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Administrator Demoted Due to School Lunch Scandal

Susan Fortin was suspended for five days without pay and loses her job as an assistant principal at Coelho Middle School. She will be reassigned as a teacher.

Coelho Middle School's assistant principal has lost her title due to her alleged role in the school lunch scandal that gained national attention , according to The Sun Chronicle. The newspaper reported  Attleboro school district Superintendent Pia Durkin released a statement saying Susan Fortin was suspended five days without pay and will be reassigned as a teacher.

Attleboro made national headlines earlier this month when it was revealed 35 to 45 students who had insufficient funds in their accounts were denied lunch or forced to throw their food away. Whitsons Culinary Group, the private company contracted to provide food service for the school district, fired four employees in the aftermath of the scandal. Whitsons and the school district say the practice is not to deny food to students with insufficient accounts.

Parents, including one who spoke at a recent school committee meeting, said Fortin made an announcement during lunch saying students with insufficient account balances would not receive meals.  

Terese Bohaxiu-Dicastiglione April 24, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Did you miss the whole issue about the fact that there is no way for the parents to get an accounting or a balance of their children's accounts from the system they are forced to use? I do not blame the parents in this case. On the other hand, I will say that when my child was in middle school in another town, there was an informal fund of money in the office from which kids who forgot their day's lunch money could borrow for the day and then repay the next day. There were several kids who were wise to the system and always borrowed and never repaid. I think their parents had to be notified of their kid's behavior because the fund was depleted by their irresponsible actions. I think the parents were told that the child never had money for lunch and to please remedy the situation, because the student would have no lunch from then on if no money. That was an extreme case of the kid either having the money and not spending it, or being irresponsible in forgetting all the time.
deb of see-attleboro April 24, 2013 at 07:37 PM
I agree, Terese. This system is rigged against the parents and favors the vendor. Parents are expected to load up the account and the kids can spend the money any way they see fit. Not a good situation, IMO. Parents need to be put back in the pilot's seat and the school needs to be the "wing man".
Richard Davis April 25, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Oh please you parents have no clue. There are two parties to blame. The company administering the credit with the parents. The parents should have received formal notification that their accounts were due. And the parents.should always make sure that their children have money for lunch. You send your child to school using a credit plan and take no responsibility for ensuring your account is up to date. Are you kidding me? Total stupidity and lack of responsibility. Schools have to take too much responsibility for the bad parenting that goes on in this day. Sue Fortin is a terrific educator and administrator. The school system is lucky to have her and the teachers will atest to it. The Superintendent should be shamed for letting Sue take the brunt of this poor policy handling.
Jeanne Dyer April 29, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Sue Fortin was promoted because of a body of work that set her apart as an exemplary leader. On one afternoon she judged that what she was being told was true and beyond question and as a consequence 35 to 40 students and their parents believe themselves to be grievously victimized. She has paid for that afternoon's decision with her job as an administrator, instead of with progressive discipline given the lack of policy. Let's move on and let her return to making the kind of contributions that preceded her promotion, for surely they will follow. Those of us who know her have no doubts.
J Kelly May 10, 2013 at 04:10 PM
What I get sick and tired of is people who make silly statements regarding an administrator's decision. What she did was wrong! If she was unclear on her responsibilities regarding the private vendor, then it was her responsibility in her role to check with the principal and/or superintendent prior to making such a decision. Stop defending a "professional" (?), who completely disregarded the well being of the students she is paid to serve! She is very lucky she has a job at all.

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