JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The mother of a Duval County kindergartner is outraged because she said her son was denied breakfast Tuesday in the school cafeteria.
"They thought he did not have money," explained his mother Megan Blackburn. "The money was in his backpack. They told me, the principal confirmed, he grabbed his tray, proceeded down the breakfast line in cafeteria and picked out his food and when he got to the cashier they then removed the plate from his hands and had him go sit down with the other kids."
The Crown Point kindergartner did get to eat some Cheez-Its his mom had packed as a snack, but according to Blackburn, that was it.
"It's embarrassing and you are around other kids who have tendency to be very hateful and then to force him to sit there and watch other kids eat, that's a form of torture," said Blackburn.
She said she didn't find out until she picked her son up from school.
"The extended day teacher proceeded to tell me he had not eaten that day because he didn't have money. There was no compassion, no concern, just flat out 'your son didn't eat.'"
Blackburn said the school told her her son did eat lunch that day, but the 5-year-old told his mother he didn't.
"When we got home I just asked him what happened, and he just told me his stomach was hurting all day and yelling at him and that he was hungry as he was literally shoveling food down his throat."
We tried to talk to the principal but a Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman told First Coast News she was not available for an interview but would be happy to sit down with Brenden's parents.
Blackburn said the principal looked into the matter at her request and called her Friday.
"She was sorry and understood why I was upset but there are no policies in place to prevent it from happening and they feel as though they did no wrong," recounted Blackburn. "As a mother I'm required to make sure my child is fed, has clothing and shelter. If you are refusing my child food, that is technically neglect so you as a principal feel it's okay to neglect my child. That's unfortunate."
Marsha Oliver, a school district spokeswoman, said she couldn't comment on this particular case because student information is confidential.
Oliver said in Duval County every student is provided lunch, even if they don't have the money to pay for it. That's not the case for breakfast, although she said it's not uncommon for teachers and staff to pay for a student's meal out of their own pocket.
First For You, there's a website called mylunchmoney.com where Duval County parents can use a credit card to add money to their child's meal account at school and monitor what they purchase.
First Coast News