Englewood schools threaten to report parents over lunch money debts

School officials are threatening to report parents whose children ate without paying at Bergen County school district cafeterias.

Englewood schools threaten to report parents over lunch money debts.

Englewood schools threaten to report parents over lunch money debts. (5/12/16)

ENGLEWOOD - School officials are threatening to report parents whose children ate without paying at Bergen County school district cafeterias.

Englewood school officials say that students ate without paying so often last year that the tab has grown to $100,000.

The cafeterias must serve lunch or breakfast even if the student doesn't have money on a given day. But officials say some students and parents are abusing the system.

Administrators say that several families qualify for free or reduced meals, but refuse to fill out the application.  

The board recently adopted a policy requiring officials to send two notices to parents before they are asked to attend a meeting over the debt. If they don't respond, the parents could be reported to the Division of Child Protective Services.

In a statement, Englewood School Board President George Garrisson says, “By the time it gets to our desk, there would have had to have been multiple attempts to contact and resolve the situation.  Contacting DYFS would absolutely be a last resort."

School officials also say that the privacy of those who sign up for free or reduced meals will be maintained.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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