School district responds after girl with special needs served lunch from trash

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PLEASANT GROVE, Utah – An eighth grade student with special needs said she feels too humiliated to return to school after she was served lunch from a trash can, and now school officials are offering further details about the incident and the steps they have taken in response.

Sierra Prince attends Pleasant Grove Junior High School, and earlier this week she was served pizza from the trash after she arrived late for lunch. Sierra and her mother spoke to FOX 13 News Wednesday about the incident, click here for their comments.

Thursday, officials with the Alpine School District said two lunch employees and an aide were involved in the decision to give Sierra pizza from the trash.

Kimberly Bird, Alpine School District Spokeswoman, said because Sierra has diabetes, there was some uncertainty among the staff regarding what she could be served at lunch time. Sierra had been given insulin on the assumption she would be having pizza for lunch, but, by the time she arrived, staff were already cleaning up after lunch.

“In this particular case, the lunch manager, not understanding everything, was told that pizza was what her insulin--that she had just received 15 minutes earlier, the [carbohydrate] count was for pizza,” Bird said. “And her not knowing the particulars thought that was the only thing she could have and therefore made a poor decision.”

Nicole Cordova, Sierra’s mother, said the staff should have contacted her instead of serving Sierra from the trash.

She said: “They should have called me and said, ‘Hey, guess what? Sierra is late to lunch. We're out of pizza. We’re sorry. What can we do to make up these 30 [carbohydrates] that she’s been dosed for?”

The lunch manager has been placed on administrative leave, and the aide who is helping Sierra will be undergoing training regarding the issue. Bird said they are still looking into the incident.

“We want to give due process to our employee as well and make sure that we are getting her side of the story,” Bird said.

Cordova said she is talking with an attorney to determine if her daughter's rights were violated and is meeting with school leaders Thursday. She said she wants things made right.

“I want them to apologize to my daughter, I want them to make her feel better,” she said. “It didn’t happen to me, I'm just her voice, I'm just her mom.”

The family said Sierra has been spending more time at home and feels embarrassed about returning to school.

"If she doesn't want to go  back to that school, we may have to change school districts for her," Cordova said.


  • MarieLynn Schlenker

    first, check the school video cameras inside the lunchroom… videos tell the whole truth.
    second, why did the aid get her to lunch so late?
    third, special need students always come to the lunch room earlier than the rest of the student body so they can receive the extra help if needed,
    there has to be more to this story than what is being reported

    • Kellie

      Actually a child with diabetes would need to have their blood sugar checked before the meal, then have the dose calculated and then she would have received insulin. Also, if she was running a low blood sugar they would have to have treated the low before she could be dosed and eat. So there is a strong possibility there were factors that would have made her late.

  • mosquito

    Wow, you just get dumber and dumber.

    The LDS Church operates one of the world’s largest charities, feeding hundreds of thousands of people. I’d bet real money that you do NOTHING. And what this story has to do with “Mormons” is completely beyond my imagination. Is your hate really that overwhelming, or are you just trolling?

  • mosquito

    Fox13, your comment boards are a joke. Thoroughly unprofessional, and a poor reflection upon YOU, as an organization. Either take it seriously, or shut it down altogether. This isn’t even a news outlet. It’s a hate site.

  • Deb

    It would seem having her picture plastered all over the online newspaper and on tv would humiliate her even more…..come on mom use some common sense…..this needs to be addressed but not at the expense of your daughters privacy!

    • Kristie Eskelson'Reid

      I agree Like spreading her face all over the media isn’t gonna harm her more MOM…..”MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL’…………….sacrifice your daughter for monetary gain…………..shameless ……..the fact that you have already spoke to an attorney speak’s volume’s …..your daughter will grow up and understand why you further embarrassed her……

  • Darrel

    What does LDS have to do with feeding this girl from the trash can. I’m LDS an proud of it. But you will not hear me talking bad about other religions. Some people have no brains they just open their mouth an let let it fly. With no idea what their talking about.

  • Kendra

    Fox13, you should be ashamed! You are not reporting all the facts. You are just trying to get hits on your site. This story is not as sensational as you are leading people to believe. It’s not like they dug through the trash and found a piece of leftover pizza and gave it to her. There was a pizza box with pizza still in it that was placed on top of the garbage can. The pizza was untouched. It was not down inside the can. It was sitting on top of other empty pizza boxes. This is really a non-issue. Yes, I’m sure there are rules about something like this, per the Health Department. But, the employee thought she was doing the right thing. The mother should be ashamed. SHE is the one exploiting her daughter, and you, Fox13, are picking and choosing facts as it suits you! You shouldn’t have to rely on your readers to fill in the blanks for your ridiculous “reporting.”

    • dave

      i wasnt there so i cant say what the real situation was but when i imagined the situation thats what i imagined too. i still dont think it was best but that being the situation if i thought that not getting the pizza could cause real problems for this girl than… well if it were me it dosnt bother me to pull a pizza box from off the top of the garbage (especially if it was just thrown in there a short time ago and eat the pizza.

      the gross factor here is not logical its emotional (if the garbage was just pizza boxes). chances are the pizza never left the box and nothing in the garbage touched the pizza.

      people are not naturally messed up or broken (but sometimes they can make bad decisions) that means chances are the person who pulled the pizza out thought it through and believed the pizza was very important to getting the medicine to work right and was safe to eat.

    • Dawn Breidenbach

      The law is the law and once the food was near the garbage can and out of the serving area, it is no longer edible. Really, blaming the mother for her daughter being abused by a school employee is a giant leap. The employees are trained in food safety in order to work at the school. Or at least they’re supposed to be. If anyone fed my child trash, that’s exactly what they would be eating for at least the next 30 days. Maybe even longer.

  • Get your facts straight

    Fox 13 completely reported this story wrong and even after hearing the side of the school, refuses to report the real facts! She isn’t even a “special needs” student with an aide! She was escorted down to the lunchroom with a tracker not an aide. Why is she even eating pizza when she has diabetes? Isn’t that like one of the worst things you can eat with that? Her mom is clearly trying to exploit her daughter and will say anything to do it.

    • Lauren

      Actually a child with type 1 can eat the same foods as any other child. As long as they are dosed for the correct carbohydrates. Any and every child needs to eat squared meals filled with proteins, fats, fruits, and vegetables regardless of being diagnosed with diabetes or not. As for the school, I don’t know the reason but she should have been to lunch well before they were cleaning up especially because of the concern of running out of food or throwing it away after already being dosed.

      • outraged

        Thanks Lauren. People who have no idea about type 1 are the most negitive people on here. The aid made the child late

    • Ariana

      That is completely true! I have had diabetes since I was 1 year old so I know this is unjust. Before you make ignorant comments such as this, get your facts right. Diabetics can eat pizza. Special needs can mean any disease. Just because she did not have an aid dosent mean she is not a special need person. LIke I said before, know what your talking about before you comment.

    • Ally Bryant

      “Why is she even eating pizza when she has diabetes? Isn’t that like one of the worst things you can eat with that?” Hahaha seriously what an uneducated, ignorant person you are. Us type 1 diabetics can eat virtually anything as long as we are counting the carbohydrates and giving the correct units of insulin. I believe you are talking about TYPE 2 diabetes.

    • T1D Mom

      Really? And why can’t someone with Diabetes eat Pizza? My son has T1D and he as well as friends kids have Pizza..It seems like you need to really educate yourself, people with T1D can EAT ANYTHING as long as they cover the carbs with insulin..My son is not on any special diet, he lives a normal life, there are some downfalls but FOOD isn’t one of them..

  • Christy

    Ok first of all i don’t know where you people went to school but where I did they didn’t order the pizza takeout so I’d say there was no pizza box. If it was in the trash it wasn’t laying in a pizza box the way you think it was it could have been laying on anything so don’t assume it was just like at home when you weren’t there. Second of all i wouldn’t want my son eating out of a garbage can anywhere especially a school would any of you? Consider it was your child with a medical condition would you want that? They could have given her something with enough carbs to equal what they gave her for the pizza had they not gotten her to lunch late. Or if they had kept up with the fact that she needed it and was supposed to have it obviously before they threw it away.

    • Misty

      All or most of the schools in Alpine School District serve their pizza from pizza boxes. So yes, it was sitting in a box on top of everything. I’m not saying what they did was right, but that’s how they serve their pizza. In boxes. Regular, cardboard boxes.

  • Jay

    One of the dumber statements I have read in my life. Try to stay on subject and keep you personal bias out of it.

  • Me

    As someone who works in the health industry, works with people with disabilities and as a mom I CANT believe that some people even defends those adults involved in this horror !!!!!! If an adult doesn’t know that this was not the rite thing to do that person shouldn’t be in charge of making desitions. Our obligation is to serve and protect the kids and specially those with special needs…….. This have no justification !!!!!!

  • Dawn

    Her “special need” is diabetes. She was most likely late to lunch because she was in the nurses office checking her blood sugar and getting insulin. This is the typical protocol.

  • aj

    I’d sue the school and put my daughter in a different school or television her out let someone do this tou daughter it wouldn’t be pretty

  • b

    This school should be shut down, they serve a child pizza that was in the box on top of the trash is uncalled for, ain’t no telling what else the cafeteria has done. But serving a child pizza out the trash is unacceptable!!!

  • hellorolo

    If the food was perfectly good, then it shouldn’t have been in the trash in the first place. It should be given out for late lunch at a homeless shelter or anything else. What is wrong with these people running the school cafeterias? Humanity people!

  • Concerned

    You know what? Worse things happen at schools every day. There are millions of kids who would LOVE to have been served that slice of pizza. It was sitting in the pizza box on top of everything (not down in the trash can, not buried with other trash; it was in the box, at the top). Sorry if your child was given food that got near other food that had been thrown out, but for goodness’ sake, it’s not something that requires the media’s attention in order to address! Ridiculous.

    She claims her daughter was humiliated- I don’t buy it. She was late for lunch, the other kids were busy eating. It’s not like the whole school saw what happened. At most, MAYBE 5 other kids did. Maybe. But now that the mom got the media involved, sharing her daughter’s name and face across the Internet, everyone and their lunch lady knows about it. Even if she HAD been humiliated, the answer isn’t “Run away like a coward to another school and sue the district like a ravenous money-monger!”, it’s “Stay there and face the issue head on. Life’s hard- this is good practice.”

    Let me be clear- kids shouldn’t have to eat out of the trash. But guess what? Bad/inconvenient/inconsiderate things happen sometimes; even to your kids. Get over it, and help them to deal with it appropriately. You don’t need an attorney, you don’t need Fox to share your side of the story (and only yours) so you can feel justified in your actions, and you don’t need to teach your daughter that it’s okay to a) run away from her problems and b) hire an attorney to get you money you don’t deserve because a bad thing happened.

  • The Lie

    Don’t forget Obama! And Bush probably had something to do with this, too! And I’m not ignoring Jim Carey….I KNOW he was in on it. Him and the Canadians…

  • sass

    This smells like a KFC scam to me-if Mom is sooo worried about the child being embarrassed-maybe we shouldnt plaster it all over Fox news- looks like they could all benefit from some healthy eating and excersise–and a little less ignorance

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