Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday 4/13: Visit to Wallace and Hoboken High

I arrived at Wallace school at 11am on Tuesday morning as arranged with the food service director. He immediately informed me that word from the school district was that I was NOT allowed to photograph the food. He could not tell me the reasoning as to the districts decision. Later on while at the high school the food service director was called away to a phone call. He then informed me the of the districts reasoning citing legal policies in place regarding the photographing of children. Okay, I am parent and  I can understand not wanting my child photographed, however, they are fully aware that I am not taking pictures of the children but of the food. That evening I attended and Board of Ed meeting where I approached the the school district representative regarding the camera story.  He told me that I did not tell them that it was my intention to take pictures, even though upon my arrival the first thing I was told was, "NO pictures!" Mmmmmm. So they DID know! When I asked the school district representative if he had seen this blog and what my pictures entailed his response was: "This is not all about you!" I'm actually laughing now but at that time I felt quite offended- as if I'm enjoying not having a free moment in my life. Seriously, was that necessary?? Anyway, I'm hoping for 'do-over' and will let you know exactly when that happens.

In the mean time here are few observations:

WALLACE ELEMENTARY: On the menu: Chicken Tenders, white rice, creamy coleslaw, fresh orange, dipping sauce
  • That day they served an additional vegetable: Broccoli :) 
  • They have a small deli bar with cold cuts and assorted cheeses. 
  • The kids have an option to eat the following everyday : Hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken patty burger, fries and assorted pizzas.
  • According the NJ state law the lunch ladies may only serve to the kids what they themselves ask for! Really?
  • They serve chocolate milk, strawberry milk, 1%milk and juice everyday. I'm just wondering whatever happened to drinking water. 
  • Everything served was processed except for the fruit in the basket and the broccoli.
  • The freezer in the basement was as large as most peoples' apartments
  • They prepare 500 school lunches daily with 1 cook and 7 additional prep staff. 
HOBOKEN HIGH: CHICKEN PARM: Breaded Chicken Cutlet, mozzarella cheese and homemade sauce over pasta. Served with roasted italian vegetable, fresh veg and a dinner roll.
  • In addition to the above menu they also serve pizza daily
  • Full deli bar on offer daily with everything from tuna salad to pickles
  • They only serve about 120 lunches daily. This means that the other 400 students are leaving campus to eat out. I wonder how we could get them to eat at school?
Finally, Chartwells has linked all the menus to the Hoboken School districts website.  Click here to access the menus. 

After reading the High schools menu and seeing the food I'm little more hopeful about the food being served. The thing that bothers me is that the the satellite school students are the ones that are really being fed poorly. They are served processed commodity foods on a daily bases with no fresh vegetables- ever! 

I will carry this post on when I'm finally able to take pictures of the food and post it. Please note Hoboken School District: Pictures of the food! I have no interest in photographing the kids!!

After visiting Wallace and the High School I dashed off my daughters school to check up on what they were eating:

The menu read as follows: Chicken tenders, white rice, creamy coleslaw, fresh orange, dipping sauce

What they got: Chicken tenders, white rice, creamy coleslaw, fresh orange, ketchup

I arrived well into their lunch break and so had to photograph a half eaten lunch, so please picture more rice on the plate. That's it. Can't say anymore on this than whats already been said.


  1. Note: We requested and received clearance to photograph the food in schools here in the District of Columbia. This is the note I received from the office of Chancellor Michelle Rhee granting permission:

    Thank you for contacting the Office of the Chancellor. I have
    researched your question regarding photographing school lunches and
    have found the following:

    Yes, you are allowed to take pictures of the food but there are some
    1) Please do not go back into the food prep area due to hygienic
    concerns/food code;
    2) You may take pictures of the food, but not the students or
    staff as that infringes upon their rights;
    3) Please do not harass children or staff in pursuit of their
    pictures; and
    4) Please must follow whatever rules the school has for visitors
    (signing in, supervision, etc.)

  2. Thanks Mr.Bruske.

    I guess I learned the hard way.

    Ill be submitting a letter clearly stating what my intentions and we will hopefully have a 'do-over'.

    wow, this is tough. so much resistance to something that will ultimately affect many kids lives. I am already tired but also driven.

    thanks for you support. it means a lot to me.