KANSAS CITY, Kan. — At a school where a teacher says too many kids go hungry, hundreds of pounds of unopened food are being thrown away in a dumpster each week.
“I’ve been teaching here for 10 years and it’s a pretty common practice for a student to come in asking if I have anything to eat,” said Paul Richardson, a summer school teacher at Schlagle High School.
Richardson noticed something disturbing Monday morning as he was glancing out his window.
“It was shocking to me that there’s a pile of non-perishable food at the bottom of the dumpster,” said Richardson.
He used his cell phone to shoot video as he witnessed cafeteria members dumping leftover food from the ‘Breakfast in the Classroom’ program, a nationwide program that gives students a meal when they come to school.
“We are required to provide food for every child in the classroom, even if they tell us in advance that they’re not going to eat,” said David Smith, Chief of Staff for Kansas City, Kan. Public Schools.
According to Smith, the school cannot take back or redistribute food once it leaves control of the nutritional service and staff. In order to get the grant that supplies the food, regulations stipulate that they must toss it once it has been distributed.
“We think it makes a big difference for kids, and it’s a shame that it gets portrayed as something that’s not doing a good job, because it is,” added Smith.
He says if the regulations were different, they would do something with the food that isn’t eaten, but legally they don’t have an option.
“Ultimately the intention behind feeding kids in the morning is a good thing,” said Richardson, “It’s just this peculiar policy of throwing extra food away.”
Richardson says he wanted to share the video of the food-dumping so that everyone can help come up with a solution.
“There’s a better way to do this,” Richardson added. “There are far too many food pantries, churches, shelters; there’s something better to do with the food than to throw it away.”
FOX 4 reached out to the State Department of Agriculture to see why the regulations are the way they are, but had not received a response Wednesday evening.