(Sun Chronicle) As many as 25 students at Coelho Middle School were denied meals or told to throw their lunches away Tuesday because they could not pay or their pre-paid accounts did not contain enough money, school officials said today.

Parents said some of the children cried after they were not allowed to eat or had to toss out their lunches.

School officials said an on-site employee from Whitson’s, the school system’s school lunch provider, apparently gave the order not to extend meals to students who could not pay or whose credit was already overextended.

A Whitson’s spokeswoman apologized today for the incident.

Superintendent Pia Durkin said school officials were not informed of the policy and that the principal did not find out until late Tuesday afternoon.

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