“How much for a shake man?” That question apparently gets whispered in an Indiana cafeteria during lunch. According to a school official, school lunches have gotten so bland, students are sneaking seasonings like salt, pepper and sugar into school – and even selling them on a lunchroom black market.
The revelation comes as state and local school officials testify before Congress on the federal government’s nutrition standards for school meals. The current program, which was originally launched in 2010, has to be reauthorized this year, and Congress is determining if changes should be made.
According to the Indy Star, students selling salt was brought up by John Payne, president of Indiana’s Blackford County School Board of Trustees and a director of the Indiana School Board Association saying, “This ‘contraband’ economy is just one example of many that reinforce the call for flexibility.”
Annie Baddoo, principal of Blackford High School, confirmed Payne’s story, telling Fusion that students were reacting to new lower sodium school lunch standards by selling salt to classmates in the cafeteria for “a dollar a shake.” According to Baddoo, she has since put an end to the practice.
Of course, this is America, so politics may be at play. President Obama’s administration mandated the current nutritional standards, creating a natural divide along party lines. For those interested in undermining the president’s agenda, tales of kids selling salt is a hell of a hook for a media looking for clickable headlines. So though I’m not questioning the veracity of Payne’s statements, somehow I’m guessing this black market hasn’t gotten so out of hand that parents are resorting to marking lines on their shakers to make sure not a drop of sodium has gone missing.