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 They rescinded the order after two days sans lunch.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

Ideas and Innovation
salad

We’re currently piloting a Salad Bar Happy Hour 
in Cafe 16. Due to Health Department regulations, any self-serve salad bar items must be disposed of after service. The salad bar goes “on sale” for 25 cents an ounce post-lunchtime to help reduce waste as well as offer value to customers.

Menu Development
sauces

Adding an entirely new cuisine to the menu can feel daunting. But what if you could dabble in international flavors simply by introducing a few new condiments? For inspiration, FSD talked to operators who are offering a range of condiments plucked from global regional cuisines.

“Most ethnic cuisines have some sort of sauce or condiment relishes that go with their dishes,” says Roy Sullivan, executive chef with Nutrition & Food Services at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. Condiments offered to diners at UCSF Medical include chimichurri (Argentina), curry (India), tzatziki (...

Ideas and Innovation
turnip juice brine

Give leftover brine new life by adding it to vegetables. In an interview with Food52, Stuart Brioza, chef and owner of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, says that he adds a splash of leftover brine while sauteeing mushrooms to increase their flavor profile. “We like to ferment turnips at the restaurant, and it’s a great way to use that brine—though dill pickle brine would work just as well,” he says.

Menu Development
side dishes

Operators looking to increase sales of side dishes may want to focus on freshness and value. Here’s what attributes consumers say are important when picking sides.

Fresh - 73% Offered at a fair price - 72% Satisfies a craving - 64% Premium ingredients - 56% Natural ingredients - 49% Signature side - 47% Something familiar - 46% Housemade/made from scratch - 44% Something new/unique - 42% Large portion size - 42% Healthfulness - 40% Family-size - 40%

Source: Technomic’s 2017 Starters, Small Plates and Sides Consumer Trend Report , powered by Ignite

FSD Resources