Richfield Public Schools in Minnesota has received more than $22,800 in donations as of Tuesday after a video surfaced of workers throwing away kids’ hot lunches if the students owed more than $15, according to CNN.
CNN reported that hundreds of people have donated in order to raise the thousands needed to pay off the students’ lunch debt. The original total debt was $19,669, according to the district.
Around 40 teenagers at Richfield High School owed lunch debt already — so the cafeteria staff threw away the hot lunches and gave them cold lunches instead. School leadership eventually stopped them, Richfield Public Schools told CNN last week. The school district also apologized in a Facebook post.
Passion Church promised to give $10,000 in donations over the next year, and the Philando Castile Relief Foundation also contacted the school district, according to CNN.
The incident was an embarrassment for the school district.
“A hot lunch should never be taken from a child,” Richfield Superintendent Steven Unowsky told local TV station KARE. “One of the things that we can do as adults is model failure with grace. We absolutely failed in this situation and our team is working to try and rectify the mistakes that we’ve made.”
Richfield senior Diamond Johnson recorded the video and sent it to CNN.
“It was happening right after one another. It was in front of everybody, so the whole thing was embarrassing to the students,” Johnson told CNN.
“The lunch lady that was standing at the computer took the took their food off their trays with her bare hands and put it in a bowl,” she added. “They later threw it away, and then the students had to get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”