Mom furious after student with special needs served lunch from trash

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PLEASANT GROVE, Utah  -- A Utah mother is furious with staff at the city's junior high school after she said they fed her daughter lunch out of a trash can.

Sierra Prince is a student with special needs in the eight-grade at Pleasant Grove Junior High School. While Wednesday was only her second day at school, she already isn't looking forward to her third day.

"I don't even know if I want to go to school tomorrow at all," Prince said.

KSTU reports that Prince said when she asked for a piece of pizza for lunch on Wednesday afternoon, she was told there was none left. However, after insisting she wanted pizza, a second kitchen employee pulled out what was left from the top of a trash can.


"I didn't really like the taste of it at all," Prince said. "It was nasty."

A diabetic with learning disabilities, Prince explained she felt she had to listen to her school appointed aid and the staff.

"I didn't want to eat it, but I was dosed for pizza anyway because I'm diabetic. So, I had to eat it," Prince explained.

The decision by the school isn't sitting well with Prince's mother, who learned about the incident when her daughter returned from school.

"How could that happen to a child? What adult makes that decision?" Nicole Cordoba asked. "It's common sense: We don't eat out of trash cans."

After Cordoba complained to the Alpine School District on Wednesday afternoon, the district's Nutrition Services Director sent an email to school employees. Cordoba gave KSTU a copy.

"This was totally unacceptable," the director said in part. "Your employee needs a reprimand and a discipline warning issued immediately. We never serve food that has been placed in a garbage can."

According to a school district spokesman, a lunch manager has been placed on administrative leave, as a result of what happened. The district plans to investigate the incident further.


"Sierra can't make her own decisions on what she eats," Cordoba said. "That's why they hired the helper. Not only one person made the decision for Sierra to eat out of the trash, three adults did."

Cordoba has a meeting scheduled with the junior high's principal and other district employees on Thursday afternoon.



  • Luv Life!

    How horrible! That cafeteria worker should be fired! That is inexcusable! Special needs children should not be treated as if they are second class citizens! This should never happen again!

    • chrysrey

      Amen am extremely upset at this. I was almost in tears. How could anybody working with kids be so insensitive….

  • angel2

    Her school appointed aide let this happen? At least two adults need to be fired, if this is the way it occurred.

  • Patti Smogor

    I totally agree, the people who did this to this little girl need to be fired. There is absolutely NO excuse to feed someone out of the trash can.

  • Lee Ann Bettis

    The members of the kitchen should be made to eat out of the trash then on top of that fire them for making that girl eat out of the trash

  • MamaBear

    If my child had diabetes I’d pack her lunch every day. Problem solved. When will these parents step up and be responsible for their children? This situation shouldn’t have happened. No one will be fired. The public school system doesn’t care about the children, only the revenue they get for these children.

    • SW1

      Your comment is ignorant! So it’s the parents fault they tried feeding her food from the trash? Get real! I have a child with food allergies and I know that I cannot always be there for her. I dread sending her to public school because of these types of situations. It’s called common sense.

    • P Becker

      I agree if my child was diabetic, I would pack her a lunch because I would not trust the school to get it right- they have too many kids to deal with. On the other hand- I agree that the people responsible for the reprehensible act need to be fired.

  • kat

    Well I also have an autistic child with food allergies. I pack his lunch everyday. I think that while this situation is reprehensible, we have created an environment where schools are so afraid of telling children no (because of their parents), that they caved and gave the child the pizza she insisted on having. The way I read this story, she simply did not take no for an answer. It would help, perhaps, if the parent provided some clarity on the dietary restrictions/needs to the staff and school as well as took some ownership over her daughters condition and played a more active role. Again, it is reprehensible that a child was given food out of the trash, but in a world where public school workers are constantly threatened and screamed at by children who have no respect for adults, and are not empowered to curtail their behavior by administration or parents (who actually encourage the lack of respect for adults) I can see how a powerless cafeteria worker let this happen.

  • Susan

    This aid and the other 2 that made the decision to pull this piece of pizza andhave this child eat it knew this was wrong. They would not eat it themselves nor would they feed this to their own family. All three need to be fired but not untill they admit publically to the child what they did. But they will not get fired because there STUPID UNION will protect them when they do STUPID things to YOUR children and your tax dollars will support there actions. When people do something so wrong like this Union or not the school board has to have the authority to over ride these union contracts !

  • krista

    To a degree, I agree with mommabear. Something about this seems sketchy. Was there absolutely no other food choice other than pizza? Is it normal to take medicine for diabetes prior to food service particularly when you can’t guarantee the a availability of the food item for which you have already medicated? Bringing a lunch from home could better guarantee desired health results. This still doesn’t excuse pulling food items from a trash can to feed a child…

  • chrysrey

    I am extremely upset at this. I was almost in tears. How could anybody working with kids be so insensitive….

  • jul

    she has a disability, she can make decisions for herself… why does she need three adults making them for her? what will she do when someone tells her no in real life? unreal… she can go home and recount it to her Mom, but she cant say no?… sounds fishy

  • lt

    she wanted pizza and got pizza and didn’t get sick. what’s the big deal? It was a judgement call by the cafe worker. who are we to judge their decision. Lots of homeless/poor/thrifty people eat out of dumpters in America and live another day too.

  • Debirag

    There is no excuse for this at our public schools. If there was no pizza then something else not out of the trash can.

  • Rickenhouse

    THis has me heated how dare them to feed a child from the trash can. THey should be served out the trash bc they are all trash to treat any child in this manor. A repremand is not enough and leave is too good for these ppl bc they are still getting paid. FIRE them immediately.. Nothing else needs to be done. She may not be able to chose but she would not lie about being feed from the garbage can.

  • BO

    It was right of top and had only been there 5 minutes.It was still good as long as you did’nt know where it came from.

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