Friday, September 17, 2021

Chicago school lunch boycott sends a message


Students in Timothy Meegan’s five civics classes at Roosevelt High School on the Northwest Side of Chicago are taking a stand against the poor quality and taste of school lunches they’re being served, the Chicago Tribune and the Huffington Post report.

The project’s website is a WordPress blog (school website)

In one of the photos the group of students posted, I can identify a carton of chocolate milk but none of the other “food” items, which are provided by Philadelphia-based Aramark, pursuant to a contract the company has with the Chicago Public Schools to provide meal service for students.

“We would welcome the chance to meet with the students and their teacher to hear from them directly and to explain how school lunch works under the USDA program,” the Tribune quoted Karen Cutler, a vice president of communications at Aramark, as writing in a statement. “We’re confident that we can resolve any issue by everyone listening and talking to one another constructively and look forward to that opportunity.”

But Mr Meegan said he didn’t see the point in that, the paper noted. The boycott is intended to force Aramark to improve the quality of school lunches served at the school, since the company receives no money if students don’t eat the lunches as a result of their boycott.

The group has established a website, here, and has set up a small Instagram page and latched onto the overused Twitter hashtag #LetsBeHeard.

If they find the situation unresolved, it may be time to start plotting a few solutions. Perhaps it’s time to pursue options with local restaurants, who might be able to offer volume discounts, or farm-to-school programs that will benefit local growers and farmers instead of corporations that make billions of dollars by skimping on quality like this. Another option could be, since students at Roosevelt probably aren’t allowed to bring outside food into the school, an open-campus policy for lunch.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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