Parents: Son Forced to Eat Lunch Out of Trash

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ORANGE, Calif. (KTLA) — The parents of a 7-year-old boy are angry after they say a teacher at his school forced him to eat his lunch out of a garbage can.

armando-picRenee Medrano says she was forced to pull her son Armando out of his second-grade class at Orange Fletcher Elementary School.

She says that a teacher there — who was actually Armando’s kindergarten teacher — forced her son to eat his food out of a garbage can.

“It made me feel sad becasue I didn’t know if it would make me sick or anything,” Armando told KTLA.

Renee says that Armando is a picky eater. He didn’t like his cafeteria fajitas on January 25, so he threw them away.

According to Renee, a teacher there then took Armando’s food out of the trash and ordered him to eat it.

“At the end I still just threw it away,” Armando said.

Renee says she met with the teacher, who admitted what she had done.

“She was real defensive,” Renee recalled. “She said she just worried about, you know, that he wasn’t going to eat enough.”

“She said that because the trash can had a clean liner that she didn’t think it was a big deal.”

The embarrassment from the incident now has Armando at a new school and a bit further from his friends.

KTLA’s calls to the school district, the school’s principal and the teacher were not answered on Tuesday.

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  • Janitor

    All the other teachers better quit before they're accused of something too. It's an epidemic and half the accusations are true.

    • Lsteel

      This is yet another example of people bringing their complaint to the public so that–well, I'm not sure what's supposed to happen. But I notice lately that a news story isn't real unless it's video-ed. So these parents decided to make their son's situation more _real_.

  • Fajita Savior

    You know that kid caused an issue… not to mention he could miss a meal or two, another example of frivolous lawsuits!!

    • guest

      What lawsuit? The story as reported did not say the parents were suing. It did not say he was getting free lunches, either. It also didn't say why he is a "picky eater." There are some legitimate reasons for that. Do you always eat everything you are served when you eat out? Get a life. Learn to read… and to think. At best the teacher was teaching poor health habits. Sure she was worried that he wasn't getting enough to eat! Some teachers don't know how to think, either.

    • supportArmando

      Seriously? He could miss a meal or two? Who are you to judge his weight? The article says NOTHING about a lawsuit, and forcing a child to eat is as bad as not feeding them at all!

  • Jim Hawkins

    You didn’t mention that his parents moved him to another school partly because of previous bullying. From OCRegister story.

  • Anonymous

    I work in a school & I cannot tell you how much FREE GOVERNMENT FOOD is thrown out by students EVRY DAY!!!! That mother needs to take the monthly school lunch menu and decide with her spoiled child what food he does NOT like to eat during that month & pack a lunch for him on those days instead on accepting the “free” food he does not like!! Then she needs to go on the internet and show him where the starving children in our United States live, and explain to him how much they would have loved to eat the food he threw in the trash!! Parents today defend their kids way too much! My parents would have said to the teacher, “Thank you!”

    • Anonymous

      I've also worked for the public school system and completely agree. At one point a group of kids wanted to collect the estimated 150 (prepackaged) salads and fruits discarded daily and bring them to a food bank, but the district denied their request citing liability. (cowards) This is a real and ongoing problem. Of coarse if this same mother found out that her child wasn't eating his lunch, I'm sure she would have tried to stir up a fuss about that as well. Why does KTLA pander to this kind of nonsense?

    • onemom

      Absolutely agree !! First kids don't know how to eat and the because parents don't teach them. Second another thing they don't know is that food is not to be thrown away and this too because parents don't teach them. To the mom… pack your picky kid what he would eat

    • $&!@

      We have a standing rule in our house..u must try it before you say you don't like it. And if they say one night I don't like that mom…and they have eaten it before….DO NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING ELSE!!! And I agree why is this getting so much attention….I guarantee this kid has picked something up off the floor or ground and eaten it!! Why not focus on the people going hungry everyday and people just turn there back or worry about liability!! smh

    • cat

      kids eat when they're hungry and often not on a 3 x a day schedule–my friend's son is a snacker like his dad and he's in great health so if this kid wasn't hungry fine; if he didn't like the food (most kids aren't fond of onions to begin with, then let him wait until the next meal — or hand him an apple to hold him over.

    • Guest

      where does it say the mother doesnt pay for this meal? If she is paying then whats it to you? If she is not paying and the student didnt want to eat why did the school make him get a tray?

  • anonymus

    Question? Was this a free or reduced cost lunch? We the tax payers pay for those. Parent get a paper menu for the month and it can be viewed on line. Read it! If your child is a picky eater, stop being lazy and look at the menu. Or heaven forbid make his lunch! You know what he’ll eat and won’t eat. Sill and sad.

    • Walter B.

      Here in New York they started by giving poor kids free breakfasts and lunches. Yeah, paid for by the taxpayers. And then they decided it singled out the poor kids and made them feel bad so they started offering ALL the students free breakfasts and lunches. Absolutely insane. Why are our schools failing? Uh, maybe because somebody turned them into RESTAURANTS?

    • mmart19633

      if it's LAUSD, they are offering Free school meals, breakfast and lunch. they arent offering the reduced cost meals, since the meals are free….

  • Sta18

    Are we that desperate for news that we have to make this a story! Why do we give this parent a forum for a frivolous lawsuit! Stories like this make me wonder why I watch this news channel. Would it not be more of a service to the community to report on children who have to go into dumpsters each day to eat, and would be happy to have a chicken fajita nicely wrapped and placed in a clean trash can.

  • Worried Mommy

    Sorry But I don't feel a child should eat anything they don't like. What if the child had a food allergy? And that's why he didn't eat it. I have heard of this happening at my daughters school and I spoke to the school principal about it and they stated they don't force child to eat anything they don't want. But again school officials lie until there blue in the face, from personal experience. My child is to call me the second something like this happens. No one cares for your child like a mommy or daddy does.

    • take responsibility

      I agree with above. Shools provide a lunch menu. You/she need to look at this menu and pack a lunch if the menu is one the student does not like. Take some responsibility. This is especially true if it is a free lunch program.Maybe the parents should be charged for the food the kids waste.

    • Anonymus

      Chances are you're diligent about checking the menu and sending food that your child will eat. (Hopefully your children are learning to expand their palates.) This is not extraordinary, most parents do, especially if that child has a food allergy. The difference between your way of parenting and most other parents' is they agree that nutrition is required during their child's day and expect that their children eat their lunch. Elementary age children, in general, will often make the choice to go and play instead of eating (if allowed). I feel confident that this has been an ongoing problem with this particular child. Eating his fajita probably did him more good in more ways than one. Unfortunately, any good was undone by his mother. If you really care for your child as "a mommy or daddy" (and not a buddy) you would plan and prepare (or prepare for) your child's nutrition and expect them to eat their lunch.

    • Key Wester

      Wow major helicopter mom. Nothing in this news item about any allergies. Just that the kid is a "picky" eater. You seriously want your kids to call you any time they are served something they don't like?

  • Gil Gamesh

    When was the last time you ate, or even looked at a school lunch? They are DISGUSTING. LAUSD is serving prison quality food to your children. Do them a favor, a pack a lunch.

  • Chris

    When we were growing up we never threw out a meal as this child did. If you could not eat something you asked the teacher to be excused. Also, we paid for the lunch, so our parents would be pretty upset if we were wasting food. The real issue here is the lack of parenting at home. The child should be receiving a punishment for wasting food instead of being coddled. The parents are opportunists hoping to get a big payday out of what should be a non-issue.

    • GetReal

      What a crock. Kids threw out food all the time, veggies they didn't like, meat they didn't want. Half the brought from home sandwiches ended up in the trash, two bites without crust and the rest tossed. When my kids were in elementary school, they were forced to take items from each section, a main item which was usually a burrito, piece of pizza, chicken nuggets etc., a fruit, a salad or carrot sticks and a milk. They were not allowed to leave without a selection from each, whether they wanted it or not. Now they are in high school and have the choice of what to actually take. Sure they eat a bag of chips for lunch some days, so what, if they were hungry they would eat. Some days they get the veggie sandwich because the lunch meat used on the meat sandwiches is so slimy. When I was a kid the lunches were actually cooked at the school, used to watch them make the rolls from scratch each morning. Now even the milk comes in bags, not cartons. I've gone to parent invites to school lunches, I wouldn't eat most of what is offered and don't expect my kids to.

      • GUEST


  • Tee

    He is in Second grade, the teacher just happened to be the one who taught him in kindergarten. Anyways, I personally think kids these days are way too picky and ungrateful, that is why if my 6 and 4 year olds don’t like what they are served, then they don’t eat. They’re learning. But still, it isn’t the teachers responsibility to parent to that extent. Her intentions were right though. Maybe mom will pack his lunches from now on.

    • mmart19633

      im the same way w my 5 yr old, if she doesnt like what i make, then she doesnt eat. my mom on the other hand spoils her, lol. luckily though, my kid isnt like other kids that like junk food. she actually likes fruits & veggies, and tries to get those in her meals as much as possible. so i dont complain too much, since she likes to eat healthy

  • Rockina2

    Free food from the school???? That's a laugh!!! First off it is not free! Do you think it just falls down from the heavens cooked and ready to eat? The schools buy the food with money from our taxes. That and to even call it food is way off!

    If this teacher was really "concerned" she would have given him a fresh plate. Giving him the plate from the trash was intended as punishment. How could you see it as anything else? It is his decision to eat or not. Not hers. Would she be happy if a restaurant took dinner rolls or bread not eaten from another table and gave it to her to eat? They were in a clean basket right?

    • Olympia

      So, you're expecting a 7 year-old to make rational decisions concerning his diet, right? Fresh plate? He SHOULD be punished for wasting food like that….great or not.

  • calisbest

    You people on here should have to eat those school lunches. And what makes you think they are free anyway? I give my son 5 bucks a day for food, sometimes he uses it, sometimes he doesn't. It's his choice.

    • anonymous

      Elementary school lunches are free for those that qualify. In my school it's a HUGE percentage! And of course, not really free..we pay taxes for their free lunches. Just to the parent, who has several children and walks them to school in their pajamas, it's free.

      • Guest

        Still who says that the parent does not pay for his lunch? I have NEVER recieved a free lunch and if I forgot my money I went hungery (nobody cared then… why now?)

  • fredsrocket

    This isn't news this kid doesn't care about throwing food away because neither he or his parents are paying for it. Plus he could do without for a while!!!!!!!

    • lisa

      really, you are sinking low to talk about the childs size.. i bet you were a bully in school grow up the issue isnt the little boys size

  • Original OG

    He can miss a little more meals if you ask me, so I guess there going to hire the one only lawyer to sue the school. Hispanics alway try to get something for nothing.

    • Big J

      You are one special kind of idiot, aren't you?
      If you really think this type of public humilation is a great way to deal with KIDS, then serve it up to your OWN CHILDREN.
      Then about 10-15 years from now, after they've lost their minds, you can tell us how well it's working for you.
      As for this "Hispanics always try to get something" for nothing comment, I'm guesiing your mom must of told you that…From her pole ridding days I'm guessing.

      • lisa

        yeah he is a special kind of idiot.. probably a bully in school when he was younger , and obviously a racist too Hope he doesnt have any children … we dont need more like him

  • Guest

    Fat lazy poor excuse of a mother..if the spoiled brat be picky then pack his lunch!

    I always packed my children's lunches. I had too since they had particular allergies to certain foods. By packing their lunch I knew they would eat and also, the quality. : )

  • faztyu

    uptil I looked at the check of $8637, I did not believe …that…my brother was realie receiving money in their spare time at their computer.. there great aunt had bean doing this for under ten months and as of now repayed the depts on there condo and purchased a great Chrysler. I went here,

  • Janet

    Is this school district serious……first of all who the heck do they think they are to force a child to eat…….it is NOT their business if my child eats or not…..secondly, out of the trash what was that teacher thinking……I think the parents are being way to nice……I would have not only let the news know but I would be in an attorney's office the second they decided they dont deserve an apology………..but more important why would I have to transfer my child when this teacher and principal should have been suspended and transferred and I hope that these parents dont let this be pushed under the carpet I would never let it be

  • alicia harvie

    y'all should be ashamed of yourselves posting comments about how u think this child should go without a meal in ur opinion. Ever thought he has a food allergy or something? think before you speak

    • duh

      If he had a food allergy he wouldn't have been served the food in the first place! DUH!!! The child is just spoiled and the parents are making it worse by making this an issue! If more parents would raise their parents right we wouldn't be having these issues! Pack him a lunch is he doesn't like it STOP whining, when he is made to eat his lunch. If he didn't eat, I'm sure that same parent would have fussed for the school no feeding their child and letting him starve! WAH Wah wah!!! Anything to get money out of others! grow up!!!

      • Getreal

        Only if the school knew about the allergy. We had a child that ran out of prepaid lunch card, parents didn't send a lunch, he was in kindergarten or 1st grade kept forgetting to tell his parents he needed more money. School gave him the standard pbj free lunch for this situation, kid was allergic to peanuts, luckily didn't die. Whole school district banned peanut butter, up to and including trying to deny kids bringing pbj from home. This kid either didn't like or wasn't hungry. Teacher was over the top, maybe there were previous issues with kid coming home claiming being hungry and parents complained to school – KTLA doesn't work very hard at getting all pertinent details in a story, just the sensational ones.

  • Rukiddingme?

    What is more harmful for a minor child in LA/OC: Eating a wrapped lunch from out of the trash that is better than what 500 million+ other children worldwide will each today for lunch; or, the parents putting the child on local TV to talk about eating the lunch that the 500 million+ other children did not get?

  • Kelly Doke

    Listen up folks. This is the result of a lack of self-accountability. This child is the result of his surroundings. Dad is portly, Mom is a chubby chaser's dream- nutrition doesn't seem to be paramount in that house. The fajita was wrapped. People eat food from supermarket dumpsters all the time. The teacher was wrong in her action- that might have been fine when she was conducting duck and cover drills, but not now. If that kid thinks those Fajitas are bad, he should try the ones from an MRE, sitting in a bunker in the Helmand province. Suddenly bland food from an Orange County school doesn't seem so bad!