New cafeteria rules frustrate students



Cravin' some Craisins? The cafeteria serves up some new rules to comply with federal regulations.

Jackie Perelman, Staff writer

Lunch starts and students flood the cafeteria. They walk towards the cashier, preparing to start the juggling act of taking and holding three sides along with their main meal. By the end of lunch the trash bins and unwanted side bucket are the ones holding most of those sides.

Requiring every student to take three sides along with their lunch might seem like a minor change, but many students seem frustrated with this new development.

According to cafeteria manager Bonnie Hatz, last year’s audit found some of the food in the cafeteria not compliant with new government legislation.

“We had to get rid of the coffee and the snacks because everything has to have less sodium and sugar,” Hatz said.

The cafeteria had to make changes or risk losing government funding.

Some of these changes have barely been noticed by students, but the fact that coffee is no longer being served has sparked some agitation from students.

Junior Michael Zimmerman was especially frustrated.

“The coffee seems a little ridiculous because there are a lot of people who rely on it to get through the day, and it does not necessarily have that much of a negative health impact,” Zimmerman said.

However, the change that has definitely caught students’ attention is the fact that every student is now required to take three sides along with their meal.

According to Assistant Headmaster Hal Mason, this is the biggest change made at the cafeteria this year. He said that making students take the sides is a condition of receiving funding.

“The whole reason they have to do that is because the federal government provides subsidies for schools to provide food, so they subsidize the cost of the food but in order to do that they require students take the sides. It’s a condition of getting the money,” Mason said.

After students buy their meal and take the required three sides, they have the option to throw them in the unwanted side bucket in case they do not want to eat the sides.

“If someone is definitely not going to eat the sides, then there is a chance for them to put them down. If 20 percent of the kids who go through the cafeteria say, ‘I am not gonna eat the goldfish or the apple’ and they put it in the bucket then it’s gonna make a big pile. Still, that’s a lot of kids that are now taking the food and eating it so it makes a big difference,” said Mason.

According to Hatz the side options are decided by the government and she believes that the majority of them go into the trash.

Freshman Ifunanyaife Richardson thinks taking three sides is unnecessary.

“I think it’s annoying,” Richardson said. “I think the taxpayers shouldn’t pay for something that is unwanted because it is a waste of money and time to get it.”

Richardson is not very inclined to eat the sides and hardly ever does.

“They are usually gross and things people don’t really like,” Richardson said. “I don’t usually eat the sides. I usually put them in the bin, I think most people throw them away or put them in the bin.”

Zimmerman is dissatisfied as well.

“I think it’s weird that we are forced to get them because then they just end up getting thrown away. I usually eat them but from what I’ve seen most people don’t eat them. They put them in the trash or the bin,” Zimmerman said.

According to Zimmerman, the law should be generally beneficial, though not necessarily economically beneficial.

“The law is that everybody has to be provided with lunch, and everybody has to be getting a complete and balanced lunch. But it seems like if they are getting thrown away it should be a little more intelligently subsidized,” Zimmerman said.