Lunchroom Problems Solved for Special Ed Students

Students at Margaret K. Lewis Center showed up for school expecting a hot breakfast as usual.

But as the youngsters with special needs filed into the cafeteria they saw a new sign, one that has many parents upset. The sign stated the students had to verbally ask for heated foods.

But a recent cafeteria audit found MKL is wasting food, so to try and cut back on costs hot cereal and grits are by request only.

Parents like Christine Barlow say that's unacceptable for students who have a hard time reading and communicating.

"Some of these kids can't talk, how can they ask for hot cereal?"

Traditionally cafeteria staff dishes out all options to all the students and then they can eat what they want off their plates. School officials say they were just trying to fix what the county found wrong.

The school’s Principal, Ruth Crowell, now has extra adults in the lunchroom to help students get what they want.

"We have para-professionals in there with the students so they can get their meals and all the choices they want."

Newschannel Seven brought the changes to Bay County School Superintendent James McCalister's attention. He says denying students a hot meal is not the way to save money.

“For example if you are cooking a pot of grits, even if you don't put it on the plate it's still going to go to waste because you can't use it tomorrow."

McCalister says the school is now back to normal serving practices.