School Lunch and Student Food Insecurity: A Teacher’s Observations and Reflections
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In this chapter, we take a food justice approach: we consider access to high-quality, nutritious, tasty, and culturally sustaining food in schools as a right for all students. To assist this effort, educators must turn a critical lens on how our most vulnerable student populations are being affected by low-quality school food. This work arises from a veteran teacher’s observations about how school lunch at the alternative high school where she works can perpetuate food insecurity for already food-insecure students. As part of this work, we raise questions about what it means to ethically feed food-insecure students in schools. Based on our work together, we introduce the concept of “in-school food insecurity” to highlight the complexities around feeding students, arguing that giving food of marginal quality to those who are food-insecure is not an adequate response. We also provide evidence that teachers can make valuable observations and contributions in the fight to improve school food.
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