Crime and Punishment

Detroit school’s lunch ban punishes students with hunger.

In one Detroit school, if your classmates have a food fight, you lose your lunch for a week. That was the case at McLeod Bethune Elementary-Middle School, a part of the Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan, a district created to help low-performing schools boost academic standing. When 175 students were involved in a food fight last week, the school’s administration decided the punishment would be to suspend foodservice for a week.

I have a hard time believing this was the best solution to the food-fight problem. First, students were encouraged to bring food from home, so ammo was still at the students’ disposal should they wish to hold another fight. Second, I’m assuming most students in this school qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. (The district offers meals for free to all students, regardless of payment status.) By taking away a school-provided lunch, the district is punishing students, who most likely rely on the free meal, with hunger.

A hunger punishment is never OK.

Then there are those students who had parents bring them fast food for lunch. That’s another lesson that doesn’t need re-enforcement in our schools.

And what about the loss of foodservice revenue for that week? And was the foodservice staff at that school told not to come into work for the week? That’s placing a hardship on those workers in a city with a high unemployment rate.

Apparently, the school’s administration came to the realization that the school-lunch ban wasn’t a good idea. They rescinded the order after two days sans lunch.

Do the students deserve a punishment? Of course. But in a time when it’s hard to get kids to eat healthfully and also combat hunger, it’s unfathomable to me why this school felt cutting a nutritious meal was the best answer.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
frozen raspberries

“As a chef, I pretty much have grown up through the business thinking that fresh was always better—produce, fish and meats, especially,” says Ryan Conklin, executive chef for UNC Rex Healthcare’s culinary and nutrition services. “But the more ‘re-educated’ I get, the more I’m learning that some frozen options may be more appropriate for me to be using on my menus.”

Right now, the perception of frozen foods doesn’t match the reality, especially for high-volume foodservice operators, says Conklin. Often, chefs and operators picture not-great product that’s been sitting in a block of...

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Menu Development
craft beer flight
A draw for happy hour...

San Francisco restaurateur Charles Phan plans to serve beer and wine, and depending on liquor licensing, perhaps cocktails as well. “For faculty and staff on campus, it will be a really wonderful place to come to and have a glass of wine,” Wolch says. “Right now, we have The Faculty Club bar, which is a very historic spot, but this is going to be much more contemporary.”

And for morning coffee...

Phan’s plan for made-to-order coffee is bound to be a boon for both faculty and students. “We’ll have a brand-new espresso machine,” Phan says. Wolch adds, “Most...

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

FSD Resources