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  1. Education

Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

A sophomore at University High School in Volusia County was denied lunch on her first day of school Tuesday because she owed 15 cents, according to WKMG in Orlando.

The girl's mother, Kimberly Aiken, told WKMG a cashier in the school's lunchroom threw away her daughter's tray of food after she said she didn't have 15 cents to pay a negative balance on her account.

Aiken said her daughter did not eat the rest of the school day.

"She puts her food on the tray, gets to the front, gives her number to the cashier, and she says, 'Well, you owe 15 cents,' " Aiken told WKMG. "My daughter said she didn't have any money, so the cashier took her food."

READ MORE: Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Aiken said she signed up for the free and reduced-cost lunch program, but it had not taken effect by Tuesday. She said the 15-cent deficit in her account must have been carried over from last year.

When asked if denying Aiken's daughter food because of a slight funds shortage was standard procedure, Volusia County Public Schools spokesman Roger Edgcomb said: "The school is always willing to work with students and families as needed. The school will be contacting the family directly to help resolve this issue."

Aiken told WKMG her daughter brought a quarter to school on Wednesday to make up for the shortage, resolving the issue.

"You want to make sure that your kids are coming to school, and they're going to be taken care of," Aiken said. "We already have all of the scary things happening, but the one thing you don't want them to worry about is are they going to be able to eat when they go to lunch."

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