By Valerie Lashmanova ‘15
Bells rings as many students rush to their free period for a time to escape from work. However, instead of the lunchroom, large numbers of students gravitate towards the library, peer tutoring center, monitoring rooms or even the bathroom.
Lunches in many public schools have a bad reputation of being unsavory and unappealing. Not to mention, many cafeterias have a displeasing atmosphere that make students take a detour when it comes to lunch.
“Whenever I go to the lunchroom, I feel like I’m trapped in a cellar while being given jail food” said Roshan Zajib ‘16.
As many students go down to the lunchroom, they are plagued by the mindless chatter and pungent smell of overcrowded students making their way to filled tables. The murky and despondent walls cry for a hint of color as the small windows are open so just a sliver of air passes through. With such distasteful conditions, teachers don’t realize that students refrain from the cafeteria not only because of the food, but of the atmosphere as well.
Some schools started taking matters into their own hands in hopes of addressing the problem. Since many students pay for their lunch, it should be worth their while to spend this money practically; especially in high school where things are about the choices and optimal convenience for students.
Starting in spring of 2014, an organization called the San Francisco Unified School District (S.F.U.S.D) will collaborate with schools to remodel school lunches and atmosphere within their area. As of now, S.F.U.S.D administered surveys from 56,000 students in regards to their school lunch feedback. According to the New York Times, questions such as “What did you choose and why? What works best for you? How did you choose?” were asked of the students.
Oakland High School is another example of a school that took matters regarding lunch into their own hands. In an effort to make students eat lunch and get the required meals they need, workshops, meetings, and experimental exhibits were created. Administrators hoped that if change was brought upon lunch conditions and quality, students would be more inclined to spend their time in lunchrooms.
The Board of Education expressed their concerns for the problem vehemently, stating though it is an apparent issue, the costs and concerns should be highly taken into consideration.
It is understandable that concerns and costs will be involved in solving the problem, but what else are schools funding good for if they don’t benefit students? Gigantic steps and heaping amounts of money aren’t required of schools. It would simply be constructive to get a brighter coat of color in the lunchroom or decent lighting so students wouldn’t have to peer through small windows as if in a dungeon.
“Besides the food, which I don’t mind bringing from home, the atmosphere isn’t that great to make me want to sit there and eat,” said Jing Wei ’15 as she squinched her eyebrows in disapproval.
Furthermore, teachers and deans constantly chase after student’s roaming the halls during their lunch period. If lunchrooms were more welcoming and appealing, students may instead wind up in the cafeteria, instead of drifting aimlessly through the school.