News 3 addresses reports of alternate lunch shaming in Muscogee County

COLUMBUS, Ga. — There’s concern about the alternate lunch program not only across the nation but right here in Muscogee County as well.

Reports are starting to surface that some kids are embarrassed if they can’t pay full price for a hot lunch.

The Columbus, Georgia Concerned Citizens Forum is a Facebook group of more than 55 hundred people and it’s been very vocal over the last few days.

One issue is the way the alternate lunch program is reportedly being run in Muscogee County.

“There was a post of the weekend that children in our school system were either not receiving lunches or were receiving cold lunches. Hot lunches were being thrown away. We were getting a lot of differing information,” says Charles Miller, a local attorney and adminstrator of The Concerned Citizens Forum Page.

He says he’s been in talks with the Susan Slater, the head of nutrition for the Muscogee County School District but he’s not the only one.

Another member posted to Facebook saying in part- I just spoke to Susan at the MCSD School Nutrition Office.

I was told that there is likely an issue with even having the inventory on hand to make the cold alterate lunch.

I contacted the MCSD Department of Communications in an effort to interview Slater about the reports of shaming and lack of food.

The School District’s Public Information Officer spoke instead.

“Well first of all I can’t verify what you’re saying as reference to being true what we can say is that when students come through the lunch line if they don’t have funds available on their account they may have to, they have to give that tray back or pay for that meal if not then they’re given an alternative meal..umm.. That’s done as discreetly as possible,” says Valerie Fuller, the Director of Communications.

Other district representatives are weighing in on the food being taken away and then thrown away.

“If that is indeed true I just think we need to find a better way to handle the situation,” says John Thomas, District 2 Rep. for  Muscogee County School Board.

All those interested in donating to the fund to help pay for hot lunches for those students who are less fortunate, please send money addressed to Susan Slater, the head of MCSD nutrition. The address: 2960 Macon Road, Columbus, Ga. 31906.

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