A school district in eastern Pennsylvania is coming under fire for sending letters to parents blaming them for school lunch or risking their children being placed in foster care.
In a letter shared on social media and sourced from an NBC affiliate, WBRE, parents are informed that their child has an account balance of $ 75.25, and if they do not pay him, the Parents can be displayed at the district court of the district of Lucerne.
"Your child was sent to school every day with no money and no money for breakfast and / or lunch." This is a mistake that causes your child to be under-nourished, and you can be sent to the dependency court because You have neglected the right of your child to food, "it says in the letter of 9 July. The parents of the district are required to pay criminal food bills for their children or to take the risk of their children are taken into foster care. Aced in foster care, "the letter says.
" Please remit the payment as soon as possible, not the competent authorities
The letter was signed by Joseph Muth, the director of federal programs, for the Wyoming Valley West School District.
Muth and the school district have asked NBC News for comment WBRE says the district is attempting to collect debts for lunch worth about $ 20,000.
David Pedri, district manager of Lucerne, condemned the school district for using the care system as a deterrent.
Care systems should be used only when absolutely necessary ̵
The county has asked the Wyoming Valley West School District to withdraw the letter.
Joanne Van, executive director of Lucerne County's Children and Youth Services Saun told WBRE that the letter worried her. She said that the agency does not remove children from school for school meals or unpaid bills.
"It's a complete misrepresentation, a gross misrepresentation of what our agency does," she told the outlet. "It just is not true, we are not removing children from families for unpaid bills."
The school district said it would send parents another softer letter about unpaid bills for lunch, WBRE reported district threat and parents' responsibility ,
A person whose Facebook profile stems from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania criticized school district officials.
"Sounds like a great idea to uproot a child's life because your mom and dad did not do it." I'll pay you lunch, what a bunch of highly educated idiots, "he wrote.
Another Facebook user said Muth should have" known better than to take advantage of this kind of threat. "
But another Facebook users said in a post that parents are responsible for caring for their children and the burden should not be "borne by others who pay for meals."
US Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa no child should "must" Imagine the horror of being "swept away" by her parents over an unpaid food bill.
"These letters were dismissive and should never have happened," said Casey. "In the future, the school district is bound to to find a suitable way to collect these funds instead of using threats. "The students who owed the money for lunch were given only sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches until their debts I was.
The mother of Minnesota-born 32-year-old cafeteria overseer shot dead in Minnesota by a police officer in 2016, he recently gave $ 8,000 to a state high school to settle the outstanding lunch bills.
"Children should not be in debt and parents should not, and I just think schools should offer free meals to our children," Valerie Castile told NPR in May.