New lunch policy aims to benefit both staff and students


Kinsley Wilcox-McBride

Pictured above is student Theodore Wilson having his school ID card scanned by Food Coordinator Terri Ventry. The lunch time policy change of going from typing in your PIN number to having your card scanned to purchase lunch aims to quicken lunch lines, and eliminate issues related to students using the wrong PIN numbers. “There are a lot of times when people forgot and mix up the numbers or whatever, so if I can just scan [an ID card] it takes two seconds,” explained Ventry.

Kinsley Wilcox-McBride, Staff Writer

Starting on Monday, April 22nd, a new lunch policy began which requires students to bring their school IDs with them when getting a school lunch. This change has been established due to issues with people entering other peoples pins rather than their own while getting lunch, as well as lunch lines taking a long time. “The lines take forever,” said sophomore Sundus Ahmed. However, Ahmed is concerned that this issue is not getting fixed with the new policy.

In preparation of students needing to have their ID scanned in order to get lunch, the location for students to get a free new ID was in the announcements every day.

The change in lunch policies is largely being perceived negatively by students who are annoyed about taking their IDs out during lunch time. “It’s a new procedure, so it’s going to take some getting used to,” said Food Service Coordinator Terri Ventry. “We’ve been training everybody for ten years to put in their pin number.”

However, there may be more benefit to the new policy than students are initially seeing. An important element of the policy change is that it ideally will make lines go faster, giving students more time to eat and socialize during their lunch period.

In the past, some people, especially near the ends of the line, consistently did not get lunch until the period was almost over. This is not ideal for the sake of allowing students the ability to eat. “It goes much faster. There are a lot of times when people forgot and mix up the numbers or whatever, so if I can just scan [an ID card] it takes two seconds,” explained Ventry.

The new policy will ideally improve both fastness, but also eliminate the occurrences of people’s lunches getting “stolen,” meaning students using the pin number of somebody else while getting their lunch. According to sophomore Andrew Anderson, there were multiple times when he went to get a lunch and was told that he “already got one that day.” Anderson was still allowed to eat lunch on those days, but it was technically considered “stolen” since his pin only qualified for one lunch a day, and it had already been previously used by somebody else.

According to Principal Aponte, Ventry reached out to him about the change, which he stated he was “totally on board with,” for the sake of optimizing time for students, and making lunch more convenient for staff.

While the idea is meant to help students, some may not be reaping the benefits quite yet. According to Ventry, the lines are still getting held up by people without IDs with them. “I don’t always have my ID accessible,” expressed Anderson.

“It’s so much easier just to type in a pin than having take out your ID out…The lines are going five times slower, so I don’t think it’s a good idea,” expressed Ahmed.

In preparation of students needing IDs in order to get lunch, free IDs were given out and announced in the couple of weeks leading up to the change. However, Ventry said that the lunch staff will always keep the pin machines available for those who have forgotten their IDs, though it is not the method they would prefer for students to use.

South is the only school implementing this change right now, as it is being considered the “pilot” for Minneapolis Public Schools, which will make the district wide change next school year.

While students may be feeling upset by the new policy, Ventry is hoping that they will come around to it, for convenience sake. “If everybody has their card out and is ready to go, it’s great…this is how it’s going to be, so just fall in line.”