DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A sweet treat turned sour as a social media post by a Warren County elementary school stirred up outrage.
Donovan Elementary School in Lebanon posted on social media that the school would be holding an “ice cream Friday” for the first time. Students without enough funds, or a negative balance, on their lunch accounts would be unable to receive ice cream.
“A student must have money on their account to purchase an ice cream,” the school said. “If a student has a negative balance they will not be able to purchase an ice cream even if they bring their $1 for ice cream.”
The original post went on to say that students were allowed to buy only one ice cream and were unable to purchase one for anyone else.
As of Friday, Sept. 22, the post racked up over 11,000 reactions, 13,000 comments and 5,400 shares. Of the 13,000 comments, most people were seen in outrage over the post. One person wrote “This is gross. I hope you realize how disgusting this is and stop punishing students over something they can not control. I’m repulsed. Do better.”
By Friday at 9:30 a.m., Donovan Elementary School addressed the initial post, saying it “lacked empathy.”
You can read the entire response the school posted below:
We understand this post lacked empathy. We are sorry for the way the message was communicated. The wording lacked empathy and sensitivity for students who have low or negative meal account balances. We work very hard to provide school lunches to students by removing barriers and eliminating the stigma associated with the lunch assistance program. This post inadvertently sent the message that we would embarrass students or turn them away for an issue outside their control. The message fell short of our values as a district and we sincerely apologize.
The post was intended to communicate to Donovan parents how several district-wide rules apply to a la carte items purchased in the cafeteria. These rules are not new. Students who have a negative balance on their account are not turned away; they are provided a meal. Students are not allowed to purchase a la carte items if they have a negative balance in their meal account. Ice cream is an a la carte item. Therefore, if students have a negative balance on their meal account, they are not allowed to purchase ice cream. It is also important to note that we do not accept cash at our cafeteria registers. We also do not permit students to purchase food for their classmates without prior parent permission.
We sincerely apologize for the way this information was communicated.”Donovan Elementary School
Mz. Jade’s Soul Food, a restaurant in Middletown, announced on social media they had donated $411.15 towards school lunch debt for Lebanon schools.