It’s a story out of Tazewell County that’s sparking a lot of attention on social media. Some students at Richlands High School were reportedly denied lunch on Thursday February 4, 2016 because of previous unpaid lunches. Several people are vying for the principal to step down. Upset parents and people in the community gathered together at Richlands High School to hand out 160 free lunches to students arriving at school after students were denied lunch on Thursday. Alexis Patrick is a senior at the school. She was with her mother and others handing out the food to her peers.
Patrick said, “I feel really disappointed because I already knew about it when I came in on my lunch. Thank God because if I didn’t then I would have also got my tray taken because I owe charges on my account. We go to school for an education it’s their responsibility to feed us.”
Jordyn Hale helped provide water and bagged snacks to the students.
Hale said, “As a mother myself, I could not imagine sending my kid to school and him not being able to eat.”
Kim Ringstaff is the Principal at Richlands High School. She said she doesn’t know exactly how many students didn’t get to eat lunch on Thursday but she said the whole thing is a miscommunication. She said she met with 15 students this week and some of them owe as much as $149 and the computer will only go up to that number in the cafeteria. According to Ringstaff, she asked the students to pack their lunch or fill out a free and reduced lunch form. Ringstaff said she gave the cafeteria manager a list of the 15 students she claimed to have spoken with, telling them not to credit their lunch anymore. Ringstaff said there was a miscommunication and all students who owed any money at all were denied lunches. On Friday morning, she addressed the situation.
Ringstaff said, “I got to the microphone, said I was sorry and told them that I would talk to anybody and that I wanted to get out that I was just going to talk and try to help fix the damage that was done. I will continue to do that. I’ll talk to any and everybody to tell them the story of what happened and how sorry we are from the bottom of our hearts.”
Ringstaff said right now they have a debt of more than $4,500 due to charged school lunches. 59News spoke with the Superintendent Christine Kinser.
She apologized for the incident and says it’s under investigation.