PARISHVILLE, N.Y. (WWTI) — The school district that went viral for having “dissatisfying” school lunches is addressing concerns it has received in recent days.
In mid-January, a parent of a Parishville-Hopkinton School District student took to social media to share photos of his child’s school lunch, which included four chicken nuggets, white rice and a side of carrots on a cafeteria tray.
Along with the photo, the parent Christopher Vangellow described this meal, and photos of others he had previously received from his child as “a bit lacking” and “not very appetizing.” More photos of these meals are included below.
Photos of the lunch immediately sparked a conversation on Facebook locally in the North Country. However only days following the post, the photos went viral on a much larger scale as it was covered by national and international news outlets.
To address these concerns, Parishville-Hopkinton Central School District Superintendent announced on January 18, that the District was forming a working group.
Dr. Collins said that this group will have four students, four parents and include himself, the cafeteria manager and a representative from the Parishville-Hopkinton Wellness Committee.
According to Dr. Collins, as of January 20, two students, a dozen parents, one former student and five people with no connection to the school have expressed interest in joining the group. An interest form for the group is set to close at midnight on January 21.
The Superintendent also said that the District has received numerous phone calls and questions about what comprises a school lunch, portion sizes and costs. He addressed these questions in an update on the School District’s website.
Dr. Collins confirmed that all meals are being served to students at no cost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that serving sizes are set by the National School Lunch Program and are the same for all public schools, but have not changed since becoming free.
He said that each student is offered the choice of two “hot” meals with up to two servings, fruit and two servings of vegetables. Students also can opt-out of a “hot” meal and instead choose one of three different types of salad, caesar, chef or garden, or choose from three different types of sandwiches, ham turkey or peanut butter and jelly. All lunches also come with milk.
All meals served to students at the Parishville-Hopkinton School District are also prepared on site. No meals are shipped to the school premade. The District is one of 20 school districts participating in the regional BOCES food service.
Dr. Collins’ original message regarding the viral school lunch photos can be read below:
This week a concerned parent’s Facebook post about Parishville-Hopkinton school lunches went viral. The concerns expressed clearly resonated with students and parents as evidenced by the number of comments and shares. In fairness to the cafeteria, students are allowed one more serving of fruits or vegetables and one additional nugget than appeared in the photograph; however, this doesn’t alter the message that many students and parents are dissatisfied with school lunches.