School dinner staff 'humiliated students, removing pizzas, cookies and water from their plates with tongs over debts'

8 February 2023, 21:44 | Updated: 9 February 2023, 01:11

A mother has claimed that children's school dinners were "removed from their plates with tongs" over debts in front of other students at a school in Liverpool.
A mother has claimed that children's school dinners were "removed from their plates with tongs" over debts in front of other students at a school in Liverpool. Picture: Google Maps

By Chris Samuel

A mother has claimed that children's school dinners were "removed from their plates with tongs" over debts in front of other students at a school in Liverpool.

The parent, who asked to remain anonymous so her children were not embarrassed, claimed Liverpool College on Queen's Drive "humiliated" students as they sat to eat lunch in the school's canteen on Thursday, February 2.

Staff reportedly came through the lunch hall with tongs to take away slices of pizza, cookies and bottles of water from pupils, The Echo reported.

Staff then told children, who were said to have been left "in tears", to inform their parents about their bills, the mum said.

"The school wrote to parents last week threatening to take legal action over minimal balances," she said.

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"They then decided to humiliate scores of children as their accounts for school meals had slipped into a negative balance.

"The lunch staff publicly shamed the children by coming through the lunch hall with tongs and removing slices of pizzas, cookies, and bottles of water from their plates.

"I think the word from one of them was "not today" as they took one of the child's two slices of pizza.

"To add insult to injury the food then had to be disposed of as the children had touched it.

"Children were left in tears, ringing their parents to have their accounts topped up, but even this wasn't enough as they were then told it took time to register and sent them away again.'

Liverpool College on Queen's Drive, Liverpool, Merseyside.
Liverpool College on Queen's Drive, Liverpool, Merseyside. Picture: Google Maps

The parent, whose own children weren't affected but where shocked to see how their friends were allegedly treated said she understands that schools shouldn't have to deal with the debts but said she "couldn't help but think" there was a better way to communicate with parents.

She continued: "I cannot believe that any school would treat families like this particularly one which purports to have such high values.

"There are many families across the city who are struggling with the cost of living.

"Children having to call their parents telling them they need to top up in January must have been really embarrassing.'

Principal Mr Hans van Mourik Broekman denied that any pupil has or will ever go without lunch at the school.

He told outlet: 'No pupil at Liverpool College has ever or will ever go without a lunch.

"The College and its catering company partner do need to limit the amount currently owed by parents to our caterer as it is at unsustainable levels.

"We appreciate times are difficult and we will not see pupils go without a lunch.

"These policies have been explained in writing to parents and pupils, and the College has apologised for any upset caused by their introduction.'

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