SELMA, California (KSEE/KGPE) – Outrage sparked after a note was posted at two Selma Unified schools addressing students who do not qualify for a free lunch.
The note read “Welcome students – No charge policy. If you do not have money in your account or money to pay today for your lunch, you will not be able to take a meal.”
One parent took a picture of the note, shared it to Facebook and it went viral. Getting hundreds of parents reacting to the post.
A father of a Selma Unified student said the district should not have posted this note for students to read.
He said, “It’s upsetting because I have a six-year-old who is going to go to first grade and doesn’t even know if he doesn’t take a lunch, and if they go to lunch, and the teacher tells him that what is he suppose to think.”
Selma Unified Superintendent, Tanya Fisher, said the note was only posted at their middle school and high school. She said students affected by this policy are in 7th through 12th grade. She said kids in kindergarten up to 6th grade will get their lunch for free regardless if they qualify for free lunch or not. If a student does not qualify for a free lunch, the school will still give that student lunch but continue to charge their account.
Fisher said within the district, four schools do not get free lunches for all of their students. Two elementary schools, their middle school, and their high school.
The district said parents who have kids attending the four schools that do not get free lunch have the option to apply for a free lunch. If qualified, their child will in fact get their lunch for free.
Noemi Hill lives in Selma. She said the district should not have posted the note on the first day of school.
“My heart, it was heartbroken, you know it was maybe a mix of being angry and heartbroken,” said Hill.
Hill said she offered to donate money to the school district to pay for students who may not be able to afford lunch.
“I would like the district to be more open with the parents and with the community in general,” said Hill. “There is a lot of us who have kids that are grown or we don’t have kids in Selma. But, at least be more open.”
Some Selma Unified parents brought up the fact Fresno Unified adopted a policy that provides free breakfast and lunch to all students. They want the same for their school district.
According to a Fresno Unified spokesperson, 85% of students who attend Fresno Unified live at or below the poverty line.