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A school in England announced that it would stop providing lunch meals to students whose families have an outstanding debt.
Devonshire [DEV–uh n-sheer] Park Primary in Merseyside, England, broke the news of the policy in a letter to parents. The letter explained that students cannot get hot meals if their parents have a debt of £10 or higher.
If parents are unable to settle their debt, they are advised to provide packed lunch for their children while paying off their outstanding balance. Devonshire Park, however, emphasized that it would not let students starve if they did not have packed lunch and would provide students toast or bread rolls.
In Devonshire Park, parents pay for their children’s school lunch in advance. The cost is partially subsidized by the school. Unfortunately, the school noted that some parents failed to pay and collectively incurred a debt of £1,000 last year. To stop parents from accumulating higher arrears, the school decided to implement the policy.
Currently, UK schools are under a lot of pressure because of education budget cuts. As such, a teacher unaffiliated with the school expressed support for the policy. The teacher explained that the parents’ debt could have been used to fund teaching assistants and other educational resources.
Be that as it may, one parent still disagreed with the policy, pointing out that some families are struggling financially. In defense, the school said that it was aware of the financial struggles of some parents. In fact, parents are encouraged to talk to the school management if they have concerns so that the school can provide assistance.