In the state of Texas, 53% of all schools offer free lunch to their students. Schools in Dallas ISD, Allen ISD, Keller ISD, and many other school districts in our local area already offer free lunch to all their students at all of the district’s schools.
In GCISD, students in pre-K through 8th grade are offered free lunch for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year. But what about the 9th-12th graders at Colleyville Heritage High School and Grapevine High School? What is preventing highschool students from being offered free lunch?
With the Coronavirus Pandemic, life became much harder for many people around the world. Businesses fell, people lost their jobs, and global shortages started to pop-up out of nowhere. Who would have thought that nearly half of the stores in the United States would be out of stock on basic necessities such as toilet paper would have been impossible to find? People who lost their jobs still have things that they needed to pay for, though. Most school districts recognized that more and more people would be struggling to stay on their feet, and lowered or even canceled the payment required for their students to be able to have a meal to eat. But why didn’t the high schools in GCISD allow their students to eat for free?
Tristan Krznarich, a Sophomore at Colleyville Heritage, thinks that lunches should be free to the students who need it to be. In response to the question “What do you think about school lunches not being free?”, he replied “Well, I don’t agree with it. Some people can not afford school lunches, and everyone needs to eat something. They should be free because if people can’t afford it, they still need to eat something and it can be really unhealthy and bad for your diet as well as you can get really sick and have bad health problems if you don’t eat enough.”
Tristan believes that students who cannot afford to pay the school for their food should be able to eat for free. When a person does not get enough to eat, they can experience malnutrition which affects how we concentrate, can cause people to become depressed, feel exhausted all the time, and even take longer to heal from an injury or sickness. Deric Marsh, a senior at Colleyville Heritage agrees with Tristan’s assessment on school lunches.
“I feel like that if people need it to be free then it should be free for them. Lunch can be really expensive and some people just do not have the money for it,” said Marsh. The basic school lunch with no added bonus at high schools in GCISD costs about $1.45 per lunch. By multiplying that number by 5, you’re looking at approximately $7.25 per week in school lunches alone, not to mention the other expenses that a person may have. Now, multiply that number by 9 for nine weeks, and you’re looking at $65.25 for one of the four nine weeks, and when you multiply that number by 4, you are left with $261 even taken out of your pocket. As you can see, it quickly adds up.
Peter Tran, a Sophomore at Colleyville Heritage, also agrees with this assessment. He said; “I think that we should have free food because some people are economically challenged, especially with their parents, it could be hard to pay maybe like $200 every 6 weeks or so for food. It gets very expensive. Not including all the extracurricular things that they might be involved in which also cost quite a lot of money.”
Students may be involved in several other extracurricular activities such as Band, or Football. With that, extracurricular activities also may have some expenses required to participate in them. This could also be tied to the education of the students, as some courses require additional costs or fees, such as a textbook. It would make life for a lot of students, teachers, and parents a lot easier and stress-free if lunches were made free to the people who needed them to be.