Wilmington schools: No one fired for providing a free meal


By Gary Huffenberger - News Journal



WILMINGTON — Responding to critical Facebook comments, the Wilmington City Schools (WCS) superintendent stated Tuesday “no employee has been fired for providing a free meal to a student.”

WCS Superintendent Ron Sexton said in a phone interview there is no truth to the claim that an employee at Denver Place Elementary School was fired for giving food to children who needed food.

A WCS worker was fired weeks ago, according to Sexton.

“While we are not permitted to share details on the termination of a specific employee, we can assure you that no employee has been fired for providing a free meal to a student,” according to a written statement issued Tuesday afternoon by Sexton.

The statement lists several student meal programs in the school district, including the Free and Reduced Lunch Program for families in need.

“We do understand that outside of those programs, there are kids that sometimes come to school with no lunch money. Students are always given a complete lunch pattern meal, regardless of the monies on their account,” the superintendent wrote. “This meal includes a meat or meat alternative, vegetable, fruit, grain, and milk according to the meal requirements for the National School Lunch Program.

“Under no circumstance is a student ever denied a complete meal,” added Sexton.

The released statement begins: “Wilmington City Schools is overwhelmed, and grateful, that so many in our community care about students in our district as much as we do. No child should go hungry at school and for many children that school breakfast or lunch may be the most nutritional meal they receive that day.”

The WCS statement ends: “Our administration, staff, and teachers care deeply for the students at WCS and are grateful that so many community members do as well. We welcome questions and concerns from the community, and are always appreciative when folks take the time to get the facts rather than distribute misinformation.”

The WCS statement also includes that the district offers information each school year about the Free and Reduced Lunch Program for families in need. The statement further notes there is a daily breakfast in all five school buildings within the school district.

All students, stated Sexton, have an opportunity to eat breakfast whether it is paid, or on a free or reduced basis.

The statement also mentions the “Seamless Summer Program” where any resident 18 years and younger can receive a lunch free of charge at the Wilmington Middle School cafeteria on weekdays during summer break.

The superintendent stated there is, through help with the Freestore Food Bank, a Power Pack Back Pack Program where food is sent home with WCS students to ensure they have something to eat on weekends.

District parents can visit the Food Service page at http://www.wilmington.k12.oh.us/departments/food-services for more information on the WCS school breakfast and lunch programs, Free and Reduced Lunch, and how parents can check and refill the balance in their child’s account.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

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By Gary Huffenberger

News Journal