Mom picks up tab for unpaid school lunches

NEED TO KNOW
  • 'It was really embarrassing,' Dominic Gant says about having his lunch taken away at school
  • Gant's mom decided to cover the unpaid balances of other students, which totaled less than $100
Mom picks up tab for unpaid school lunches

#PayingItForward: School kids get free lunch!

#PayingItForward: School kids get free lunch!

A Michigan mom has decided to pay off the outstanding lunch balances of every student in her son's high school after he was allegedly denied a hot meal last week because he had no money in his account.

"I realize I didn't have to do that but I don't want another kid going through what my son went through," Amanda Keown told CNN affiliate WBND.

The total amount she had to fork over was less than $100 -- a price she said was totally worth it to save other students from going through what her son, Dominic Gant, experienced.

"It was really embarrassing, especially in front of the whole class," Gant told WBND. The junior said his lunch was taken away by school officials right after it was served to him, all because he had an outstanding balance of less than $5 in his account.

Watch: Utah elementary school: No money? No lunch

HLN has reached out to Dowagiac Union Schools but has yet to receive a comment. The principal of Dowagiac Union High School spoke to WBND and said that the teen shouldn't have gone hungry.

"There's no reason why a student should ever go without lunch, even if they have overdrawn their account. They can seek out one of the adults in the lunchroom and ask for permission to charge for another day," Pieter Hoekstra said.

Hoekstra explained that a private contractor runs the lunch program so there isn't much flexibility with payments because if the accounts go unpaid, the school is left holding the bill. He also said that the school regularly communicates with parents about the balances left on their kids' lunch accounts.

Photos: 11 tasty lunchbox creations worthy of the Louvre

There have been several similar stories cropping up around the country in recent months. A group of about 30 to 40 elementary school students were turned away from the lunch line in January because they couldn't pay for their food, according to CNN affiliate KSL. A third-grader in Howell, Michigan, raised more than $30,000 in February to help pay for school lunches after witnessing another student being denied a hot meal. And there was a lunch angel in Indianapolis who paid more than $1,200 to cover outstanding lunch accounts in April, according to CNN affiliate WTHR.

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