Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Oct. 17:
1. LA schools bring back flavored milk
Following a five-year ban, students at LA Unified School District will be able to get flavored milk in the cafeterias. The school board overturned the ban following a report that found the district was throwing away 600 tons of organic waste each day—a significant part of that food waste was plain milk, which children are required to take as part of a reimbursable meal. The school board is hoping that by bringing back flavored milk, children will be more apt to drink the milk instead of throwing it out, something some studies have already proven. The district had banned flavored milk in an attempt to reduce the amount of sugar consumed by students. The district’s milk provider has said it will work to reduce the amount of added sugar in the milk it produces.
2. Kosher dining hall facing struggles during Harvard dining strike
While Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) workers are striking, there have been changes to the program (reduced hours and closed dining halls), but another group of diners has been impacted. The Hillel dining hall offers kosher dinners daily and bagged lunches for students who follow that diet. Because of the strike, there aren’t enough workers who know how to cook kosher food, so HUDS has been ordering in catered food, according to The Crimson. HUDS is paying for the catering, according to a university spokeswoman, who told the paper that the Hillel manager has been working “insane hours” during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot to accommodate that population of the student body.
3. Texas cafeteria lady sentenced for embezzling meal funds
A former accounting clerk for the child nutrition program at the Brownsville public school district in Texas has been sentenced to two years in prison and has to pay back more the more than $330,000 she was convicted of stealing from the district’s meal program. Prosecutors said the clerk stole money from money bags delivered to her when schools missed regular armored car service pickups.
4. Alabama district requires background check to eat lunch with kids
With schools finding themselves in the unfortunate position as targets for shooting, many school districts are taking added precautions to ensure the safety of the students and staff. One district in Alabama is now requiring visitors who wish to eat lunch in the school cafeteria to undergo background checks. It’s important to note that the district did not mention school shootings in its decision to enact the background check policy. It said the change was to target violent offenders, drug traffickers and child pornographers to “ensure the visitors in our schools are safe to be around our students and staff at all times, including lunch,” according to an article on al.com. The district has an open door policy for lunch, and the district wanted to have better accountability of those in the schools.
5. District changes policy following worker quitting over “shaming” policy
A couple of months ago I wrote about a cafeteria worker who quit over what she called a policy that “shamed” students (link here: /news-trends/5-things-lunch-lady-quits-over-unpaid-meal-policy-s-student-shaming). The worker mistakenly served a hot meal to a student who had reached the unpaid meal policy limit, and she had to take the meal away and give the child a replacement meal instead. The worker said she was so upset, she quit. Now the district has revised its policy, saying that no child will have a meal taken away from him/her even if a hot meal was given mistakenly.