Victim ‘shocked’ school secretary stole lunch money card from child

One of the victims of an elementary school secretary accused of stealing students' lunch money cards expressed shock over the ordeal.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 7:26 PM CST
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McMINNVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - One of the victims of an elementary school secretary accused of stealing students’ lunch money cards spoke to WSMV4 Thursday, expressing her shock over the ordeal.

Stacy Johnson said her first grade son was one of two students who allegedly had their P-EBT cards taken by Hickory Creek Elementary School secretary Ruthann McInnis.

McMinnville Police said McInnis used the card to buy more than $700 in groceries over several months.

“I was very shocked that it was her, and just very disappointed that someone would steal from a child,” Johnson said. “I just feel that she shouldn’t be able to be in that position or work around children when she could do something like steal from a child.”

Warren County Schools said McInnis has been suspended pending an investigation.

Short for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, P-EBT cards are federally funded COVID relief benefits that qualified families can use for free or discounted school meals. They can also be used to buy groceries.

After waiting months for her P-EBT card, Johnson became suspicious.

“(McInnis) had told me that she did not receive any cards, that the school was not receiving them anymore and that they would be mailed to our house or that we weren’t getting one,” Johnson said. “I went ahead and called the P-EBT customer service and thought it got lost or they just didn’t send one yet and they informed me that it had been sent, and all the funds had been used.”

McMinnville Police arrested McInnis last month, charging her with two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. She used more than $400 to buy groceries from a second student’s card, according to police.

Investigators said since her arrest two more families have come forward with similar stories, but they haven’t said if the cases are related.