We applaud state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx-Westchester) for bringing to light that cockroaches, mice and flies, and rodent feces are appearing in school cafeteria kitchens across the five boroughs.
A three-year study revealed more than 8,000 health-code violations at the city’s 2,976 school cafeterias.
All levels of government need transparency, but never more than when our children are involved. It is unfortunate that a member the state senate was the one to expose these findings, and not the Department of Education or the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.
The health of school children is paramount. A healthy diet aids students’ cognition and concentration and as well as their immune system so that they don’t miss any school.
The DOE spends a great deal of money on curriculum and grading teachers’ performances. The quality of the schools is important but the health of a child supersedes everything. You can’t teach the child if he or she is home sick.
We all understand education is priority and the budget can be tight, but our children’s safety and well-being must come first.
But it’s not just about a healthy diet. Cockroaches, rodent feces and flies are not sanitary, and young children and kitchen staff should not be exposed to them. It is an unacceptable situation; as residents of the greatest city in the world we should hold our schools and their environmental conditions to the highest standards.
We hope that the parents of school children make it their business to advocate for the continued examination of the cafeterias and that the education and health of every child is at the forefront of the minds in charge.