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Utah News
5:40 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

State Senators Visit Lunchless Elementary Students

State Sen. Jim Dabakis and Sen. Todd Weiler visited the Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City Thursday to eat lunch with victims of a school lunch scandal.

Parents say they are outraged after elementary school children had their food thrown out because of outstanding balances on their account. Jim Dabakis visited some of those students during school lunch today.
Credit www.utahsenate.org

It is estimated 30 elementary school children had their lunches thrown out after their parents didn’t pay the lunch fee.

Jason Olsen, spokesman for the Salt Lake City School District, said the cafeteria workers weren’t able to see who was in debt until after the lunches had been handed out.

Dabakis said he hopes the incident won’t reflect poorly on the school district. Rather, he looks at it as an opportunity to discuss the issue of school lunches in Utah.

“The state can reaffirm the fact that there should not be a hungry child in a Utah classroom," Dabakis said. "Not today, and not in the future.”

He said Utah ranks last when it comes to the number of eligible children who sign up for a breakfast assistant in elementary schools.

“I don’t see that as a partisan issue," Dabakis said. "I can’t imagine anyone standing up and objecting to that. It would seem to me to be the most basic issue for a family state like Utah.”

He said visiting Mrs. Hunter’s fourth grade class was the most fun he has had since the beginning of the legislative session.

“The fact that even one or two of these fourth graders would occasionally be hungry was very, very distressing," said Dabakis.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Morgan Pratt is a sophomore at Utah State University seeking a degree in Journalism and Communications.