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Mom: Chula Vista school refused lunch drop-off for son

Posted at 4:46 PM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 21:32:55-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A Chula Vista mom says she was left holding the bag when her son's school wouldn't let her drop of her his lunch, which was needed for medical reasons.

Adriana Escodbedo says the fruit, veggies, and turkey sandwich she packed for her 13-year-old son Danny on Thursday served a purpose. Early that morning, he was at the hospital getting an injection for a medical condition. Though he had some food afterward, his lunch period at Eastlake Middle School wasn't for another six hours.

"It's recommended they have something in their stomachs if they're getting injected with this medication," said Escobedo.

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After Escobedo dropped him off at school, she discovered that Danny - for the first time ever - left his lunch in the car. Hours later, she went back to the school to drop it off and went to the main office.

"I let the two women in the office know that he took medication that day," said Escobedo.

Escobedo say she wasn't allowed to drop off the lunch, but could set up an account in the cafeteria. Escobedo declined, as Danny has food sensitivities.

"As a mom, I just felt so frustrated. Are you kidding me? I can't give my son his lunch?" said Escobedo.

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Escobedo was determined to deliver her lunch. She checked her son out of the school, walked off campus, handed him the lunch, and then checked him back into the school.

10News reached out to the Sweetwater Union High School District. A spokesperson says the policy is spelled out in the school handbook.

The years-old policy came about because too many lunch drop-offs ended up sapping school resources and creating concerns about food spoilage. The district says there are exceptions - including medical reasons - but in this case, Escobedo didn't bring up the health issues, which she says is not true.

She says staff should be trained to know the policy and any exceptions.

"As a mom you just want to do what's best for your child," said Escobedo.

The district spokesperson tells 10News:

"the front office staff will make an exception based on the situation and only on a limited basis ... the staff members who spoke with the parent said that they offered to call the student out of class so that they could give the student their lunch. The parent did not seem pleased with the responses she was being given and left. Had the parent asked for more clarification, or asked to speak with a school administrator, we could have very easily resolved this matter. Our staff also said that the parent made no mention of health/dietary issues, because again, this would have enabled staff to make an exception in this case.

Nutrition is vital to student success which is why we offer a variety of options and all of them healthy and meet state nutritional guidelines. Even if a student does not have an active account, our school never deny a student a meal and the meals we provide would be the same as for a student with an active account ... If parents do have a medical/dietary concern, we ask that they let us know. A meeting with either the school nurse or one of our assistant principals establishes this and we can go forward in a positive way."