Local News

Lunchroom Decision Draws Ire Of Johnston County Parents

Posted May 28, 2004

— Parents are upset over a Johnston County school's decision to deny lunch for students who owed money.

On Thursday, Princeton School was trying to clear up outstanding debts for the end of the school year. The school stopped allowing students to charge their lunch and did not allow students who owed money to have their lunch.

After going through the lunch line to get hot food, ithe stuidents had their lunches taken away from them and thrown in the trash. The students were given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and milk instead.

The news of the incident did not sit well with parents.

"(I was) angry, very mad; it upset my little girl ," said parent Lisa Floors-Brown, whose daughter owed 25 cents. "She didn't want to tell me what she had done because she was scared she had done something wrong, and she didn't."

Officials with the Johnston County School System are investigating the incident.

"It is our firm belief that all students should be treated and will be treated fairly and respectfully, and so our apologies go out for this situation, and we will investigate further," said Crystal Roberts, spokeswoman for Johnston County schools.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said he received a number of phone calls from parents about the incident.

"I don't know what they thought they were going to accomplish by all this, but all they did was make a lot of parents upset," Floors-Brown said.

The principal of the school said it was his decision but admitted it should have been handled differently. He apologized and said all kids on Friday were eating hot lunches.

The principal also said he is working with parents to resolve the outstanding debts. He said notices went home, telling parents it was time to reconcile their bills, but many parents told WRAL they never saw a letter.

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