When high school junior Dominic Gant went to lunch in his school’s cafeteria, he was surprised and embarrassed when one of the cafeteria workers took his food away. He owed some money for unpaid school lunches, so the cafeteria workers decided to handle the situation by throwing away the food he was about to buy.
Dominic told CNN, “It was really embarrassing… They took my plate away and said I didn’t have enough to eat today.” Even though they had to throw the food away and weren’t saving any money by wasting it, they denied him lunch. His overdue balance for his school lunches was less than $5.
When Dominic told his mother, Amanda Keown, what happened, she was furious. She couldn’t believe that her son was denied food over $5. However, instead making a huge scene at the school, she sent a powerful message. She paid off Dominic’s debt as well as all the other unpaid lunch debt in the school. The total came to about $200. Keown said, “I realize I don’t have to do that, but I don’t want another kid going through what my son went through.”
Keown prevented other students at the high school from being denied food, but she also sent a message about how ridiculous it is to throw away food and shame kids over a few dollars. Her story has received the attention of students, parents, and community members all around the country, and hopefully her actions will encourage schools to reconsider the way they handle unpaid lunches.