A mother in Pleasant Grove, Utah is furious after learning that her daughter, a special needs student eighth-grader at Pleasant Grove Junior High School, was served lunch out of a trash can by a school employee.
Just two days into the school year, Sierra Prince asked a cafeteria worker for a slice of pizza but was told that there was no pizza left. However, after she insisted she wanted pizza, a second employee pulled what was left from the top of a trash can.
“I didn’t really like the taste of it at all,” Prince, a diabetic with learning disabilities and a special diet, told FOX 13. “It was nasty.” She said she felt she had to listen to her school-appointed aid and the staff.
“I didn’t want to eat it, but I was dosed for pizza anyway because I’m diabetic. So, I had to eat it,” Prince said.
Prince’s mother, Nicole Cordoba, learned of the incident upon her daughter’s return home from school. “How could that happen to a child? What adult makes that decision? It’s common sense: We don’t eat out of trash cans,” she said.
“Sierra can’t make her own decisions on what she eats,” Cordoba said. “That’s why they hired the helper. Not only one person made the decision for Sierra to eat out of the trash, three adults did.”
After Cordoba complained to the Alpine School District on Wednesday, the Nutrition Services Director sent an e-mail to school employees. “This was totally unacceptable. Your employee needs a reprimand and a discipline warning issued immediately. We never serve food that has been placed in a garbage can,” the e-mail read, in part.
A lunch manager has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, according to a school district spokeswoman–but she says the lunch manager was trying to do the right thing.
“In this particular case, the lunch manager, not understanding everything, was told that pizza was what her insulin – that she had just received 15 minutes earlier, the [carbohydrate] count was for pizza,” Kimberly Bird, Alpine School District spokeswoman, said. “And her not knowing the particulars thought that was the only thing she could have and therefore made a poor decision,” she said.