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Calls for investigation after kindergartner denied school lunch

September 13, 2012 12:49:03 PM PDT
Assemblyman Jason O'Donnell has called for a formal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the five-year-old non-verbal, autistic child from Matawan who was denied school lunch.

As Eyewitness News, first reported John Robert Caravella was in just his fourth day at Cliffwood Elementary School in Matawan when he was left without lunch and made to sit and watch other children eat due to a miscommunication between the school and his parents over the $2 per day lunch fee.

"Regardless of the reason, it is outrageous that a five-year-old child was forced to go hungry for an entire day," O'Donnell said. "While it is inexcusable for any child in our public schools to sit through a lunch period watching others eat while having been denied a meal, this particular case is even more appalling. This student was a nonverbal autistic child who couldn't possibly even begin to defend himself. The school staff had an obligation to look out for this child."

O'Donnell wants an investigation into the matter to be conducted by the New Jersey Department of Education.

John Robert's parents acknowledge they didn't fully understand Cliffwood Elementary School's payment system and that their lunch account was in the red.

Matawan's School Superintendent said this has never happened before and it will never happen again, but O'Donnell says he believes the investigation is necessary.

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