At the start of the second semester, ASL’s food service company BaxterStorey asked if upper middle school staff could monitor if students had either their ID card with a meal deal sticker, or money loaded on the card or a ticket provided by the middle school office. Eighth grade students were also spoken to by teachers during a grade assembly concerning these issues in the cafeteria. This is due to the increase in seventh and mostly eighth grade students trying to pay for their lunch with insufficient funds, sharing their meal deal with peers, or just walking past the till without paying at all.
If students cannot pay for their food because they have no meal deal plan, no cash on their card, or don’t have their ID card with them, they should collect a ticket from the MS office which allows them to buy a full meal worth five stars. Grade 8 Aide Ms. Kim Marr said the school would never let any student continue their day without food.
In this year’s first semester, teachers and faculty members stopped some seventh and eighth grade students from walking past the tills with their lunch. Following this, the catering company asked seventh and eighth grade teachers to survey students more frequently and with more caution.
A lot of students have their cards, but forget to take them to lunch. Instead, they take a shortcut by either not paying or asking friends to pay for their lunch. “If we are going to be technical about it, not paying for lunch is actually theft which has a direct impact on the catering company. Additionally it has a negative impact on our ASL community which is built on trust.” said Ms. Marr.
Ms. Marr and Mr. Sean Ross, the grade seven aide, among other teachers, survey the students purchasing their lunches every day and are aware of the body language of students who are trying to walk by without paying for their food. These include continuous wandering and searching eyes which both project a very vigilant and nervous attitude. They will ask any student who cannot successfully buy their food to go to the middle school office and collect a ticket.
Additionally, Ms. Christine Kent, head of catering, also spoke of the larger issue of time when it comes to middle school lunches and how if the cashiers and teachers were to check every card, students wouldn’t be able to have ample time eat their lunches. Currently, the catering staff hasn’t found a way to control card validity and provide students with enough time to purchase and eat their food.
BaxterStorey is a company, and like any other business has expenses, meaning that stealing from the cafeteria is not a light offense; it is actually theft. A typical student wouldn’t walk into a shop and grab any piece of merchandise and walk out. In a shop, students are aware of their monitoring, and understand the consequences.
If any students are caught trying to steal they are pulled aside and are given a warning.
Stealing lunch obviously goes against ASL’s core values. Students have an option to get a ticket if they forget their ID card but stealing would be purposeful and wouldn’t follow the Core Values.
If students continue these actions, the catering staff will have to become more vigilant to prevent students from taking the shortcut and making the wrong decision. They hope to trust the integrity of the students, so that the cafeteria can remain a place for enjoying a meal and chatting with friends. “We implore on the kids to have integrity and to do the correct thing,” said Ms Kent.
“I have seen that the security has increased and ASL is doing a good job of making students realize that stealing isn’t acceptable in this school,” said eighth grader Markos Glucksman.
Seventh grader Daniel Philips also felt that security in ASL’s cafeteria is essential and has been slightly increased the recent months. However, he hopes that by next year the school can raise more awareness on this topic and how it violates the foundations such as kindness and respect on which ASL is based on.
Clearly students have seen a change and are starting to comprehend that stealing from ASL is a serious matter and must be dealt with as soon as possible. Teachers believe that students must act at all times in school and outside of school minding the core values of ASL to hopefully contribute to a healthy and safe community.