R.I. school district under fire after saying students who owe lunch money will only get jelly sandwich
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A school district in Rhode Island is coming under fire on social media after it warned families that students who owe lunch money would only be receiving a sun butter and jelly sandwich until their balance is paid.

The Warwick Public Schools district first made the announcement in a Facebook post on Sunday, according to NBC News.

“In accordance with Warwick School Committee Policy EFB; Effective Monday, May 13, 2019, if money is owed on a paid, free, or reduced lunch account a sun butter and jelly sandwich will be given as the lunch choice until the balance owed is paid in full or a payment plan is set up through Bev Burd in the food service office,” the district wrote.

A number of parents and social media users criticized the school in the comments on Facebook, accusing the district of “shaming” students and families who may be struggling to cover the costs of school lunches.

“This is absolutely awful. Our schools shouldn’t be in the business of shaming children,” one user wrote.

“I got three letters for .05 cents owed. Finally I taped a nickel to the paper and sent it in. Really they need to chase a nickel!” another person wrote, while another said: "Just give the kids lunch. ... we cant spring for a chicken patty for a hungry kid? What if this is their only meal of the day?"

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The district said in a statement to The Associated Press that it is owed over $40,000 in outstanding lunch payments. School administrators said the district is rolling out the new policy because it cannot afford to cover the expenses. 

According to the news agency, lawmakers in the state are currently reviewing legislation seeking to make hot lunches available to all students free of charge.