School board's Don Armstrong weighs in on school lunch controversy

CREATED Feb 5, 2014

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A seemingly minor dispute over a hot lunch versus a cold cheese sandwich at your kids school cafeteria is now taking on a life of its own. Some dubbing this controversy "Cheese-Gate." At FOX4 you decide what we continue to cover and as Four In Your Corner's Dave Culbreth shows you, your passion now has the attention of a Lee County School Board member.

Cheese-Gate, Day 3. Over 50,000 of you have watched this story over the last two nights on our Facebook page and over 600 have commented. It's about the fact that if a child goes through the lunch line twice and doesn't have money in their account the second time, the hot meal in their hand is taken away. Tonights question... what happens to it?

"That's a good question," said school board member Don Armstrong. "These are the questions I want to know". Armstrong says he's been sitting at home watching FOX4 the last two nights when we showed the story of a girl who went through the lunch line at Veteran's Park Academy for the Arts in Lehigh Acres, got to the end, and for the second day in a row didn't have money in her lunch account. So, they gave her a cold cheese sandwich. But what happened to the hot meal she just had in her hand? "It's gotta be tossed," said Armstrong. "You can't just give it to another student". (Culbreth): You can't pour it back. "You can't pour it back. There's no other options. So what happens to this food? These are the questions I want to know," added Armstrong.

The district says it's investigating this case, but either can't or won't answer the question; "What happens to those hot meals in those situations?" Armstrong said, "It does become costly, free lunch after free lunch after free lunch. But when you start throwing em away..." (Culbreth): It's costly then too isn't it? "It's costly then. I'd rather see it go to these kids that can't afford it or are having problems".

Armstrong says something has got to change with this policy. "I see so much money wasted out the tailpipe of a bus from busing a student from one end of the county to the other. Let's stop busing em all over the place and start putting food in their stomach and give them a great education like we promised".

And, as promised, I've been asking the District questions like, "Why can't parents been notified when their kids account gets below a certain amount? Banks do it, lots of businesses do it. We've all gotten those emails. I'm still waiting for an answer.     

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