Four teachers have resigned from North Joshua Primary School after forcing students, who had meals to take home, to use their school lunch card to get food from the cafeteria and then give it to some teachers, the school district said in a social media statement.
The Joshua Independent School District said this year its students have the option of free lunches through the National School Lunch Program to help families affected by COVID-19 or food insecurity. Four teachers have admitted abusing the scheme by telling students with packed lunches to use their lunch cards, skip the queue and get a free lunch for staff members.
“This practice occurred consistently throughout the school year and was captured on district security cameras,” Joshua told ISD. “The teachers then voluntarily and of their own volition admitted to this behavior and resigned from their jobs. Not a single teacher chose to fight a possible dismissal, but again he admitted his guilt and voluntarily resigned.
The school district released its statement to dispel rumors that the staff members had been terminated.
“The District denies all inflammatory allegations and any suggestion that the District has taken any action contrary to federal or state law. These claims are baseless and entirely baseless,” the statement read, adding that “there is more to this.”
After meeting with affected staff members, the school district is also considering future legal action.
“While many in the community said the students were doing ‘an act of kindness’ and it was a mistake that shouldn’t merit job separation, it doesn’t,” said Joshua ISD. “Receiving free federal meals to which one is not entitled is fraudulent behavior, an abuse of official capacity and theft of federal funds, resulting in criminal penalties.”
The school district added that the incident may cause it to lose federal funding beyond the lunch program, and that the superintendent will report to the State Board of Educator Certification due to evidence of educators who “illegally transferred, appropriated or spent school property or funds. .”
“Joshua ISD assures his community that no student is to blame for this matter, only staff members,” the statement read.