St. Mark Students Protest New Federal Lunch Guidelines

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Students at a local school are staging a lunch protest by bringing their own food. After a small beginning, the effort has snowballed into about half of the entire school. The students are 'brown-bagging' it in protest against new national school lunch guidelines.

The USDA based the guidelines around recommendations from the Institute of Medicine. We found the students at St. Mark's school near Colwich say their lunches don't provide enough food.

"We're getting fewer calories," said 7th grader Cole Murray. "About 200-400 fewer calories and we think we don't get enough food."

And by the looks of it, many of Murray's classmates agree with him. murray helped spearhead a protest of the new National School Lunch Program guidelines that include more servings of vegetables and fruits and only low fat or fat free milk. All high-percentage saturated fats and trans fats are being eliminated and the total calorie intake per tray has been reduced to 650.

"I hope other schools get involved in this and Michelle Obama will think twice about this and rethink this," Murray explained. "We're trying to get other schools involved and we're sending letters to our state representatives."

The principal at St. Mark's, Craig Idacavage, worries it's not enough food, too.

"They come to school at 8:30 and some of them have practice until close to 5:30," Idacavage said, "and this could be the only meal they get, so it's really tough."

Other students say previous year's lunch trays didn't have enough food. Now, it's even worse. Add to the fact that the lunch prices went up this year in order to offset the higher cost of these healthier meals.

"This year, we'll be hungry by 2:00," said 7th grader Zach Eck. "We would eat our pencils at school if they had nutritional value."

The National School Lunch Act created the modern school lunch program in 1946. By the end of its first year, more than 7-million children were participating. By 1980, that had grown to 27-million and by 2011, almost 32-million children each day got their lunch through the National School Lunch Program. Since 1946, more than 224-billion lunches have been served.

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