Company: Worker who threw out student lunches “removed”

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A cafeteria worker at Cleveland Hill’s high school and middle school who threw out some student lunches with delinquent accounts has been removed, according to the company.

Personal Touch Food Service, Inc. responded to News 4′s story on their website, saying that three students had their trays taken away and the food was thrown out. The company apologized for humiliating the students, saying, “Disposing of the tray of food in front of the student was inappropriate and should not have happened. For that we sincerely apologize.”

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The private food service company, which operates in several schools in Western New York, says the worker implicated in the incident has been “removed from that position” and the remaining staff has been instructed how to handle a delinquent account in the future.

Personal Touch says it must adhere to Cleveland Hill’s policies on how to handle the account because they are contractually bound to them. The company writes, “Personal Touch has no interest, financial or otherwise, to deny a student a meal as all revenue received for meals goes to the school.”

According to Cleveland Hill’s policy, written in 2007, “The limit is one charge per student. After the maximum allowable charges are accumulated, one additional charge may occur but will result in the student being provided with an alternative meal to be determined at the districts discretion.”

An update in 2010 states, “Second charge is a PBJ or cheese sandwich (for allergies), milk and fruit. No third charges or food given.”

The company says it will continue to work with Cleveland Hill on these policies. Superintendent Jon MacSwan told News 4 earlier this week that those policies will be revisited.

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