CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools is apologizing to a Chicago mother and her two young sons, ages 5 and 6, after they were denied breakfast because they came to schools wearing the wrong kind of shoes.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.
The Nicholson brothers only grab a quick snack before heading to class because they qualify for a full free breakfast at Adam Powell Grade School. It’s something they look forward to every day, and it hurt when they were recently turned away.
They were wearing black athletic shoes. The boys told their mom that the assistant principal, Angela Peagler wouldn’t let them eat because their shoes didn’t fit the school uniform, which calls for a regular black dress shoe.
“I felt sad. We’re always supposed to have breakfast,” first-grader Noah Nicholson says.
Noah and his brother Niko, who is in kindergarten, went to class hungry and didn’t eat until lunch.
“It hasn’t been a problem all this time and all of a sudden they can’t have breakfast because of their shoes,” Kahlia Edwards, the boys’ mother, says.
Edwards says the boys have been wearing the shoes all year and administrators never complained. She’s confused.
The boy’s great aunt is livid.
“I don’t care if they had on orange shoes, they were in line to eat,” Robin Price says. “I’m not going to feed you because you have the wrong shoes? Shoes? No, no.”
CBS 2 tried to ask both the assistant principal and Principal Derek Jordan to explain what happened. They wouldn’t. However, a manager at the CPS regional office spoke with reporter Tucker.
Area 17 Management Support Director Darryl Earl says Peagler told him she thought the boys had returned to the breakfast but he acknowledged she was wrong.
“Regardless of what shoes they were wearing, obviously the children should have been allowed the opportunity to merge into breakfast,” he says.
Monday afternoon, the principal and the assistant principal apologized to the boys and their mother.
They went on to explain that they were reacting to an increase in students violating the school dress code. The principal even offered to buy the boys new black shoes.
But here’s the kicker: The school’s dress code does not say the shoes have to be black dress shoes.
The boys’ mother says the principal obviously needs to make the rules clearer.