I’m blogging anonymously because I like my job and getting a paycheck. But I’m still putting my livelihood on the line by speaking up. Why? Because I want to raise awareness about school lunch. It may not be what every child in this country eats, but I believe the meal that I am showing represents what most children eat at lunch in the US.
This issue is important now because the Child Nutrition Act is being reauthorized and debated in Congress right now. I realize that everyone is strapped for cash right now. Individuals, companies, states, and countries are losing money. No matter what is going on in this world, we can’t forget the kids and the fact that many of them are at the mercy of school districts and corporations for their daily meal(s). It will cost the US more money in the future (healthcare costs) if schools don’t address the big problem that is staring them in the face everyday: childhood obesity. No matter how great a school is, it can’t control what the kids eat outside of school. But still schools can do better for kids while they are in building.
People say “school lunches have always been bad.” But actually I think in a lot of places they have gotten worse as far as quality and variety are concerned. Considering all of the powerful health, wellness, and nutrition research that has come out over the past thirty years, school lunches have not kept up with the latest medical advice.
I’ve been very stressed out about this project recently. I really love my school, the principal and the lunch manager a lot. I respect them. The principal is fair and is a strong leader. The lunch manager is kind to me and to the kids. And then I go home and do this with my limited spare time. I feel a lot of guilt and turmoil about what I’m doing here. I’m waiting for the moment I’m called to the principal’s office and let go. I do believe it’s a matter of “when” not “if” they both find out and it’s curtains for me and then of course the project. I want them to know that the project is not about individuals in one school, but about a country full of children who need better food models.
I’m getting a lot of requests for interviews from major newspapers and other news outlets (I have done other interviews for media with smaller distribution and/or all online). Many assure me of my anonymity, but if I get major attention even without my real name, well, someone is going to put 2 + 2 together. All that is needed is one person sending one email to all lunch room managers and asking, “Who’s eating school lunch every day?” Then they get a short list …and I’ll be carrying a cardboard box to my car.
My husband says, “You’re paranoid! Stop it.” But in a subsequent discussion he said, “You’re not going to lose your job, are you?”
Sweetie, when I decided to do this blog, even though I thought I would not get a comment for a few months (it took just a few days) and that I thought maybe in a few months I might get 5-10 hits per week (I’m averaging 1,000 to 4,000 per day)…. well, it’s not looking good. I’m just hoping to finish out the school year…