RAEFORD, N.C. - A school lunch controversy in North Carolina is getting national attention.
A grandmother claims a state agent took away a homemade turkey sandwich, saying it wasn't nutritious and didn't meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. The girl's meal was then replaced with fried food.
The grandmother of a 5-year-old pre-kindergarten student at West Hoke Elementary has asked to remain anonymous. She said a few weeks ago that a state agent inspected her granddaughter's lunch and forced her to eat chicken nuggets from the school's cafeteria.
The woman said the lunch consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich on white bread, potato chips, a banana and apple juice. The student also brought home a bill for the cost of the school lunch she had to eat instead.
"It is very healthy. She had her dairy, she had her protein and she had her grains," the grandmother said.
School officials agreed the lunch was healthy, but said it was missing milk, which is considered a key part of a healthy meal under state guidelines.
"We are not the lunchbag police. But if we observe that a child who has brought their lunch is missing one of the key components of the healthy meal, we simply say, if it's milk, here's some milk, you may have it," Bob Barnes with Hoke County Schools said. "she went through and got a school meal. She didn't have to do that."
Barnes said there was likely a misunderstanding between the child and staff.