Fallout continues from PA school district who threatened to give kids to foster care over lunch debts

By  | 

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. (WBRE/CNN) - The fallout continues from a letter sent by a Pennsylvania school district to parents who owed lunch money debts.

The letter indicated parents who didn't pay the outstanding amounts could lose their children to foster care.

Wyoming Valley West School Board District Solicitor Charles Coslett is now out of a job. But he said he didn’t write the letter or sign it, and said he is being used as a scapegoat.

Coslett said he wants to set the record straight. He admitted he consulted with district officials about the contents of the letter and offered up legal options available to them regarding delinquent lunch bills.

One of those options was to take parents to dependency court, which could lead to their child being sent to foster homes of they did not make good on the bills.

Coslett contended that comments by the vice-president of the school board - Dave Usavage - fanned the flames of controversy.

“The only thing that was missing was when are we going to put them in cages and send them to Mexico. I was a little concerned with that. I really was. That was ... that was harsh, I thought it was harsh ... the letter," Usavage said.

“The reckless statements of one board member that he thought this was like putting kids in cages is ... typical of the remarks I would expect from that board member ... totally irresponsible,” Coslett said.

But Usavage said it was Coslett that was reckless, and he denies playing politics to force him out.

“I refuse to get into a debate with someone whose only connection to the district is the fact that he is an alumnus. I would match my reputation as a teacher and a board member with Coslett’s reputation any day or night of the year,” Usavage said.

“... I just came from my internist he said you’re under a lot of stress right now and I am.. this too shall pass. My faith will carry me though,” Coslett said

He said despite his hard exterior, he is only human.

“I’ve made mistakes. Who hasn’t? I thank God for the opportunity that was presented for five years. ... God will make this right,” Coslett said.

District officials were asked why, if Coslett wrote the letter, it would have been signed by someone else, but they did not provide a response.

Copyright 2019 WBRE via CNN. All rights reserved.