A Manvel High School student recently brought a slice of pizza to school for lunch. The problem is, the student shared the pizza with a classmate, which is forbidden in the healthy nutrition guidelines for Texas public schools.
"We knew the review was going on, of course," explained Shirley Brothers with Alvin ISD. "Then when we get this report, the preliminary report, back, we went, 'Oh! Gosh! How did that happen?'"
It happened because on that day, auditors from the State Agriculture Department were monitoring the school cafeteria looking for food sharing, and they saw the pizza swap.
School Nutrition Director Jennifer Basich said, "Our department is going to be… Not fined, but they're going to withhold our reimbursement."
That amounts to $1,800 that Manvel High School will not get from the state for the day on which the violation was detected. The good news is that the school also got high marks for its cafeteria menu – fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, no fried foods, and yes, even pizza. But the school's pizza is made on a whole wheat crust with fat free cheese.
Once more, parents and students will be reminded that if students bring their lunches in from the outside, the food cannot be shared. But the $1,800 is still a lot for the school principal to swallow.
"I understand their intent, but it seems a little harsh," said Manvel HS Principal Darrell Alexander. "I think the ironic thing is, we serve pizza in our cafeteria, and that's what the kids were sharing."
The reason behind all of the seemingly strict rules is that Texas recently ranked sixth in the nation in terms of childhood obesity. The nutritional guidelines are the state's way of addressing that.
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