LAKE ELSINORE (CBS) — A Lake Elsinore mother is irate at what she says her 8-year-old daughter was forced to eat at school – a sandwich fished from the garbage.
“This aide took out the uneaten apples and the juice box and the sandwich, the whole lunch, out of the trash can and made my daughter eat the entire thing. All of it,” said the mother, identified only as Irene.
Greg Mills, reporting for CBS2, said the third grader’s mother and the school differ on the facts, but agree on one thing: an incident involving her daughter’s lunch took place last Friday at Earl Warren Elementary School in Lake Elsinore.
“We believe this to be an isolated incident,” said Greg Bowers, the district’s assistant superintendent.
“I’ve had three other people come to me and say that they first-hand witnessed this same aide doing it to three other people,” Irene said.
According to the school’s principal, the child was not forced to eat the lunch but that she asked if she could eat it.
“I can’t imagine my daughter or anybody else saying ‘please can I eat out of the trash can’,” she said.
The school also contends that the food was not in the trash but rather, the sandwich still inside a sealed baggie, was on top of clean lunch trays.
“It was not pulled off the top of clean lunch trays. It was pulled out of the trash,” the mother insists.
The school district does agree a mistake was made. In an email, the district superintendent told Mills the employee made a very poor decision and that appropriate disciplinary action was taken.
“We do believe this individual had good intent but there is no policy, no procedure in place that we would force children to stay at their seats and consume all of their lunch,” Bowers said.
Irene says she wants to send her daughter to a school in a different district.
Other parents Mills’ spoke with, who expressed alarm over this incident, otherwise praised the school.
One in fact said, “it’s a great school.”