It's lunchtime at Beatrice High School. The line to buy looks pretty long, but school officials say they've seen a 40% drop in the number of students participating in the lunch program. Some students say it's just not enough food.
Senior Travis Eubanks says, "When I got to work later on about 3:30, I was hungry again. Everyone at work reads my blog, so they're like, 'Travis, are you hungry?' and I tell them, 'Yeah, I am.'"
Travis Eubanks started blogging about school lunches shortly after some strict federal guidelines went into effect. Under these new rules, portion sizes have been slightly reduced and calorie limits have been put into place. There are five requirements, three of which must be met in order to maintain a nutritious lunch. They include a meat source, up to 2 ounces of grain, milk, and fruits and vegetables.
School officials say they understand it's not enough for some students, but there's not much they can do. School lunch programs are federally funded and if they don't follow the rules, they could lose some much needed dollars.
Nutrition Services Director Peggy Johnson says, "To not participate in the school lunch program, would also mean that the 53% of our students who are on the free and reduced lunch program may not be able to afford that school lunch. They would have to bring something from home."
For some students, the trouble isn't just about lower portions. Some say it should be up to them what they want to eat and how much.
"I feel that it should be our choice. I mean, we're 16, 17, and 18 year olds. We know what we want. We know what's good for us and we know what's bad for us," says Eubanks.
Beatrice School officials also say there's nothing stopping a kid from buying seconds if they need to. Or they can bring a sack lunch.
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