updated 3/3/2008 11:39:39 AM ET 2008-03-03T16:39:39

Twenty-nine New Jersey students punished with two-day detentions after they used pennies to pay for their $2 lunches are getting a pardon.

Readington, N.J., school Superintendent Jorden Schiff informed parents in an e-mail Sunday that he has rescinded the after-school detentions. They will only be restored if parents ask that their children serve them.

Officials say a group of middle school students upset by their shortened lunch period paid for their meals with pennies Thursday. Schiff gave them detentions for slowing down the lunch line and disrespecting cafeteria workers.

In his e-mail, Schiff said the students described their actions as a prank and that news reports inaccurately called it a protest.

Several parents had complained the punishment was too harsh, but though some thought it too lenient.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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