Free Lunch but at What Cost?


The now free school lunches have become smaller compared to previous years. Picture by Deniz Ilksoy

Denis Ilksoy, Editor - Blogs Page

Returning for the 2021-2022 school year, students expected to see many changes as a result of the recovery process from a year and a half long quarantine. What they were surprised to learn was that Roswell’s lunch policy, which had been relatively unchanged for around the past decade or so, has undergone big changes. These changes give out lunches for free to all students through the entire school year.  

While upfront, this seems like a beneficial situation to students, it came with a price. Since students are physically unable to pay for their school lunches, the cafeteria has lifted all extra selection options including snacks, drinks, or the option to get a double serving. The exceptions to this rule are on Fridays where students have the option to pay for a small selection of snacks.  For the rest of the week however, this poses a problem to a lot of students. Most days students can be lucky to get a slice of pizza and some milk which only totals up to around 300-400 calories. Most students at the school are nearly fully functioning adults and another large portion are hard-working athletes who need more than a cup of shredded lettuce to keep them going. 

The new school lunch policy for some students like Junior Lily Melton is a helpful change. She said, “I don’t have much of a stake in the lack of variety since most days I bring my own lunch, but it is nice to have a free option in case I forget.” The new lunch policy can be very helpful for saving students money but mainly in cases where the school lunch serves as a backup. For regular senior athlete Clay Butler, the new school lunch policy has become unattractive despite its 0-dollar price tag. When asked whether he liked the school lunch better now that it was free, he replied “No I don’t. There are even less options than before, and they took away the choice to pay more money for more food, causing us to be left with a kindergartener’s portion of food. I’m never eating school lunch again or at least not relying on it to fill me up”. Another student, senior Vince Rittmeyer said “The people don’t get enough food to eat for the rest of their school day and the people who are willing to pay for extra should be able to get extra. It’s just that simple”. 

The new Roswell High School lunch policy has received mixed criticism, but while it does make some unhappy about the limited selection it does provide a much-needed cost reduction especially for students that have been hit hard by the coronavirus. Next time you find yourself thinking about lunch options try the cafeteria food and leave us a comment below!