Why is the food in the school cafeteria so bad

Free lunchWell thought out, badly done: too little space for school canteens

Headmistress Hildegard Greif-Groß calls the class representatives together, the student parliament meets. Important topic on this Friday in the Peter-Petersen-Schule: What happens next with lunch? The Berlin House of Representatives decided to have free school lunches for grades 1 to 6. And since the summer holidays start early this year, this already applies from the beginning of August.

"You will all soon get a letter for your parents where I will write to the parents that we are sorry, but that we will not be offering any food for everyone at the beginning of the next school year."

The Peter Petersen Primary School in Neukölln does not have an auditorium, the student parliament meets in the theater. The classrooms are too small and there are no specialist rooms. 300 children are currently attending the school.

Survey among children: "So in our school there is no more space for a canteen room. - And it would be even more effort, I would think, with the food, which would have to be brought here. - That we have no room where we can offer the food . "

Lots of creative ideas when looking for a room

Everyone likes the idea of ​​having lunch together as a class. Therefore, many ideas will soon be on the table: Install elevators so that school meals can be delivered to all floors - then you could eat in class. Or: eat in the yard.

"About your idea of ​​eating in the yard. Okay, maybe you could put up a tent there."

Headmistress Hildegard Greif-Groß has a different idea: Since the primary school next door also has the same problem, perhaps both schools could use the municipal gallery in the neighboring Körnerpark as a cafeteria. Before that, of course, art would have to move out.

"The Art Office will be there for the time being. If politicians decide something like that, then you have to consider whether art for - how many visitors will they have - art for 500 visitors a year - is just as important as food for 600 children."

Necessity is the mother of invention

Every fifth elementary school in the capital has serious problems with the food supply, according to the elementary school association. The country has decided on the free lunch, the districts have to implement it. Time is of the essence, the summer holidays will start in just under five weeks.

Necessity is the mother of invention. And so the responsible city councilor in the Mitte district, Carsten Spallek, has a very original idea - a collaboration with restaurants "that only open in the afternoon. And you try to cooperate because you don't have space on your own premises and you can say how it looks like we rent a room with you? We are that creative already, inevitably. Because well meant is not well done. "

And there are other concerns. Who is responsible for supervision while the children are eating - teachers? In the end, doesn't too much food end up in the trash - because what doesn't cost anything is worth nothing?

Politicians wonder about unsatisfied schools

The red-red-green Senate, in turn, is annoyed. The government spends many millions to support Berlin families who urgently need it, but they only complain.

"It is seldom the case that schools scream hurray when we introduce innovations," says Maja Lasic, the spokeswoman for education policy for the SPD parliamentary group. "We take the problem seriously, but consider it manageable, otherwise we would not have passed the law. It will work."

The SPD politician believes that the problems raised by the elementary schools are merely theoretical. Because it is currently completely unclear how many students registered for the free lunch. That's true. On the one hand. On the other hand, schools and caterers must be prepared for a possible rush after the summer vacation.

In any case, the headmistress Hildegard Greif-Groß has made up her mind. At the Petersen Elementary School in Neukölln there will be - illegally - no hot lunch after the summer vacation. "I think I am old enough to say that I am not doing something that I find nonsensical." As before, the children at their school will either go to after-school care or go home.