Beallsville students protest lunch policy

BEALLSVILLE – Students at Beallsville K-12 Monday protested the Switzerland of Ohio Local school board’s latest decision to revise the district’s lunch and cafeteria plan.

“It was brought to the board’s attention (on Monday) that many students were upset that their lunch charges had to be paid up,” said Switzerland of Ohio Local School District Superintendent Larry Elliott. “The issue was the short turnaround.”

On Monday, nearly 30 or more students who attend Beallsville K-12 walked off their afternoon classes in protest of the new lunch policies made at the May 16 school board meeting. The new policies for the entire district stipulate the charge limit for students is $25. Those who did not have this paid by Monday would not receive a lunch. The students who did not receive a lunch are students who do not have a free or reduced lunch option.

Letters were sent out and telephone calls were made to parents on Friday, May 17, about the new lunch plans. Many parents were upset about the quick turnaround to pay their child’s or children’s bill, as the policy went into effect on May 20.

It is also included in the new plan that graduating students in eighth or 12th grade must pay their balances before graduating or he or she would not be able to participate. Any charges must be paid by May 31.

“I think part of the situation is that the students are very afraid of the unknown,” said Elliott. “The future of the staff and sports in the district are very up in the air right now, and it is frustrating for students. In the back of the student’s mind, he or she could be losing teachers, programs and sports.”

It was at Thursday’s school board meeting, the first after the levy failed in the May 7 election, that the board began to address the cuts that will be made in order for the board to live within its means. The board must now cut positions, programs and layoff employees.

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