Family's anger over school lunch reveals more widespread issues
Angry parents in Chickasha complain their kids aren't getting enough to eat at school. The Holton family says the meal the district calls a "Munchable" is ridiculous and family members say it needs to change.
The meal that daughter Kaytlin Shelton took a photo of Monday consists of lunch meat, a couple crackers, a slice of cheese and two pieces of cauliflower. Schools in Chickasha serve it every other week. Kaytlin says it's especially problematic for her because the 17-year-old is eating for two. She's pregnant with a little girl on the way."It makes me want to take that and take it to the Superintendent and tell him to eat it for lunch," she said.
Kaytlin's father Vince Holton says the $3 meal is not good enough for any student, much less one eight months pregnant. "I can go pay a dollar for a lunchabe and get more food in it," he said.
The school district says there are more options on Munchable day such as milk, beans and pears, but Superintendent David Cash agrees there's a problem. He says it's thanks to federal regulations to fight childhood obesity, which limit calories per meal based on a student's age. "You've got in some cases little kids that they're only two meals are breakfast and lunch at school and they're getting you know a grand total of 1100 calories. That's not enough," he said.
As for the Munchcable? High school students are supposed to get five options at lunch but students only have to accept three. And state nutritional regulators say because of that the meal passes federal guidelines. "We have a meat-meat alternate, we have a bread grain, we have vegetable," said Asst. State Superintendent for Child Nutrition Joanie Hildenbrand, looking at the photo she received from Fox 25, "it's the student's choice of what they want to take."
But even she says the federal regulations for maximum calories, sodium and fat are frustrating. Especially because many students don't eat all of the options."These regulations were put into effect two years ago and were still struggling with them."
There are no exceptions for students who are pregnant or those who are athletes and burn more calories on a daily basis.
Chickasha administrators say as a result they think kids are going hungry at school. "I know they are," Superintendent Cash said, "there is no doubt about that. My own kid comes home and the first thing he does is raid the refrigerator."
And the Holton family says they just want to make sure their kids get the nutrition and calories they need for their growing family. "Schools are responsible for children while they're at school," Kaytlin's father Vince said, "they're responsible for feeding the children."
The Superintendent says in wake of the complaints the district will re-examine the Munchable as a regular meal option.