Mansfield students launch lunch boycott after board bans in-school pizza parties Maryellen Hill Sun-Gazette Staff MANSFIELD No more pizza parties at Mansfield High School? A recent decision by the Southern Tioga School Board to eliminate such parties and other kinds of celebrations is not sitting well with students and theyve let their feeling be known by launching a brown bag boycott. For the last week or so, a number of students have been shunning the school cafeteria, choosing instead to take their own lunches to school and thats had an impact on cafeteria finances. On Monday, school board members heard from two students Preston Jaquish, senior class treasurer and James Yscamp, also a senior, who voiced students displeasure with the recent edict against pizza parties and the like. District superintendent Joseph Kalata said the decision following concerns that pizza eaten before the lunch period spoiled students appetites. Many students, he said, chose not to buy their lunch at the school, while others were throwing out significant quantities of food. Kalata called the decision against pizza parties temporary, adding that Karen Sick, food services director, had been unfairly blamed for the decision. He stressed that the decision was made by the administration. All we want is to serve nutritious food and pizza parties are preventing that, Kalata said. While maintaining that pizza was not a nutritious food, he said We have a responsibility to provide students with good lunches, too. He acknowledged that pizza is sometimes served in the cafeteria, but suggested it was not a particularly good food to be eaten at 9 a.m. Meanwhile, business manager James Rakoski reported December losses of $2,600 in the breakfast program and $3,600 in the lunch program. We are losing money for the year in our food programs and may need to increase prices next year, he told the board. Jaquish was quick to note that the lunch program had been losing money already, and the students boycott would only serve to compound the problem. It has to be cheaper to let the students have their pizza parties than to continue to lose all that money, he suggested. The students said the protest began as a senior class issue. But we've gotten great support from the underclassmen, Jaquish observed. Posters encouraging student participation in the boycott had been taped in the hallways. Jaquish observed that very few were purchasing lunches last week when the protest shifted into high gear. The problem is that $1.75 doesn't buy much in the cafeteria and students are hungry, he said. A mid-morning pizza party could help curb students hunger, he told the board. Kalata characterized the student boycott as very respectful and said that if cafeteria staff had advance notice of the parties, less food might be prepared and less waste would result. He also told the students that a decision regarding pizza parties would be made by the end of the month. link Thats great, the students voiced there opinion with their pocket book and the administration had to take notice.