Rivermont Schools Roanoke Southeast parents upset over ‘miscommunication’ from school lunch letter

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Many parents count on schools to provide lunches, but parents of kids at Rivermont School Roanoke Southeast got a letter saying the school would no longer provide lunches starting Monday. School administration is saying it’s a disconnect and miscommunication.

Parents told WDBJ7 they were upset about the lack of communication from the school regarding whether lunches were going to be provided to their children with special needs. After the school’s principal sent the letter at the end of last week, the school sent another letter at 4 p.m. Monday saying an option of catered lunch would be available to students.

Letter sent to parents saying lunches would not be provided.
Letter sent to parents saying lunches would not be provided.(Tabatha Catalan)
Parents received this letter after the original letter over the weekend.
Parents received this letter after the original letter over the weekend.(Tabatha Catalan)

“Here’s this generic letter, we’re not providing lunch but we’ll have snacks,” parent Stephanie Manus said. “Like, that’s not enough.”

Some parents, like Stephanie, didn’t receive the original letter before school started Monday because they were out of town.

“That’s when phone calls need to go out,” Manus said. “That’s when you need to make sure that you physically spoke to a parent.”

Another parent explained phone calls did go out Monday morning, but only after a picture of the letter was shared multiple times on social media.

“When I found out that a couple of the other parents did not receive it, that I do know with their children going here,” Tabatha Catalan said. “I was like, how many more kids’ parents did not get this letter so they know to send their kids with food to school the next day? So I posted it.”

Parents explained the school has been providing lunches for years, and those lunches are important for lower income households.

“We know that our kids go to school during the day that they will get one or two meals at school,” Manus said. “So those families that are strictly budgeted and special needs families most of the time, like mine, are living on disability.”

Without a phone call before school started and a letter saying no meals will be provided, some parents were left scrambling.

“The majority of these families are now like, what do I do? Because I can’t afford that,” Manus said.

WDBJ7 called Rivermont school officials multiple times Monday to try and get more information about where the miscommunication came from. Officials did not provide further comment.

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