Students at a Chicago high school are planning a citywide boycott on Dec. 17 against unhygienic and unhealthy cafeteria food and are requesting all students participate.
Over 500 students of Theodore Roosevelt High School skipped or brought lunch from home last week. The boycott climaxed on Dec. 7 with some 539 students participating from a population of 1,100 students. They have also created a website titled “The School Lunch Project: Culinary Denial.”
The protesters have compared their school food with prison food and the comparison, apparently, is not at all farfetched since Aramark, the school’s main food supplier, also provides meals to the Cook County prison nearby. It has a long list of corruption scandals to its name, according to media reports.
On Dec. 8, the students had a meeting with Aramark and the Director of Nutrition Support Services Leslie Fowler to negotiate on the quality and the quantity of food being served in the cafeteria. However, it ended with no satisfactory response from Fowler, who insisted on auditing the lunch ladies rather than the quality of the food provided by the food supplier.
As students call for a citywide protest, TeachKind, the educational arm of PETA, reached out with a vegan lunch offer. PETA donated 10,000 bags of granola and the school’s humane division will continue to work with TRH to make wholesome plant-based food a regular part of the cafeteria’s menu.
Nina Kahn, the assistant manager of youth campaigns for PETA, said her organization was inspired to reach out with free vegan lunches after hearing about the students’ efforts.
Students of TRH are now planning for the big citywide boycott on Dec. 17. Flyers for the campaign have been placed on its official website and are available for printing.