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Chester County Mother Outraged After 9-Year-Old Son’s Lunch Is Taken Away

(credit: CBS) Steve Patterson
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By Steve Patterson

CHADDS FORD, Pa., (CBS) — A Chester County mother wants answers after her son’s lunch is taken away.

But the school district is standing its ground.

Eyewitness News reporter Steve Patterson has the details you’ll only see here on CBS3.

“Pretty ticked off and I wanted to know why it happened,” Christine Coan said.

Strong words from a stirred mother after she says her only son came home from school one mid-March day more than just hungry.

“I imagine he was shocked, horrified, embarrassed, confused. Lots of things,” she said.

Chester County mom Christine Coan says her 9-year-old-son Alex, who is diagnosed with mild autism, was served lunch at Greenwood Elementary on March 10th only to have it taken away.

“He came in in tears, starving, upset, ate stale bread off the counter and rolled up in a blanket and went to bed,” she said.

Coan says according to school records her son’s personal lunch account was at a $20 deficit, and according to school policy, for an account that should be pre-paid, that’s enough to get your entree removed from your tray.

In this case a hot dog swapped for a cheese sandwich that went untouched.

There are also supposed to be several notifications before it comes to that. Notifications, Coan says, that she never received.

“Call me. They’ve called me before, they know where I live. I’m three miles away,” she said.

Eyewitness News took those complaints to officials with the district who not only say there were several discussions but several notifications made about that account well before the incident at lunch.

“The system itself worked. Notifications were issued. The deficit went to the $20 balance. As far as the procedures, I can’t fault any personnel within the district,” Assistant Superintendent Mark Tracy said.

(Patterson:) “Why not just let the kid eat the hot dog?”

“Well because we’re providing food for 4,200 students. In many cases, this is not subsidized by taxpayer dollars, nor should it be by other students,” Tracy said.

No apologies from Tracy who says Coan had several opportunities to pay when delinquency hurts school budgets.

No apologies from Coan who says she’s happy her story is being told when her nine-year-old watch perfectly good food being thrown away.

Both promising to better attempt at communication.