$2.30 Doesn’t Buy As Much As It Used To, Especially At The Cliffwood Elementary School

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$2.30.  That was the cost of lunch. Rather than do the decent thing and give a developmentally-delayed kindergarten-aged boy his lunch and call his parents, Cliffwood Elementary School, his teachers, administrators and everyone else assigned to help this young man treated him like a number.  $2.30.  That’s probably what his teacher spent on coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks that morning.  Shame on you. 

I have these online lunch payments set up for my older sons; it sometimes takes 1-2 days to post a payment after it has been submitted, so a bill that was theoretically 4 days late is closer to being actually 1-2 days late.  Well by all means, let’s not feed the boy because his parents obviously don’t care enough to pay his bill on time.  (Sarcasm folks; I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.)  $2.30 is how much it costs to surrender your human decency it seems. 

It is okay (I guess) for Cliffwood Elementary, and schools in general, to ask each parent of each child to supply the school with pencils, pens, stick glue, tissues, hand sanitizer, various art supplies and other necessities of the classroom.  But I guess their line in the sand is to refuse to provide the literal free lunch for a child with communication issues and Autism.  What is wrong with this picture?  The teacher, principal and school superintendant David Healy should have had the decency to admit their mistakes and personally apologize to these parents and their son.  The parents were decent enough to spare the teacher’s and principal’s names from appearing in the article despite their appalling behavior; they were too kind in my opinion, but they still have to deal with these incompetents so their tact is understandable. 

$2.30.  It doesn’t buy what it used to.  It is the going rate for losing one’s decency.  Shame on you, Cliffwood Elementary School and Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District!  -Ed

Autistic NJ 5-Year-Old Denied School Lunch Because His Parents Were Days Late On Bill

 John Robert

John Robert Caravella just started the special autism program a Clifwood Elementary School.

The parents of a 5-year-old autistic boy say his New Jersey elementary school refused to serve him a $2.30 lunch because they were a few days late paying the bill for his meal plan.

Instead, kindergartener John Robert Caravella was given mini-muffins and sent home Tuesday with a note from his teacher at Cliffwood Elementary School in Cliffwood, N.J., simply saying “John Robert was not able to get lunch today he ate his muffins. There is an issue with an outstanding bill.”

John Robert’s mother, Silvia Caravella, said the casual tone of the note, attached to a daily progress report, left her in shock.

“I couln’t comprehend it. I kept re-reading it, thinking maybe I’m missing something here,” she told the Daily News.

“I mean, where is the human decency factor?”

The bill for four days of meals for the new school year amounted to about $8, and Carvealla admits she and her husband John had been confused about the payment program. She says they quickly went online to add money to John Robert’s account.


Silvia and John Caravella said their 5-year-old son John Robert, who has autism, was denied lunch at his school in New Jersey because of a billing issue.

But Caravella was also determined to get an answer as to why school officials would withhold a $2 lunch from a child. John Robert is in school from 9:00 a.m. until almost 4:00 p.m., she said, and because he is autistic, he struggles to communicate.


A note was sent home casually saying the young boy wasn’t fed during the day.“I emailed the teacher, the principal and the superintendent,” Caravella said.

“The teacher wrote back saying now that our payment had been made,

it wouldn’t happen again. We were expecting a note apologizing, explaining. Instead she just confirmed it.”

The distraught mother also said she and her husband “work in this town. They could have picked up the phone.”

This is John Robert’s first year at Cliffwood Elementary, though he has been enrolled in the district for two years.  His parents skipped an open house night Wednesday because they are still frustrated over the incident and what they call the “dismissive” response.


Silvia and John Caravella skipped an open house because they were so frustrated over the decision to deny their son lunch.

The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District has told the family the incident was an oversight.

The district’s superintendent, David Healy, did not immediately respond to the Daily News’ request for comment.

“We just have to now figure out how to move forward,” Caravella said.


Silvia and John Caravella said they weren’t called the day John Robert went without lunch. “We work in this town, ” his mom said.



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