Jefferson Sharpnack told his grandmother, Diane Bailey, that he had been denied the lunch trough when he went to check. Instead of getting the cheese he had chosen, he was given a slice of cheese and bread by lunch staff at Green Elementary School in Uniontown, Ohio.
It all happened on his ninth birthday, to other students in the lunch line, for $ 9 a debt, according to Bailey.
Green Local Schools confirmed to CNN that the incident had occurred and that Jefferson had received an alternative lunch that was given to students with deficit accounts. Lunch consisted of a cheese sandwich, a side item and milk.
"In my opinion, he owes nothing," Bailey said. "We owe money, parents, the school district."
Jefferson's story is shared on social media and through local news, prompting school officials to re-evaluate their policies. On Monday, the head of Green Local Schools notified parents that all students would already receive a standard lunch, regardless of their account balance.
"We are sensitive to the financial hardship of families and the challenges presented by the cost of school breakfasts and lunches," Jeff Miller said in the letter.
"Our staff, in coordination with family support professionals, will continue to work with families to ensure that they have access to all available resources to support the purchase of school meals."
The USDA strongly discourages "lunch suppression" as a refusal to feed children when eating fees are not paid.