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School threatens to name and shame parents who haven’t paid up for their kids’ meals

A primary school has threatened to name and shame parents who have not paid for their child’s meals.

Springhead Primary School in Anlaby, Hull, claim there are 60 people ‘in debt’ for meals despite sending numerous reminders to parents and carers.

Writing on Facebook, the school said the meals would be withdrawn in September for those children whose parents do not settle their accounts in full by Friday morning.

They added that staff ‘did not sign up to being debt collectors’ and don’t want to be forced into ‘naming and shaming’ the parents who have not paid.

The post, which has since been deleted, said: ‘Reminder we still have 60 people in debt despite numerous reminders.

‘We are operating a zero tolerance regime and services for lunches, after school/breakfast club will be withdrawn in September for the full half-term for any parent who has not settled their account in full by Friday morning.’

The post also went on to say how they ‘cannot pay the staff’ and thanked those who have settled their bill.

‘Many parents have paid upfront and are in credit. Thank you to those who have done so.

(Please don’t make us name and shame you) #wedidn’tsignuptobedebtcollectors #pleasedon’tmakeusnag #can’tpaythestaff.’

Opinions on the post were divided, with some saying the school did the right thing, while others condemned them, saying that shaming parents struggling to pay and potentially opening up children to bullying is the wrong approach and the matter should have been handled directly.

Colleen Wells was one of those who had no patience for parents who hadn’t paid up. She said: ‘If people can’t afford school meals, like myself, as they are £2.50 a day here, and have more than one child then they should send the child with packed lunches like I do. ‘You don’t just let them eat the school lunches without paying for it. You wouldn’t take them to a restaurant and not pay so why school? Makes no sense.’

Sarah Todd agreed, saying: ‘If they are that skint they should apply for free dinners. If they aren’t entitled they must be able to afford dinner or do a pack-up. School shouldn’t have to feed your child for free. I wouldn’t go to Mcdonalds ask for a Happy Meal and walk away without paying because it is for my child.’

Lindsay Smith said: ‘Also, how are they going to feed their kids for the next six weeks if they can’t afford 50p a day? It’s not “I can’t pay” – it’s choice. It’s “I don’t want to pay and how long can I get away with it?”‘

Allen Preen said: ‘Kids’ school meals are like any other debt that has to be budgeted for. How about a policy whereby the meals have to be paid upfront?’

However, Emma Hall said she was ‘disgusted’ by the notion of shaming parents who may not be able to pay. ‘I think this is absolutely disgusting,’ she said. ‘I understand the school needs to chase the money they are owed but these families could be genuinely struggling.

‘If they name and shame all they are going to do is fuel bullying between the children and make the parents feel worse than they probably already do!’

Julie Broadbent said: ‘My daughter went to this school and the meals were £2.50 a day. We moved to Hull and the meals were 50p a day. How is such a difference be justified?

‘I know quite a few parents using food banks and living from day to day. I think it’s wrong to threaten to name and shame. In my opinion many staff at the school were snobby and very judgemental. Shame on the head for allowing this – there are other ways.’

Shell Eddy said: ‘At the end of the day it’s the poor children who will suffer in the long run, maybe the school would be better in working with the parents to find out if they are genuinely struggling to pay for the school meals.’

Gina Walker said: This is a disgrace. Many families are living in poverty – look how many families visit food banks. To name and shame is just putting attention on the child to be mocked through no fault of their own. Shame on you Springhead.’

Kamel Fanee Rokyckyj said: ‘The comment of name and shame is disgusting that would just cause bullying for the children when none of this is their fault at all! I understand the school needs to get the money but taking a child’s meal away or naming parents children is wrong!’

Culled from Metro

My view: I don't get how the school can justify shaming parents who are struggling to pay for their kids school meal, what kind of school management is that, that'll use all their energy to shame poor parents. You're not shaming the parents but it's the children that you're shaming, to make them look bad and announced to their classmates that they're from poor homes. The parents don't mind if you shame them because they're adults but it's the children that you're indirectly bullying and focusing unwanted attention on them. Nobody wants to associate themselves with the word poor, it's just that some people are very fortunate than others. Why not ask the rich parents who paid upfront to please help the less fortunate ones or look for charities that can help instead of your wicked and disgusting act and shame on the school Head for allowing it.

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