#BrownBagginIt Students Demand Better Quality School Lunches

Pittsburgh-area students start a Twitter protest to voice their anger over the poor quality of food they're served at lunch.
School lunches spark Twitter protest from disgruntled students who want better quality food. (Photo: Rubberball/Getty Images)
Sep 1, 2012· 1 MIN READ
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades has previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and a medical writer.

Plum Borough School District students started a Twitter campaign this week to protest their school lunch service. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the disgruntled students used the hashtag #BrownBagginIt to call attention to a host of issues with the food they’re being served, including what they say is its poor quality, rising costs, and small portions.

WPXI in Pittsburgh reports that Plum High School student Sean Doyle started the #BrownBagginIt Twitter campaign. He explained to the news outlet why students were so angry over the food they’re being served. "We eat it every day. I know it's hard for me to explain to you how disgusting it may be or how bad it is, but look how many high school kids are mad about it…It's not good food, and we want some better food.”

Students claim they pay an increased price of $2.50 per meal, but with that has come a decrease in food quality and portion size. One girl interviewed by WPXI characterized her school lunch as “soggy and disgusting.”

One of many student Tweets sent out this week in Pittsburgh to protest school lunches.

For those not bothered by the quality, there are complaints that 650 calories per meal is too little to satisfy the hunger of growing adolescents. GOOD reports that students, especially those that play after-school sports, often have to buy more than one lunch to get them through the day.

The district's food service director, Maryann Lazzaro, explained to the Gazette that her hands were tied due to new federal regulations regarding school lunches. "If you're working with 650 calories for a meal, and 140 comes from a milk and 70 comes from fruit because fruit is now mandated ... you've only got a small amount left for the protein, the bread and the vegetable."

Government rules or not, the students’ protest seems to have taken off; #BrownBagginit was trending in second place for the Pittsburgh area this week. Doyle reports that about 75 percent of students brought their lunches from home instead of eating the cafeteria food. Now he has plans to take the campaign to other school districts as well.

For $2.50, is a high-quality and higher calorie meal really serviceable? Let us know your thoughts on school lunches in the Comments.