A Utah girl said she was humiliated when she was served pizza from a trash can at school, but cafeteria workers insist they misunderstood her needs as a diabetic.
Sierra Prince, an eight-grader at Pleasant Grove Junior High School, said she had been given insulin Wednesday on the assumption that she would eat pizza for lunch.
But she arrived late to lunch and found cafeteria workers cleaning up, reported KSTU-TV.
The teen, who also has a learning disability, said she explained that she needed to eat pizza due to the insulin dosage, and so cafeteria workers pulled some food from the trash and served it to her.
“I didn’t want to eat it, but I was dosed for pizza anyway because I’m diabetic, so I had to eat it,” Sierra said, adding that she “didn’t like the taste of it at all.”
The girl’s mother complained to school officials, who blamed the situation on a misunderstanding but placed the lunch manager on administrative leave.
A spokeswoman for the Alpine School District said the lunch manager was told Sierra had received insulin 15 minutes earlier, in a dosage based on the carbohydrate count for pizza.
“Her not knowing the particulars thought that was the only thing she could have and therefore made a poor decision,” said spokeswoman Kimberly Bird.
Nicole Cordova, the teen’s mother, said cafeteria staffers should have contacted her for guidance instead of serving her daughter pizza from the trash.
“They should have called me and said, ‘Hey, guess what? Sierra is late to lunch. We’re out of pizza. We’re sorry. What can we do to make up these 30 [carbohydrates] that she’s been dosed for?” Cordova said.
An aide who was helping Sierra will undergo training on diabetes management, and the lunch manager’s status remains undetermined.
“We want to give due process to our employee as well and make sure that we are getting her side of the story,” Bird said.
Cordova said she will meet with an attorney and school officials to discuss the case.
“I want them to apologize to my daughter, I want them to make her feel better,” she said. “It didn’t happen to me, I’m just her voice, I’m just her mom.”
The family will consider sending Sierra to another school district if the issue cannot be resolved.
Watch this video report posted online by KSTU-TV: