Why Highland Park should give out seconds

By: Marcus Lund

As a 16-year-old with a high metabolism, I’m always hungry. So, when I head to the lunchroom, I’m ready to eat a nicely sized meal. But, then I’m served 3 chicken nuggets with a side of sadness and beans. After those 250 calories, I’m obviously going to still be hungry, so I head up again, only to be turned back: “No seconds”.

Highland Park seems to think that by offering unpaid lunches, they can’t afford to give two lunches to high schoolers who need more food. However, other schools in the Saint Paul school district who offer free lunches do offer seconds. They implement a system in which they require student pay for seconds, while their first lunch is still free. This allows the school to retain the funds needed to keep up free firsts and free breakfasts, as well as lessen food waste.

In multiple instances, when students bring up their tray and ID for a second lunch, they’re turned away. This happens even though SPPS nutrition services states that second lunches are purchasable for all SPPS students for $4.40, with second breakfast also available for $2.75. Even an extra milk is apparently available for 50 cents if wanted, an option I haven’t even heard of.

Not allowing for seconds at lunch has caused much strife throughout the cafeteria. Methods used to get a second lunch include students using other students’ IDs, students hopping the barrier to avoid scanning their lunch pass, in hopes of only needing to scan once for two lunches. Students have even gone as far as literally running away from lunch staff.

Teenagers need a lot of food, and school lunch shouldn’t be a sad excuse for a real meal. Can Highland Park step it up?

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