Think back to your days as a student. Was remembering your lunch money your main priority? Probably not.

At Kokomo High School in Indiana, students are given the option of crediting lunches to a student account if they forget their lunch money. Then, families can go back and pay the balance.


But this system was flawed. School officials found that some students were taking advantage of the system, regularly crediting their lunches without going back to pay off their balances. The issue became so large that the school accumulated over $50,000 in school lunch debt.

To remedy this issue, Kokomo High School created a new 2016 policy where students with a debt over $25 are given “alternative lunches” which include either a peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwich with a side of milk. According to Today, some are calling these intentionally sub-par sammies “sandwiches of shame.” The policy only applies to students who don’t qualify to receive free or reduced priced lunches. David Barnes, director of communications for Kokomo School Corporation, tells Today,


“Some of these people on the list, I’m sorry, are making $100,000 a year, family of four, and have a debt over $100. I’m sorry, those people need to pay their bills.”

When Kokomo senior Sierra Feitl watched a fellow student receive a shame sandwich, Feitl felt she needed to express her disapproval of the policy. She posted the photo to Facebook where she called the meal “absolutely mortifying.” Feitl explains,


“I think the worst part was that they did it when you were paying, in front of everybody else. So if you didn’t have the money that you needed in your account, everyone got to see that,”

Since posting, the photo has gone viral, racking up over 800 Facebook shares.


Parents and students have expressed their anger towards the new policy, which school officials claim they warned families about last year. Yet as the news about the policy spreads, others wonder if the parents are actually the party to blame.

Today reports that the alternative lunch policy has now been suspended until February to allow students to catch up on their debt. So far, $15,000 worth of the school lunch debt has been paid off.

[via Today]