• Kamari Jordan

Clean Up the Cafeterias!

If you are from Joliet you know about some of the problems local schools deal with regarding mice and other vermin. It happens sometimes when a building gets older. Although it is, to a degree, an unspoken understanding about some of the older schools in Joliet, overall the community feels that our local schools provide a clean and safe learning environment.

Unfortunately, that is not the same reality for New York residents. In a 2017 study it was discovered that almost half of school cafeterias in New York City showed evidence of mice, rats, flies, or roaches. Recently, student journalists from City University of New York Graduate School conducted an analysis of the City Health Department data. These aspiring journalists obtained this sensitive information through a Freedom of Information Act request.

While researching they found that 695 out of 1,407 inspected cafeterias had about 1,150 health violations and 617 of those inspected cafeterias had evidence of vermin. No wonder these student journalists had to go digging for this information. They believe this information should be presented to the public because these violations can cause dangerous foodborne illnesses. Many of the parents expressed their disgust, but also said they were not surprised.

One parent commented that they were outraged because they were not informed about violations by the city or the school. One of the worst cases discovered during this investigation was a middle school where inspectors found about 1,500 flies. It took four days to clear the cafeteria up and make it a place suitable for kids to dine in.

Although all data and cases are from New York City it is something to take into consideration. Our kids’ safety and health should be priority to local schools, staff, parents, and our city. Parents should be informed about violations and data about past violations should be easily accessed. Although I believe the city of Joliet does a great job with the local schools, there is always room for improvement.

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