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 Jan. 21:
1. Student suspended for counterfeit lunch money
A middle school student in Georgia was suspended for unintentionally trying to pay for his school lunch with a counterfeit $20 bill. The student’s father said the bill came from change he received from a fast food restaurant. The school’s code of conduct says that possession of counterfeit currency, regardless of circumstance, is prohibited. A disciplinary hearing upheld the 10-day in-school suspension.
Read more: Honor student suspended for unintentionally using counterfeit money in school lunch line
2. Update on gov shutdown’s impact on school meals
The government shutdown is continuing to cause some worry for school nutrition professionals. In the nation’s largest district, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that it would be hard to continue feeding the city’s more than 1 million students without federal funding. The mayor said he believes the city has money to fund meals until April. It costs nearly $43 million a month to fund the district’s school meal programs. In a small, rural district in Kansas, the child nutrition director is worried she won’t be able to continue feeding her students, telling Politico, “I really don't know how we'll be able to continue feeding them without the meal reimbursements we get from the federal government. It's so frustrating and saddening. We just want to be able to feed kids.”
Read more: Next shutdown victim: School lunches
3. District sees uptick in meal applications following shutdown
Bainbridge Island School District in Washington state is a relatively affluent district with very low numbers of students qualifying for the free and reduced meal program. The nutrition services department, however, has said that it recently has seen several applications for receiving subsidized meals that cite the federal government shutdown as the reason behind the application.
Read more: School districts, food banks ready to help furloughed federal workers
4. Cafeteria worker accused of embezzlement
A cafeteria worker in the Brown Deer School District in Wisconsin has been accused of stealing money from the cafeteria. The worker, who was employed by food management company Taher, admitted to police that she had taken the money, which prosecutors estimated at around $50,000 over a five-year period.
Read more: Wisconsin woman accused of embezzling lunch money from school district
5. UConn cuts plastic bags
UConn dining will no longer offer plastic bags in its retail locations. Instead, students can purchase a paper bag that is 100 percent recyclable and reusable for 10 cents. Dining services made the change as part of its ongoing sustainability efforts. During the 2017-18 fiscal year, dining services used about 385,000 plastic bags in its retail locations and for grab-and-go meals from the dining halls.
Read more: Dining Services Ends Use Of Plastic Bags