The Problem With School Lunches

James Tomb, Matt Farber, and Romy Cowan

Sun butter Sandwich
Taken by Matt Farber, shows the sun butter sandwiches given out to students, which were barely eaten.

There is a widespread agreement amongst the students at Hall High School that the school lunches are not currently sufficing their needs. Coming back from the Covid filled 2020-2021 school year, there was much uncertainty with how the school would handle the lunches. Through the hybrid school year, lunch bags were handed out at the end of the day to those who wanted it. This year, as the school returned to its normal 8-period schedule, lunches are served for free throughout the lunch periods. Students know that school lunches are not five-star meals, especially now that they are free, but students do expect to be fully nourished and have the energy to carry them through the rest of the day. Hall High School is a school flourishing with student-athletes, many of whom eat the school lunches. Addison O’Connell, a junior Goalie for the Field Hockey and Lacrosse team has expressed her widely acknowledged concerns about the school lunch, explaining that one serving typically cannot keep her going through practice, let alone the rest of the school day.

We can all agree that it’s terrific that Hall offers free lunch this school year, allowing students who may not be able to afford eating lunch every day is a privilege. However, many students believe it doesn’t matter if the food being handed out is free if it’s barely eaten. Joe Dooley, a senior currently attending Hall High expressed his consistent disgust with the school lunches, saying “every once in a while the lunch can be good, but almost every time it’s gross and I don’t eat it.” It’s not just the lunches that students are regularly upset about, it’s also the apples and pears being served with the lunch. “Most of the apples are painted with bruises and holes, and the pears are sometimes hard as a rock.” Day after day, students are forced to scour through trays of apples to find one with no bruises, and have to pray that the pear they were given is up to par in the same manner.

This leads us to the big question: what is the reason for all of this? Well, in 2010, Michelle Obama launched a movement dubbed “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act”. In theory, this was a splendid idea. School lunches would be taken to the next level, and provide a nutritious and delicious meal for students.

Taken by James Tomb, portrays another uneaten school lunch, apparently because the pasta was “inedible.”

This worked in many schools, however, the funding was not completely adequate, so the food did not live up to its expectations. Students now aren’t getting enough energy and calories from their food, and often, due to the poor quality of the food, students will refuse to eat. The small proportions and poor nutritional value leads students to take second portions, and in some cases, thirds. This is a burden on the Lunch Staff, as they must then compensate for the lost food and work harder. In conclusion, the lives of both students and staff would be much more fluent and practical if lunches were more nutritious and delicious. The Lunch Staff would not have to overcompensate, and students would perform at optimal levels.