Carrillos’ lunch line stretching all the way to the halls (Photo: Maitri Rane, The Puma Prensa)
by Maitri Rane, staff writer
Long lunch lines at Maria Carrillo High School are causing a food shortage for students who arrive later at the cafeteria at break and lunch. The school cafeteria has been in high demand from the first week of school, so the lunch lines are long enough that the last person might not get the food they like.
Because the lunches are free, students are able to get whatever food they want. According to the campus supervisor Salvador Sahagun, some people have been caught being disrespectful with the food and the facility itself.
Sahagun also mentioned that “[MCHS administrators] don’t want people to handle money, [and] they don’t want people to be in the same area lingering for too long.” He added, “We basically close the door when we have over fifty people inside.”
Sahagun thinks the lunch lines are getting longer because the kids don’t read the menu on the wall and that they “just grab a meal and look for another piece of food around.” He has also witnessed students either sneaking out extra food or opening up a meal to see what it is and then immediately throwing it away uneaten. “I probably catch more [sneaking extra food] in break than lunch because there are smaller snacks. But for break, I probably catch six to eight, and at lunch, I catch like three or four just by myself,” said Sahagun.
Students often shove each other in the small spaces, and some cut the line by ducking under the steel bars located at the very front by the cafeteria door. Sahagun said this concerns the school staff because no matter how careful the students are, there is still a chance of them hitting their heads. It is technically the school’s responsibility if anyone were to get hurt.
Additionally, nearly every day, some number of students are waiting for the cafeteria doors to open several minutes before the bell for break rings. MCHS senior Desmond McCloskey and other seniors were waiting at the front of the line before advocacy ended on Nov. 9. “Pretty much we got out of Advo a bit early and just wanted to get the food first and see what it is,” McCloskey said.
Some students have felt the consequences of the long lines. MCHS sophomore Alejandra De Jesus said, “Even though there is stuff written on the whiteboard, I still have trouble finding the piece of food I’m looking for.” She added, “There is barely anything left when I get there. My homeroom is all the way across the campus, so I have to wait until the bell rings to get to the line.”
MCHS junior Celeste Moreno-Espinoza said, “They should have signs because you never know what they have because of the way it’s wrapped. The food is invisible. The staff tries to tell you sometimes, but it’s kind of chaotic in there, so it’s hard to tell.”
Sahagun said that the school has been requesting more food from the district, but the cafeteria does not have enough ovens to cook more food in time anyway, and no other solutions have come up.
MCHS Kitchen Manager Laura Bunden denied requests for comment. Edward Burke, Director of Child Nutrition Services for the district, was not available for comment.