A third grader used his allowance money to pay off school lunch debt for his friends.
Kylie Kirkpatrick and her 9-year-old son, Ryan, were sitting down in the morning watching the news. A piece of news came on that shared that a little kindergartener was turned away for lunch because she didn't have any money. Ryan was very confused and didn't understand. The news went on to say that the little girl owed the school money. Ryan didn't understand how a little girl could owe the school money.
Kirkpatrick wasn't even sure what the policy was for her son's school. She called them up and was asking about their school lunch policy. The school said that they would never turn a child away from school lunch, but they put the child in debt. At the end of the school year, they then send the bill to the parents of the children who owe money to the school. She was surprised by this and said that her finances are pretty strict because she is a single parent. She said a random bill for $100 at the end of the school year would really hurt her. Although Ryan didn't owe any debt, some of his classmates did.
She learned that his classmates owe about $74 to the school worth of school lunches and the families would have to pay that back at the end of the year. She told Ryan about the situation because he was also very curious. He couldn't believe that some of his classmates owed money and that really upset him. He decided he was going to do something about it. Ryan dug into his allowance and decided he was going to pay for his friends so they didn't have to be in debt.
The story created national attention. It gained attention from many celebrities. They were all very proud of Ryan and his contribution to the school, but he shouldn't have to spend his money to feed those children. People were pleading with the school district to give back the money to Ryan and to create a free lunch program for those children who can't afford lunch. No child should have to accrue debt just because they want to eat while being at school.
It is a shame that children are not receiving free lunches and are being expected to pay off a debt at the end of the year. School's should be providing children food so that they don't go hungry. Good job Ryan, but hopefully the school will start making some changes to make sure none of the kids feel guilty for getting their bellies full.