KING AND QUEEN COUNTY, Va. -- The Food Services Coordinator for King and Queen County Schools was suspended two weeks ago, but parents and students said cafeteria staff at King and Queen Central High School continue to serve charred food. Parent Beth Paulette contacted WTVR CBS 6 after her sons showed her pictures of burnt pizzas and ribs on Monday.
"They're awful," Paulette said about the pictures, adding that her “two boys are coming home daily with migraines because they can’t eat what’s on their plates at school.”
Precious Jackson, who is in ninth grade at the school, confirmed their story.
"It looked so unappetizing I could not bring myself to try it at all," Jackson said.
Doctor Stanley Jones, Superintendent of King and Queen County Schools, said he was out of town, but spoke to WTVR CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit over the phone.
"Would you want the children here eating food that looked like that or being served food that looked like that?" Hipolit asked Jones.
"Of course not," Jones replies.
Jones admitted there is a problem and confirmed the head of food services for the entire school system was suspended a couple of weeks ago, but declined to comment further citing personnel matters.
"If an employee is suspended, generally, it's going to be related to performance," Jones said.
But, we talked to that suspended employee, Suzanne Gilbertson, and she said none of this is her fault.
"My cafeteria employees have always been told if you're not going to eat it don't serve it to the students," Gilbertson said.
Gilbertson said the superintendent put someone in charge of the cafeteria at the high school a few months ago, and she said that person is not properly trained. She also said several emails she showed us revealed that she reached out to Dr. Jones about the issue, but she was told she did not have any authority over the new manager.
"I was advised that these employees, they do not report to me, as they report to human resources and the superintendent," Gilbertson said.
Dr. Jones said he expected his food services employees to work together as a team, and, if they did, “this issue would not exist.”
He also said he would address the overcooked food with his cafeteria staff “immediately.”