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School seizes lunches from students and throws them away

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Parents at a Utah school were angry when they found out that authorities took lunches away from dozens of students and threw them away.

It happened at Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City.

On Monday, a district child nutrition manager was sent to the school to investigate a large number of students who had zero or negative balances in their school lunch accounts.

The school district says that on the same day, the district manager and the local school kitchen manager started making calls to inform parents of the negative balances.

On Tuesday, the calls to parents continued. When lunch time came, students who still had negative balances were told they could not have a full meal but were given a piece of fruit and a milk for lunch. The district says it does this so children who don't have money for lunch can at least have some food and not go without.

The district says that the problem is that children are served lunch before they get to the computer for payment. The children who didn't have enough money in their accounts had their normal food trays seized from them and were given the fruit and milk.  The food was thrown away because once it has been served it can not be served to someone else.

The district now admits it made a mistake in taking away the food.  It issued a statement saying, the "situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner. We apologize."

The district also says it is looking into how parents are notified about low balances in their accounts.

"We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation," the district said in a statement. "We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again."

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