MERIDIAN -- There is outrage and embarrassment after dozens of elementary school children in Utah had their school lunches pulled from their hands because their parents were behind in their lunch money accounts.
Many Idahoans have been asking the question - could this happen at your kid's school?
KTVB looked into policies at area schools today to find out what happens when families get behind on pre-paid lunch accounts.
Like some other districts we talked to, including Nampa and Caldwell, at Meridian schools kids can charge two or three meals after their accounts hit zero. After that, things vary.
In Meridian, school district officials say no matter what the policy is - kids will eat somehow.
We've had a directive from the top. We feed kids. We're not going to take their food away from them after they've been served, said Meridian School District spokesman Eric Exline.
At Siena Elementary School, kids line up for their $2.20 school lunches every day.
In line, the food staff rings up every kid's meal from their account.
If they run out of money, the Meridian School District says kids can charge a few meals, and even after that, can borrow money from the school's office.
If they run out of money, the kitchen manager takes care of it. She puts it into the principal's account, and they pull money out of the account to make sure the child gets lunch that day, said Siena Principal Kacey Schneidt.
Despite what happened in the Utah situation, Meridian says there are USDA requirements that kids can't be publicly pointed out for being behind on money.
They have guidelines that say not to identify and embarrass children because it's not their fault they don't have money to pay for lunch, said Exline.
As for if the situation in Salt Lake City would happen here, district and elementary school officials say no.
Absolutely not. We would never let a kid go hungry that day, said Schneidt.
Really to have a child go through, get lunch, and then sort of publicly embarrass them by taking their food away and throwing it away, that isn't something you should be doing, said Exline.
That being said -- the cost of covering lost lunches can add up if parents don't pay -- and districts have to take the hit out of general fund dollars that could be used elsewhere.
In Meridian that amounts to $6,000 to $8,000 a year they don't get back.
We have received some calls from Eagle High School students this afternoon saying this has happened to them. We've taken their concerns to the district, which is looking into things there.
There is also the free and reduced lunch program, which of course is a bit different.
Schools do try to make sure kids whose parents need help enroll in the program, and it's subsidized through government dollars.