014
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I am utterly annoyed that something like this could have even happened anywhere , much less in an educational institution!
This boy does not owe taxes! . Yes, it's important to instill in our kids, the need for them to be responsible , especially when it comes to them accruing and settling their debts.
But, it is beyond me that a school official could feel so empowered as to deprive a student of his lunch! . Even if consequences/penalties are to be attached to not complying with one's financial obligations, and that that is the principle that we are trying to get into our children, it still does NOT condone taking away something that helps them to LIVE!

I am encouraged that the mother took such wide-scale and STRONG action, but I am sorry that she had to be put in this position in the first place. It should not have happened, and if it is that the school does empower the official who took away the lunch to do something as severe as that, then that school needs to be reported and evaluated, because that's just not acceptable!

Even IF the official had chosen to give the kid detention or something (and even that would have been a little harsh), then it would have seemed a bit more acceptable. I just think that a little more mercy could have been exercised with regard to that child, and any other children who had been so treated in the past.
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