2:32 PM PDT, September 23, 2021
Photos of “disgusting” school lunches have prompted an uproar in New Jersey, with board of education officials and parents demanding to know why the unappetizing food was being served to students.
The fracas started last week when Darcell Medley-Stokes posted photos taken by her high school kids of what was being served for lunch in the cafeteria of Paterson International High School.
“Would you eat this? Would you serve this to your children? If the answer is ‘no,’ then why serve it to our children?” said Superintendent Eileen Shafer. “Our students deserve a nutritious meal like every other child in this country. We will not tolerate this,” the Paterson Press reported.
“This is not acceptable,” said school board member Vincent Arrington. “For a lot of our kids, the lunch they get in school is the only hot meal they get all day.”
District food service employees visited the school and determined the meals had been improperly cooked and served. The cafeteria staff has been retrained, a district spokesman said.
“I wouldn’t serve my children that,” said Paterson Board of Education President Kenneth Simmons.
Parents called the meals “disgusting.”
Simmons has called for changing the district’s $5 million food services program, adding that about 95% of the district’s students qualify for a free or reduced lunch.
“Many of our students this is the only meal that they get,” Simmon said. “It may cost us more money, but I don’t think finances is something that needs to be the key factor.”
“We recognize there have been a few instances where we didn’t meet the expectations of all of our students and families, and have carefully investigated each situation,” a spokesperson for food vendor ChartwellsK12 told Inside Edition. “There’s nothing we take more seriously than the health and safety of our students.”