Chicago Students Boycott Free School Lunches – Say It’s Worse Than Prison Food
The students started a boycott this week of the school lunch program.
Of course, teachers are proud of the kids for learning how to community organize.
95% of students at the school qualify for free lunches – And they want it made from scratch.
Rotten pears, burned pizza, and fat-filled chicken patties and burgers. Those are just some of the unappetizing, often unhealthy lunch items being served to teens at Roosevelt High School on Chicago’s Northwest Side—and some of the students have had enough. Starting Wednesday, they plan to boycott the gross cafeteria food, and they have launched a petition demanding that lunch offerings be improved.
The effort, called “The School Lunch Project: Culinary Denial,” was created in November by civics students at the school. They hope to educate the public about the problem with the food they are being served and mobilize the 1,400 students at Roosevelt to stand up for better nutrition.
“I think it’s especially important for young people in Chicago—where we see so much corruption, cronyism, and nepotism—that they learn how to make change within large organizations,” Tim Meegan, a veteran social studies teacher at Roosevelt who supports the student-led effort, told WBEZ on Monday. “This is just one of many diverse tactics that we are trying to teach young people so they are fully equipped to participate as citizens in a democratic society.
The school serves a student body that’s 94 percent minority—predominantly Latino and black—and mostly low-income. A full 95 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch—which, given the school-to-prison pipeline, makes one observation the students made about the offerings from food service provider Aramark particularly problematic.
“Today, our lunch at Roosevelt is no better than the ones in Cook County prison. In fact Aramark is the food service provider for both institutions,” wrote the student activists on the project’s website. Chicago Public Schools partnered with Philadelphia-based Aramark two years ago when the district, like several others across the nation, shifted to offering free meals to all students at most campuses.
Hat Tip Jeff