14/08/2014 12:50 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Boy, 11, Refused School Lunch Because Family Owed £1.75

Boy refused school lunch because family owed £1.75

A dad has taken both of his children out of a primary school after one was refused lunch because the family owed just £1.75.

Gary Lynn, who has also resigned as a governor at Hayes Primary School in Paignton, Devon, said his 11-year-old-son, Jacob, was in tears after being refused the meal and said he was made to feel like Oliver Twist.

The school said its kitchen staff were 'abiding by the rules'.

Mr Lynn accused the school of creating a policy which 'looks at using a child as a weapon in case any parent dares to default on a single day's payment'.

He said: "When he was expecting to get served he was told he wouldn't be allowed a meal. He burst into tears.

"He went to sit down and one of the mealtime assistants brought over an apple because she felt sorry for him.

"I was completely outraged. I hadn't had any teacher come to tell me there was an issue. I found it horrific."

Sean Hindle, business manager at the academy-status school, said in an internal response: "The kitchen were abiding by school rules.

"They normally phone parents to let them know that their account doesn't have any money, and that their child won't get a lunch that day unless the account is credited."

Mr Lynn said: "I hold my hand up. I usually put £10 on at a time. That's my fault. But for them to take that course of action with my son seems incredible."

He added he was searching for an alternative school for Jacob and his other son, Harrison, eight.

Hayes Primary School said it regretted the distress the incident caused.

A statement released by the school's governors said the rule was introduced to prevent 'significant numbers of previous occurrences of late payments and bad debts on school meals'.

It added: "Mr and Mrs Lynn were notified on three occasions prior to the mealtime of interest that their debt was due and that their son would not receive a meal if the debt remained unpaid."

The school said while it regretted the distress the incident had caused, it was 'disappointed that it has been portrayed by this parent to have been fully responsible for withholding a meal from him'.