Council Hears Testimony From Students Over Gross School Meals

Students are speaking out against the gross school meals they are given, as education officials pledge to make changes.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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There are so many problems with public education in America, that it’s getting to be too many to count. Parental rights, transparency, controversial curriculums, and possible indoctrination are a few to name, but there is so much more. Even school meals are becoming a major issue, and not just because of how the federal government is now ending free meal programs for kids. In many districts, parents and students complain about the lack of nutrients in school lunches. And in New York City, some school lunches are said to be so gross, that students took to the city council to voice their concerns. 

The New York Post reports that school meals are so gross in some NYC schools, that students won’t even touch them, and simply throw them right in the trash. This doesn’t even seem to be a simple case of picky eaters, after listening to some of the testimony given by a group of students who took the matter straight to city council. Seeming to take the students’ side, many education leaders are now pledging to make changes to the food found in schools. 

One student testified that she has been given stale, spoiled food on numerous occasions. Oftentimes, she says her hot meals are served undercooked. Other than being served grotesque school meals, she also is concerned with the lack of nutrients, saying that she has been served a mere sandwich with no other sides. 

Repulsive school meals aren’t the only issues the district food department was met with when the students addressed city council. Additionally, many students reported that they are unable to eat the meals served to them because they go against religious restrictions. In the melting pot of NYC, many students cannot eat meats, such as pork, and some live off of a vegetarian diet altogether. And with Judaism being a major religion of NYC residents, consumed food must be kosher by their standards.

One anonymous student at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education has been documenting their school meals this year, which education officials discussed at the meeting. One day, the user posted that she was served a frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwich alongside one tiny stalk of celery and an apple. In another, she posted what is supposed to be Mac and cheese, but looks more like vomit with a side roll. She captioned that it tasted as bad as it looked. 

Officials vowed to look into the issue, and the Office of Food and Nutrition also made note of “room for improvement.” Christopher Tricarico, the senior executive director of the department, said he and his colleagues plan to make changes to the school meal lineup next year. When asked what else could be done, he suggested that more staff step into the cafeteria to get students to eat lunch by way of example. 

For one of the richest countries in the world, it is embarrassing to many how meager and gross school meals are for countless students across the nation. But given falling school budgets on top of the already pressed food supply chains in the country, it will be interesting to see if school officials can truly make headway or not next year in the cafeteria. Given the fact that for some children, school meals are the only source of nutrition they receive during the day, the situation is dire for many.