Outrage after U.S. school says it will search student lunches and seize ‘excessive’ snacks

Dorothy S. Bass

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A now-deleted Facebook post said the students were carting shopping bags of chips and canned drinks to school

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There is outrage online after a school in Pennsylvania said on Monday that it would be searching the lunches of its students and tossing away “excessive amounts of outside snacks.”

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The announcement was made in a Facebook post by the Aliquippa School District, according to NBC News.

The post was deleted on Tuesday after amassing hundreds of comments criticizing the practice set to take place at Aliquippa Junior Senior High School.

The post explained that students had been bringing shopping bags filled with chips and canned drinks to school.

The new rule means they would be searched before entering the building and security guards would toss out anything more than one 4-ounce bag of chips and one 20-ounce drink.

“Lunch Police,” one person commented on the Facebook post, the Miami Herald reported. “Maybe they should stay out of the parenting business and focus on giving our kids a quality education.”

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Another called it “absurd,” adding, “Maybe if school lunches weren’t so tiny and gross they wouldn’t need to bring extra snacks.”

Not everyone was upset about the policy.

“I’ve seen some of the snacks kids are bringing in when I drop my daughter off,” parent Janisha Walker told WPXI. “I’m asking daughter like, ‘Are they setting up a small store? Why are they carrying a variety box of chips and two litres of soda into the school?’”

Some students were even selling and trading snacks, Supt. Phillip Woods told the outlet, leading to distractions and arguments.

Aliquippa school board member Catherine Colalella said the concern goes beyond snacks and is a safety measure, as other districts have seen students bringing edibles to school.

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“We don’t need to put our children at risk, we have to make sure they are safe within our buildings,” she said. “We kind of have to look at the bigger picture and understand what’s reasonable. I don’t think any child needs to bring in family size bags of chips for the day. The children aren’t going to starve because they do have free meals for breakfast and lunch.”

Later in the week, comments were still being left on their Facebook page, even though the post was removed.

“Can I bring a big bag of chips and extra large beverage or will your gestapo stop me at the door?” wrote one person, under a post about the Aliquippa Wellness Festival.

Concerned parents “with children in the district please contact your building principal,” the district wrote before deleting the post.

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