FLORENCE, Mass. (WWLP) - School lunch can be chaotic and stressful. Students ask themselves questions like: "where should I sit," "what should I eat," and "will anyone notice that I get free lunch?" These are issues that 16 year-old Payton Spinney had to deal with at South Hadley High School.
She said she was bullied and shoved in the lunchroom because of the brightly-colored free lunch card she had to carry.
"If you don't fit into a certain wealth class, they will basically treat you like garbage," Spinney said.
Her mother, Jennifer Kalvinak, told 22News that there is a class war at South Hadley High School, and the free lunch cards only make it worse.
At all of Northampton's public schools, however, students can just scan their student ID card, punch in their ID number, or if they forgot all of those, the server can just look them up in the computer.
It's a totally anonymous system where you cannot tell the child has free lunch, reduced lunch or paid lunch.
None of the students use cash, which they say speeds up the line and creates a more equal environment for the students.
"That's the way it should be. No one should be labeled. That sounds really obnoxious the other way," Maurine Sutter of Northampton said.
South Hadley School Superintendent Gus Sayer told 22News that South Hadley High School will be getting an electronic lunch system before the next school year, but if students want to pay with cash, they will still be able to.
An electronic system like the one Northampton has costs thousands of dollars, so that may not be an expense all school systems can afford. But, everyone at JFK Middle School told us they love how easy it makes lunch.