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Unpaid fees get kids barred from lunchroom

Parents of two young children banished from their school lunchroom over unpaid fees are outraged their kids were punished. 

Parents of two young children banished from their school lunchroom over unpaid fees are outraged their kids were punished.

Rob Mikkelson was fuming upon learning Friday that his six-year-old son was told to eat outside the lunchroom at Vista Heights elementary in the city’s northeast because the fees were not paid.

Calgary Board of Education spokesperson Ted Flitton was aware of the instance, noting the school has been working with the parents to pay the requisite lunchroom-supervision fees.

Still, punishing the student for a parent’s inability to pay doesn’t sit well with dad.

“I know the fees weren’t paid, but it isn’t fair to single out a six-year-old and make him sit away from his friends. It’s embarrassing and it’s wrong to discipline the child, he didn’t do anything wrong,” Mikkelson said.

Mikkelson said a family friend’s eight-year-old daughter was also told to eat outside of the lunchroom because the fees were not paid, but he said she is struggling to come up with the money.

Flitton confirmed two students were asked to eat outside the lunchroom for four days because it is for students who have paid the fees — but he added school administration made several attempts to contact the parents.

“The school sent home numerous letters and notes in their agendas and also tried calling the students’ parents, but there was never any response at all,” Flitton said.

“We understand that sometimes there are parents who are not on the same level financially and we try to work with them. We are flexible, but these parents never responded at all for some reason.”

Flitton said both parents have since connected with the school and he believed both students would be back in the lunchroom today.

 
 
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