FOX News: School Denies Autistic Boy Lunch Over Billing Issue

I was reading this on Fox News and can’t help but wonder of those would have happened to a NT child. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

All credit for this article goes to Fox News and the original article can be found at the link. School Denies Autistic Boy Lunch Over Billing Issue,

New York News | New York City Breaking News

The mother of a kindergarten student with autism is outraged because the boy was denied lunch at his New Jersey school due to a billing issue. reports that Sylvia and John Caravella say they received a note from Cliffwood Elementary School on Tuesday indicating that their five-year-old son, John Robert, did not receive lunch. The Caravellas admit they missed the payment for the first few days of lunch, but said that the school should not have withheld food.

David Healy, superintendent of the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, said the boy did have a snack and juice earlier that day, but admitted its not a practice of the district to deny food to any student.

“It’s an unfortunate oversight that since has been addressed,” Healy told

Healy, who has apologized to the Caravellas, said it was an isolated incident.

This was posted via WordPress for Android, courtesy of Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Please forgive any typos. I do know how to spell but auto-correct hate me.

Please join our Autism Help Forums

Look for “Autism Help” app at the Google Play Store

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Join The Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

most voted
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

 @lostandtired  @Ann1926
 Thank you for "getting" it. I will definately let them know and I can say for sure, they will appreciate it! Right now school district is NOT trying to make amends with the family which is just another failure….


@Ann1926 if they would like to share their story here, I will make that happen. The entire community will put pressure on the school.

If I can help, please let me know.


Hi, Mom of ASD child… the district that this happened. I also happen to know the parents of this sweet little boy. 1st let me say, NO child should EVER be denied food because of a billing "issue"! This is a new "policy" that was put in place by the superintendent and it makes his "apology" insulting. John and Sylvia are great parents that do everything possible for thier son! They own a business 7 minutes from the school, if anyone had told them that there was a problem with the account it would have been addressed immediately! No on called, sent an email or a notice home and the school fed JR for three days before this without any issue. MANY people failed this child but it was not his parents! A parent can't address an issue if they are not aware there is one! JR can't come home and tell them, the adults in the school are the parents conduit of all information– from how his day went, to breakthroughs on his ABLS to "hey, JR's account is running low". We parents of SN children know all too well how much it can take to just get our kids INTO the school in the morning, then the nagging feeling in the pit of our stomach for the next 6 hrs while they are there, and the insanity that can be our after school therapy runs, etc.  Lets be good to eachother and not knock a parent for not being perfect every second. BTW- our district's K program is FULL Day , although JR is in the Autism program which are all full day. Praying for all our children over here.


@Ann1926 thank you so much for speaking up. I've written several posts in support of these parents. I don't understand how the school can overlook something like this and how these parents can be so harshly judged.

Please let them know that they have my full support as well as the support of most of my readers. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Thank you again for reaching out.

Mothers little Gem

No lack of compassion here for the child. I said the child should have been fed. But I have a short fuse when parents get lax where there children are concerned. Children (and not only special needs children) should be a daily top priority – not only for the child's welfare but the lessons they learm from example. I will have to look up "arrogant". Maybe my expectations of parents it too high. Sorry! ! !


@Mothers little Gem @katmoody my point was that even the best parents in the world, when faced with raising a special needs child can "drop the ball" on some things because they have too much in their plate. That does not indicate laziness or irresponsibility.

Mothers little Gem

Someone should be looking at the negligence of the parents in this issue. The child should have been fed and the note sent letting the parent know that it would be the last unless THEY started paying their bills – or else keep the child at home until all is settled. I don't have much sympathy for parents who drop the ball. Not a good example for the children………………….


@Mothers little Gem. Wow. I don't really know what to say to that. Have you ever made a mistake? Are you a special needs parent? You say dropping the ball isn't a good example for the children, well neither is showing a complete lack of compassion and understanding.

Perhaps you didn't mean to come across that arrogant but you did.


@Mothers little Gem
 Either you are not a parent.  As a parent of both typical children and a special needs child, I can say everything is a priority.  There is not a parent who has forgotten something because of all the things that are a priority.  Our children are our priority so much so that we keep calenders to track things.  Now if you are parent who works and pays bills yet still manages to keep up with your child’s schedules and never forget to do something, then you are a rare person indeed; however, I am betting you aren’t a parent.


@NicholeNikkiLewis @Mothers little Gem amen


We've been behind before and they have still given our children lunch, one time they even let us run money in and drop it off at the office … I can't imagine not allowing a kindergartner to have lunch … very disturbing, irregardless of whether they are children with special needs or NT children. 


In our school district, children whose accounts are in the negative are fed regardless.  They may have fewer choices than other students that day, but they still receive a lunch.  I can't help but wonder if the media would have taken to this story if the child were NOT autistic.  As a parent of a child with autism,  I don't feel the autism diagnosis played a role in the school's error.  Our children don't wear their "labels" emblazoned across their chests.  And, as hard as cafeteria staff works at lunch times, I doubt they'd have the time to read them if they *were* there. 
Was it a lapse in good judgment?  Yes.  Will this cafeteria staff repeat the same mistake?  Probably not.


My school was required to give an all day student food. If they forgot there lunch or were behind on their account, there was no possible way to not give them food. (Im from CT)


@lostandtired – an oversize my a$$ this is nothing short of child neglect and abuse regardless of the circumstances. If the p'd off lunch lady can do that to a child see should be marked by child protective services and investigated. If they can do this to a child heaven knows what they do too their own… This is dispicable! – Mom to 2 ASD angels – Cape Town, South Africa


Pardon the typing errors it's the predictive text sorry!


It happens to both NT kids and SN kids. Parents are to blame here, looking at school policies and what not. If those parents knew they were behind they should have paid it or sent their son with lunch. There is no excuse for that ever. 


I would think the school notifies parents when they need to replenish lunch accounts. To deny a child food is RIDICULOUS! Especially a $2.00 school lunch. I have been guilty of getting behind on my kids accounts- and that is with reminders. In our district- a child can be up to $20 in arrears before they state they will withhold lunch. Parents are sent emails and called before it gets to that point. This poor boy. Why wasn't a parent or someone called so they could have brought him lunch? It makes me angry and sad. 


How could someone look a child in the eye and deny them food? That's just sick.


This is America people!!! Stop being cruel to our children!! We help every other country, but can't spare a lunch for our children. I cannot believe an adult didn't step up to help this child!! Outraged over such stupidity!!


@Elle5 thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂


First of all this child is in kindergarten. Secondly who denies a kid food. They are punishing the child for the parents oversight. Thirdly even our substandard public school gives a PBNJ sammich and milk. Hopefully this poor sweet kiddo isn't in all day kinder. The worst part is, is that many children in America suffer from hunger and poverty and go hungry. Often the only meals they get may be at school. That doesn't even begin to touch what many other people in the world endure


@JenniferWhynott that's a great point. Do you think this would have happened to a NT child. Who refuses to feed anyone that they could.

Mary Franzen Costell

Our school systems never deny food. PBJ and milk at least. This was some pissed off lunch lady or aide. A call for a cold lunch would also have been an option.


@Mary Franzen Costello I totally agree.