EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 15, 2012

Windham students stage lunch protest

WINDHAM — Windham High School students staged a brown-bag protest of school lunches Friday.

As much as teenagers love to complain about food, this wasn’t exactly spontaneous.

Principal Tom Murphy said their protest emerged from a political science class where they were studying about civil disobedience with their teacher, Cade Nethercott.

The students put their lesson into real-life action and it got them a meeting with the school lunch director.

The students had 10 to 15 ideas for protest to experience civil disobedience.

“The most popular was the school lunch program,” Murphy said.

Windham’s food services director, Rhonda Peckham, met with the students, Murphy said.

It was a teaching moment. Peckham had the chance to explain to students the federal guidelines, aimed at good nutrition, under which lunch programs operate.

Murphy didn’t have a count on the number of students participating in the protest, but Peckham told him about 180 slices of pizza were purchased, down from the typical 300-slice range.

The wheat crust the lunch program provides for pizza was one of students’ food beefs. Murphy said students, preparing for the protest, this week had chanted in class: “Wheat is for the weak.”

He conceded that it’s been “kind of a fun activity,” though the principal of the year candidate lamented that the lunch program was chosen for the exercise.

Windham abandoned a private contract service in favor of providing its own meals this year.

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