Dozens of American parents were warned that their children could be taken from them and placed in foster care if they didn’ t settle the kids ’ school meal debts .
An education board in Pennsylvania sent a threatening letter to 40 families whose children owed $ 10 or more .
“ Your child has been sent to school every day without money and without a breakfast and/ or lunch , ” it said , according to US media reports .
“ This is a failure to provide your child with proper nutrition and you can be sent to Dependency Court for neglecting your child ’ s right to food .
“If you are taken to Dependency Court , the result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care , ” the letter added .
Joseph Mazur , president of the Wyoming Valley West School District , told NPR that families owed the education authority around $ 22, 000 in dues for breakfast and lunch .
He said the district had repeatedly tried to remind parents through emails, mail , phone calls and calls by agents but to no avail.
“ I think you have to pay your bills , ” he said , defending the letter .
“ I mean sometimes you have to do without something for yourself if you want to raise your kids and see that they ’ re taken care of , ” Mazur added .
The area in a former coal mining community is one of the poorest districts in the state .
Mazur said the school authority did not deprive any of the children of food and that the letter had worked , with many parents stumping up the cash.
The letter sparked a wave of indignation , however .
“ No child should imagine the horror of being removed from his parents because of economic hardship .
These letters were indelicate and should never have been sent, ” Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey wrote on Twitter .
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