Hawaii school explains why students went hungry over negative balance

Parents are outraged after their kids spent the day in school without getting any lunch.

They attend Solomon Elementary School at Schofield Barracks.

The mother did not want to be identified, but told KHON2 that her fourth-grade daughter and her son, who’s in the first grade, went to the cafeteria expecting to eat lunch with everyone else.

But after their IDs were scanned, their lunch trays were taken away and all they could do was watch everyone else eat.

“They were upset confused, embarrassed, humiliated, degraded, set aside and they didn’t understand. They were only elementary school children,” said the mother.

The mother says her son and daughter did not get to eat because the school said their account had a negative balance.

So KHON2 went to the school’s principal, Sally Omalza.

She didn’t want to talk on camera, but said throughout the year, the school would normally feed the kids anyway if their account was negative.

But toward the end of the year, the school needs to close out all accounts so parents need to pay up. She said the parents were notified about this.

“You can’t just let the child go without. It’s not right and somebody has to say something because this can’t go on,” the mother said. “It’s horrible and these children don’t have voices.”

The mother adds that there should have been money in the account in the first place.

“We paid it up on Friday, which was (May) 1st and we got the notification saying it was in the negative after that,” she said.

The principal said if that happens again and the school can’t get a hold of the parents, the school will give the children something to eat.

The mother is also angry that nobody called her until the end of the day. If she had known, she would have brought her children something to eat.

The principal told KHON2 she called, but later discovered that the school had the wrong number.

As far as the discrepancy, the principal said it’s the parents’ responsibility to straighten it out.

KHON2 contacted the Department of Education to find out exactly what the statewide policy is under these circumstances, but did not get a response.

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