- Stacy Koltiska, a lunchroom staffer at an elementary school, resigns after school refuses food to children who can't afford it.
- A new policy was passed, last fall, in the Canon-McMillan school district that refuses students hot lunches if they owe more than $25 in their lunch accounts.
- Koltiska's stance against the policy has been turning heads in the community.
Kids naturally have the faces of angels. That's what the word “cherub” implies. Imagine a young student approaching the register of his school lunch line, his face excited with anticipation for his meal. The cheerful lunchroom staffer rings up his meal to find that there isn't enough money in his account. Her face saddens as she is forced to turn away the student. The remainder of the school day is spent contemplating his empty stomach.
That's what happened to Stacy Koltiska, a lunchroom employee for the Canon-McMillan, PA school district. A new rule was passed that forces the lunchroom staffers to turn away students who owe more than $25 to their lunch account.
Koltiska said she was stunned by the new policy, which started this last fall. After working for the Wylandville Elementary School for two years, she tendered her resignation due to the new policy.
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She said, “As a Christian, I have an issue with this. It’s sinful and shameful is what it is.”
Koltiska said, “God is love, and we should love one another and be kind. There’s enough wealth in this world that no child should go hungry, especially in school. To me, this is just wrong.”
Matthew Daniels, the Canon-McMillan school district's superintendent, eventually gave a statement to Action News 4 WTAE. He claimed that the policy was put into place to cut down on the number of parents who don't keep up to date on their lunch accounts. Apparently, it has been successful. He also explained that the policy does not target families that qualify for financial assistance.
Daniels said, “There has never been the intent with the adoption of this policy to shame or embarrass a child.” He explained that over 300 families owe the school district anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 each year. However, now that the policy has been put into place there are only 70 families that owe the school district a total of $20,000.
Koltiska went on to explain how this touches a soft point in her heart. She knows what it's like to be hungry. She said she grew up just north of Pittsburg and survived on food stamps and free lunches from school. Koltiska said, “I know the shame I felt, and it was of no fault of my own.”
However, Koltiska is starting to turn heads. Since her resignation, she says that she has received letters from inmates in a nearby prison who have said that they want to donate their food to the schoolchildren. I guess inmates have a soft spot for children as well. Yet, inmates are the only ones reaching out to Koltiska, apparently, nuns are also reaching out to show their support as well.
Koltiska said, “They’re suits at a board meeting. They are not the ones facing a child and looking them in the eye and taking their food away.”
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