School lunches snatched from students in Johnsonville

JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Some students who owed Johnsonville High School lunch money had their lunches taken away and thrown in the trash.

The principal of Johnsonville High School says the school did take lunches away from students who owed money and says they could have handled the situation differently.

Principal Stevie Phillips says the school decided to start enforcing a no charge policy that has always been in place, hoping to collect some of the debt owed by students ranging from $5 to $300.

He says the students were given a notice of when the policy would be implemented.

"[The policy] over the last several, many years it hasn't been followed," Phillips said. "We're at a point and time where we operate in the red here, about $300,000 here at Johnsonville High School."

Phillips says in the past the profits made at the elementary and middle school levels have balanced out losses at the high school, since the younger students tend to eat less.

He says he would like to find a way to make the food program at his school pay for itself, so any extra money could be spent on educational needs.

Overall, Phillips says he plans to make sure this does not happen again, so children do not have to be embarrassed and go through the day hungry.

"I think we could have handled that a little better than what we did," Phillips said.  "And with a policy in place that we put into action where they'll report to me first instead of us back there taking those trays from those students."

Phillips also says many schools have the same policy.

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