Mum’s dispute with school over £30 dinner money debt

NOT HAPPY Jodie Burgess from Copnor with her daughters Chloe, left and Carly. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (13226-3)
NOT HAPPY Jodie Burgess from Copnor with her daughters Chloe, left and Carly. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13226-3)

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A MUM claims a school refused to feed her children over an outstanding hot dinner debt.

Jodie Burgess, of Queens Road, Copnor, says a member of staff at Langstone Infant School in Ascot Road said her daughters Chloe, seven, and Carly, five, would not be fed after they attended school without a packed lunch due to an outstanding £30 debt.

But the school insists the mother was reassured the children would be given something to eat if alternative arrangements were made.

They added Ms Burgess accrued another £30 lunch debt previously.

Mrs Burgess says she was unaware of the outstanding bill and has been unable to make lunches for her daughters following back surgery.

Mrs Burgess told The News: ‘I am just so annoyed and cross with the school.

‘I am currently bedridden after major surgery and I have been in and out of hospital.

‘Apparently I owe dinner money. I had a call and they said if you don’t bring a packed lunch in for them in the next 30 minutes we are not feeding them.

‘It’s disgusting that in such extreme circumstances you think they are going to be looked after but the school are not doing it for £30.’

Mrs Burgess admits there was another occasion where she had an outstanding debt but says she settled it as soon as she found out.

Megan Carter, assistant head teacher at Langstone Infant School, said: ‘A member of our admin team spoke to Chloe and Carly’s mum after the girls arrived without anything for lunch.

‘She explained that a packed lunch was needed or that the girls could go home for lunch, but because of the £30 debt that had accrued it wasn’t possible for them to have more school lunches without paying.

‘I spoke to the girls’ mum about the situation after their child minder brought packed lunches to the school and made it clear that we would make sure that Chloe and Carly had something to eat for lunch and that we are sorry if she was upset by the phone call.

‘We are a school who cares about our pupils and will always work with families if they are having a hard time and need our support.

‘We have tried to work with the family to resolve the debt a number of times but have had no response.

‘We’d like to urge any parents who are struggling or going through a difficult time to talk to us about their situation, there is a lot we can do to help if we are made aware of any difficulties.