On May 20, a Kentucky grade schooler was eating lunch with her friends in the cafeteria when a school employee took away her hot lunch and dumped it in the trash in front of her. The teacher gave her a cheese sandwich to eat instead. Although the student didn’t know it, her lunch account had had a negative balance.

The girl’s aunt, who’s also the PTO treasurer, had stopped by Bedford Elementary School that day and heard what happened from an employee.

“It was awful to think about her being there, sitting there and she was crying. She’s a shy girl anyway, she’s 10 years old and she knows what’s going on,” Leslie Chilton told local NBC station WAVE 3.

Another Bedford mom, Kim Wright, started a petition to change the school’s policy on overdue accounts to avoid situations where school staff waste food and bully students in front of their friends. She says other parents told her their kids came home upset that the girl’s lunch was trashed.

“How is it ethical? How is it moral to do this to children who have no control over the situation, whatever the situation may be?” Wright told WAVE3. “Whether it’s the fault of the school or the parents, the child does not need to be in the equation.”

The girl’s family had money to pay the lunch bill, WAVE3 reported, they just didn’t know their daughter’s account had run out.

Wright’s petition, which now has more than 1,000 signatures, seems to have gotten through to the school board, which has scheduled a public meeting for next month to discuss the lunch policy.

[h/t Opposing Views, Photo: WAVE 3]