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Student petition questions quality of district’s food

A Lehman High School student claims that Hays CISD is feeding students spoiled milk, black bananas and mystery tater tot casserole, causing some to skip their lunch. District nutritionists say this is the first time they have received any complaints, district wide.

Lehman junior Ella Ray released a petition in favor of increasing the standard of nutrition at Hays CISD.

Over three days she passed the paper petition to students during her lunch break and got at least 300 signatures from students and staff. Ray said at least one tenth of Lehman students signed the petition.

In a comment section on the petition, students said “the food gives me stomach aches” and “there are grey things in my beans.”

Ray brought the petition to Hays CISD school board members, who did not personally review or take the petition.

Despite the traffic the petition generated, General Manager of Child Nutrition Michael Thibodeaux said that he is unaware of any food complaints because no students have returned their food or brought the issue to staff attention.

“It’s hard to look back and find issues if students don’t report bad food the same day they receive it. We’re happy to replace the food and report to our provider about any issues. So far, I have not gotten any reports of bad food district wide,” Thibodeaux said.

Thibodeaux was surprised by the comments in Ray’s petition because a recent survey conducted by administration said that two percent of students were unhappy with cafeteria food.

Ray is not only unhappy with the food, but argues that the food is so unappetizing that students choose to go hungry rather than eat cafeteria food. As a result, Ray said, it hinders academic performance, especially for low income students.

“The school complains about low academics, but it is easier to make food that is edible.

A Harvard study found that students are less tired and retain more information on a full stomach,” Ray said.

Ray’s campaign for higher quality food has the support of Texas District 25 Senator Dr. Donna Campbell. Ray’s sister was taken to the emergency room after not eating for a full day and that’s when Ray ran into Campbell, a physician. who was on duty at the emergency room. Ray showed Campbell photos of campus food and Campbell gave Ray support towards change.

“She said that change needed to happen and I had expressed consent to change the food standards,” Ray said.

In the spirit of change, Thibodeaux encourages Ray and other students or parents unsatisfied with the food to meet with him personally and take a tour of how the food is stored and processed.

“We have an open door policy and we appreciate feedback. This hasn’t been the first time we make changes based on student input,” Thibodeaux said.

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