TULSA - A Tulsa mom says her son shouldn't have to go hungry just because he forgot lunch money, but Tulsa Public Schools says by that age, he needs to be more responsible.
The mom, who wished to remain anonymous, told KRMG that her son was told he couldn't eat because he owed $3.
She says they took his tray and threw the food away, and she feels like the situation could have been handled differently.
"Let me know that he owes money, send a note home or something, but I don't think a child should be told no, they can't eat," she told KRMG. "I don't think that if he forgets his money one day, it should just be 'no, you can't eat.'"
Chris Payne, spokesman for Tulsa Public Schools, tells KRMG the district policy is that no high school student should be allowed to charge meals.
He says it's about teaching students responsibility.
"In the real world if you don't have your money and you go to McDonald's, they're not going to serve you," Payne told KRMG.
Students at the elementary and middle school levels are allowed to charge up to around $6 or $7, depending on the individual school.
And, he says, some high school principals allow a little latitude, but the district policy is clear.
"We, at the high school level, do not allow charges for lunches."
Some districts around the country have programs where students can earn their lunches by working in the cafeteria.
But Oklahoma's stringent food handling laws remove that option from the table, Payne says.
Plus, he said, "we really do want their emphasis to be on learning."