BVI News

School gives assurance as parents complain about high prices, unhealthy foods at ESHS

By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff

Administrators of Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) are assuring parents that concerns about high prices and unhealthy foods being offered by some vendors at the school’s two locations are being addressed. 

On Friday, September 13, a parent who spoke on condition of anonymity told BVI News that she and several other parents were outraged by the cost and quality of lunches available to children at ESHS.

The mother of two, whose children are in the senior and junior school respectively, said that during the first week of school, parents have had to be leaving their jobs to bring food for their children on a daily basis 

“I’ve been to that school for the past three days having to take lunch for my son in the junior high and you should see the amount of parents that are there trying to get lunch to their kids. I thought it was only myself that was complaining. But then speaking to the other parents, they were saying they don’t know what to do because they were promised that affordable vendors and healthy foods would be available to the children,” she said.

The parent also said some students of the senior school were made to eat in the sun since most could not fit under the two tents provided just outside of on the school compound. 

She also said only three vendors are available on the school’s property and this limited number has resulted in some students having limited time to eat after waiting long periods for their food.

Pricing and Food Quality to be handled by Ministry

When BVI News spoke to the school’s Pastoral Principal, Donna Clyne-Thomas, about the issue, she explained that some of the vendors were not sticking to the terms that were agreed with the school. But she assured that the Ministry of Education will be working to get those issues fixed.

“The school shares the concern for some of the pricing and those need to be fixed. I don’t know how far it’s gone but we are aware that some of the pricing is high and we aren’t supporting it because students should not have to pay those fees.”

Clyne-Thomas further said the majority of vendors at the high school had reasonable prices ranging from $5 to $7 for students and also provided a healthy menu option to choose from. She added that It was only a few of the vendors who were selling the fast-food type meals and at prices above the standard expected for children.

Vendors shortage no more!

She also admitted that there was a shortage of vendors during the first week but confirmed that the issue had been rectified since.

“In the beginning, we did have a shortage of vendors only because the vendors needed to be set up and get themselves ready to meet our need. As of today (September 16), I spent the whole day on the junior school campus. We have 11 vendors,. Lunch went beautifully well, the lines were not long and within 20-30 minutes, everyone got some kind of lunch. Maybe they were complaining because things weren’t perfect the first few days last week,” Mrs Clyne-Thomas stated.

She further said that during the shortage at the senior campus in Pasea Estate, students were allowed to get food by the nearby RiteWay Food Store if accompanied by a teacher.

Children have options on where to eat

The Pastoral Principal, however, denied claims that students were made to eat outside in the sun and revealed that there were other options made available for them.

“That’s not true,” she said while responding to the claim. “We have the entire ground floor of classrooms opened for them to eat. Those students are in the sun because they want to be talking in their little cliques. The school is open and have classrooms available for them.”

Response by vendors

BVI News also spoke to a number of vendors at the senior division to get an idea of their menus being offered to the students. All the vendors our news centre interviewed with had prices ranging from $5 to $7.

Jay Thompson of Good Eats Catering said she provides a variety of healthy foods on a daily basis and said the students were happy with the prices.

“It is phenomenal and overwhelming, I am getting good feedback from the kids. When I tell them they are getting mutton, macaroni, rice, pasta, coleslaw and plantain for $7. They can’t believe it,” Thomas said.

Thomas who has a son in the 10th grade said having outrageous prices for students is not good for business.

“I’ve been hearing complaints that some people are charging $12 to $14 and at the end of the day they are kids. So if you want them to come back, you have to set a better price,” Thomas added.

Rosey Catering Services offers a variety of foods in small or large portions, at $5 and $7 respectively. These include oxtail, curry chicken, lasagne, barbequed chicken, shrimp alfredo and local drinks.

This is the second time since the beginning of the new school year that the ESHS has faced criticism from parents on a public platform.

Just last week a parent took to social media to question the school on their rules regarding the uniform dress code for females. The school has since rubbished those claims.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

25 Comments

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  1. Online Now says:

    Why don’t they just take sandwiches from home?

    Like 40
    • carl says:

      The parents just need to cook.The first day of school I had an early appointment so I could not cook I give my child 6.00 to buy lunch. when she came home she said if you can not cook I will the food was for 8.00 for a little chicken n macaroni taste was horrible the lines were crap. So that problem was solve by my child

  2. A thought says:

    In the US the parents prepare a sandwich, fruit and a drink and their child takes it with him to school. Perhaps the fat lazy Mama’s in the BVI got off their lard a$$es and made their child a lunch they wouldn’t complain and they would save some money. You people are truly unbelievable. Oh and by the way if anyone answers that the BVI is not the US then keep them home after high school and don’t send them to the US

    Like 46
    Dislike 7
    • Please says:

      Not sure where you got that from, you watch to much TV. I attended public schools (Elementary and High Schools) in NY & Florida
      In the US the choice is up to the parents if they want to provide lunch for their child. You can either send a packed lunch or pay for lunch in the cafeteria. The cost is dependent on your income; and that is most schools on the east coast Public and Private. We also had to pay resource fees, and book fees as well.

      Like 3
      Dislike 5
      • @Please says:

        So I take it your one of the locals that was birthed in the US, sponges off the US and then returned to the BVI to accept some overpaid position. I can also assume that you pay no US taxes as required by all US citizens regardless of their place of employment. The IRS pays rewards for turning in people that do this. Please post your name. I also bet you applied for food stamps and free lunches in school. You all make me puke.

        Like 6
        Dislike 2
    • A sandwich is not THAT difficult to make... says:

      ..the REAL question is why the high school students aren’t making their own sandwiches to take to school? It has nothing to do with mamas, fat or otherwise (or even fathers for that matter). It’s not rocket science.

    • Tolian Abroad says:

      In US (also US VI)you have a choice of lunch prepared in or you bringing your own.
      They will not stay in Tila after graduation since the majority are US citizens, you go figure.

  3. NONSENSE says:

    They will find all kinds of things to complain about. That is why them cannot get them children control. what they needs to be doing is teaching their kids RESPECT FOR THE TEACHERS.

    Like 31
  4. ? says:

    Am a parent and i get up each morning and provide breakfast and lunch for my children i know parents work at different hours but you can’t depend on vendors along to make your children have a good meal some of these vendors are so nasty when coming to food preparation please parents remember you can’t be to busy or tried to take care of your children.

    Like 28
  5. Stop complain says:

    So, is the school stopping them from walking with their own lunch to school? Or is it that the children these days have too much pride to bring lunch to school. Parents, please stop complain…cook your children lunch at home and send them to school, end of story.

    Like 30
  6. Healthy Foods? says:

    At the end of the day you can’t be preaching about healthy foods if the children don’t want to eat it. A food vendor can’t expect to spend their money to provide something that the children will not buy and then the vendor ends up losing money in the process.

    Perhaps in some the general assemblies they can bring in someone who can speak to the students about healthy eating and the consequences of eating fried food and sugary drinks every day.

  7. Struggling Local says:

    Our lifestyle has caused a ripple effect down to our children. Fathers are non-existent in the home, mothers are in offices over working instead of having time at home and grandparents too busy trying to act young again instead of leading through wisdom and passing on good counsel. This food problem is a symptom of a bigger issue….

    Like 27
    Dislike 1
  8. Really says:

    Mr. governor it seems like we should start issuing licenses to procreate parents need to meet certain criteria in order to reproduce.

    In the future we wouldn’t be having these issues

  9. Sue says:

    I don’t understand us a parents fussing about the people’s food that is sold at the school. Why we as parents don’t get up and cook our children food or teach them to cook and take their food to school ,they know what they eaten because they did it themselves, instead of complaining of the unhealthy as they call it or the high prices. This i find disgusting of us as parents and utter nonsense. I bet you anything that our children have the top of the line gadgets and every pan knock they there to opening and closing of the even. When I was growing up at the age of 10 I could wash cook and clean my mother had seven children and no help so we had to learn to do everything while she work day and night. We didn’t have all the fancy thing in life we learned and make do to what was given to us, today is no exceptions. Parents bring up your child or children correctly nothing is wrong with the old time fashion way it didn’t kill us it made us wiser better and stronger and who we are today. Teach them what is right principles, value, honesty, morals and be appreciative what is been taught to them instead of complaining of everything the school is doing the rules nothing has change.

    Like 17
  10. Yawn says:

    These parents now a days too busy living their life to prepare a meal for themselves and their children. I don’t blame all of them though because some can’t even cook. First they complain about the uniform now this. This is the reason why the children are delinquent. Bad parenting almost always lead to bad children. I’m sure momma had time for Facebook or to watch tv that mean momma got time to cook a healthy meal to save her money and ensure the child eats well.

    Like 11
  11. Parent says:

    I have a son just started The second day I sent my son to school with his lunch I saw him putting it in his book bag I asked him why he doing that he said the children say they will bullie him which is not right but I never stop giving him lunch

    • Smh says:

      The perents #the mothers and fathers is who raised them kids to be soo to bully other children in school and not in school that’s y some perents rather keep there kid at home teach them or send them to a better school.. Eshs yall pose to be better than that make sure our kids feel safe going to school and coming from school every day our kids end up on social media fighting and I know yall parents embarrassed seeing ur child fight other kids or see them getting beat
      Parents step up talk more.!!!

  12. Ghetto mentality says:

    These issues are a result of a ghetto mentality in the BVI Public Schools. We are in the year 2019, why is school children buying lunch from unhealthy food trucks and unkept food stalls? No one in the Government has the vision to build a good Cafeteria or food court that would house at least ten to fifteen vendors to provide healthy lunches for students. Yet they could spend money on all sorts of unnecessary things, absolutely NO VISION.

    • Thank you Ghetto says:

      For asking the most sensible question yet. Why is this being allowed? For greed and a few damn votes. We will sacrifice anything, even our children! Set of jokers.

  13. No excuses. says:

    Having a cafeteria selling fresh fruit and veg grown locally would not only provide a healthy diet for our kids but also support the local farmers.

    And by the way. My 7 year old knows how to maker a sandwich and cut her fruit. Why are we as parents not teaching the kids the skills they need to become independent young adults?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Jesus is Lord!! What have we been putting in our heads, while in school, before we became parents?

    Geezzeee!! This is some atrocious stuff on here.

    Who is at fault for the glaring . evident short comings on display here, the home environment, parents and their educational deficiencies and deferred values, the teacher, the education system, the curriculum, the student deferred indifference to learning, society or all of the above?

    Or, is it only those that were weak in english are the ones commenting here?

    Perhaps, is this a larger reflection of the teaching learning system?

    Why, after so many decades of educating, and so many billions of dollars being put into it, there appear so many still deficient and unskilled with basic use of the language?

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  15. Real parent says:

    I have a 9 grader and every morning at 5 am i am up cooking lunch for us.I dont buy food on the streets, it is less expensive and more nutricious to cook a meal daily than to spend almost $20 daily for food plus taxi fare.
    More love is put into preparing a meal for your kid than for them buying it.
    My child told me that his friends compared the taste of his home cooked spagetti and meatballs to the one that they buy from a vendor.
    Parents take a little hour and cook healthy food for your kids.

  16. Hmmm says:

    When I was in primary school, my mother made lunch for me almost every day. When I started high school, it became my responsibility to prepare my lunch. Most often, I went home for lunch (because I lived in walking distance of school) but sometimes I wanted to hang out with my friends so I walked with lunch. No one cared or bullied me, in fact some of my friends envied that I had somewhere to go to to relax at lunch time. My parents made sure there was always food in the house that I cold prepare myself. Admittedly I was a bit unsure of myself when I started to cook, but as I got better I grew to love it. And when I went off to university I felt confident of myself because I met a lot of people who couldn’t cook but I could. It saved me money because I didn’t have to eat out a lot and I wasn’t depressed (or tired) because I wasn’t stuck eating just ramen or sandwiches.

    Learning to cook, is an important life skill. High schoolers (and Junior High schoolers) are old enough to know how to do simple things like prepare a sandwich or make pasta or make a simple salad. Lemonade isn’t too hard to make either. What are kids learning if at that age they either don’t know how to do something so basic or think it’s beneath them to learn how to fend for themselves? What are parents doing if they can’t be bothered to ensure that their kids eat well?

    Lastly, let’s not pretend as though there isn’t a major health crisis in the community. The convenience of process food and fast food is negatively affecting our health. If the truth were to be told, what the kids are eating out on the street is probably the same or better than what they are eating at home. Go to any grocery store or fast food place at 5pm-7pm and there’s a whole load of people buying food to take home to their family. People don’t cook anymore. I don’t have children yet but I have heard plenty of friends and co-workers bragging about how their kids can use the microwave. For a lot of children, nutrition is now their responsibility because either their parents are too busy or distracted with the TV and the internet.

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