Superintendent answers questions about school lunch controversy

CREATED Feb 6, 2014

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It's the story that has people freaking out on our Facebook page. Is it fair to give your kids a cold cheese sandwich if they come up short on lunch money for a hot lunch? Four In Your Corner's Dave Culbreth now taking that question straight to the top to the Lee County superintendent.

Over 60,000 of our viewers have looked at this story since Monday and over 700 have commented. Many saying their child had a hot meal taken away from them and replaced by a cold cheese sandwich. Tonight, I asked superintendent Dr. Nancy Graham about it.   

"It is never our intention for a child to not eat nor be embarrassed about whether or not they have lunch money, we want children to have lunch every day. That's a priority," said Dr. Nancy Graham, the superintendent of the Lee County School District.

The last three nights we've told the story of an 8th grader who went through the lunch line, got to the end, and for the second day in a row didn't have money in her lunch account. So, they took her hot meal away from her and gave her a cold cheese sandwich.

"I can assure you that I am sorry that this particular story happened, that you had something to report that's as unfortunate as this and we are working to be sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else," said Dr. Graham.

Parents can, in fact, set it up so they are notified when a child's lunch account is low. It's done at "". Parents must set it up, but first of all, must know about it. (Culbreth): "We've had like 60,000 responses to the whole thing so apparently there are a lot of people out there who don't know that this can be done. "Then we've gotta do a better job of communicating this information to people," answered Dr. Graham. "I will tell you that if this has happened to a child and parents say they didn't know they need to tell us".

"Some of these parents, they don't have access to the internet so that's where the District needs to step up and, in my humble opinion, and try and help these parents and inform them and educate them in different ways that they can do this," said school board member Don Armstrong.

And Armstrong says, perhaps instead of this, that an administrator picking up the phone and calling a parent could be done. "the computer system tells you that Johnny doesn't have lunch money anymore. Well, that means that somebody needs to mark it down and make sure that Johnny's parents are contacted and informed," reasoned Armstrong.

"In my thinking this is a process issue that we have to address and I can assure you it's being addressed," Dr. Graham said.

If you missed our news Wednesday night, as you saw in a clip there......I kind of gave an example of what kids were getting to eat if they ran out of money. After our interview tonight, Dr. Graham asked me if I would kindly quit making cheese sandwiches on tv.

You can let us know what you think about the superintendent's position on this when you call (239) 206FOX4 or email us at