Leyden Administrators Clarify the Leyden Lunch System

Natalie Taborska, Editor-in-Chief

After some initial confusion over where IDs are required during lunch, Mrs. Elenda Lee, the food service supervisor, has confirmed that every student needs their ID when going to buy lunch, no matter if they pay with their ID, with cash, or have free or reduced lunches. However, contrary to popular belief, students do not need their ID when paying with cash at the snack bar.

Leyden is part of the USDA’s National Lunch Program which federally assists “over 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions.” This program gives schools money back for each meal they sell.

Here at Leyden, “There are two categories of purchases” explained Mrs. Elenda Lee. The first category is meals, and Leyden gets different reimbursements, basically money back, based on whether the meal was free, reduced, or regular. Now, because Leyden receives these reimbursements, they have to prove that students are actually buying these lunches and the school isn’t just inputting fake lunches to make some extra money.

Dean of Students Mr. Michael Grosch says that the IDs help “to make sure the school is in compliance” with the National Lunch Program, so to prove these lunch purchases to the USDA, students swipe their IDs and then the meal has a face and an ID number tied to it. This makes it much easier when Leyden is being audited, or being financially examined by the USDA, all of the work is already done and concrete and there is little room for error.

When it comes to the snack bar, it turns out that there was just a large misunderstanding among all the lunch staff. Students were being asked to swipe for these snacks, which are not part of the reimbursement program. Now, it’s been clarified for everyone that if a student pays cash at the snack bar, they do not need their ID. Lee said that “this is good news for some students” because at least the students who don’t have their IDs can still buy a snack with cash.

Nevertheless, even though students might not need their IDs when going to the snack bar, they still might want to have it on them. It’s important to remember that the Leyden handbook states that failure to carry or show an ID card can result in “permanent removal from class, parent conference, detention,” and, in the more severe cases, students can get sent to BIC or even receive out-of-school suspension for never having an ID on them.

Mr. Grosch has been stressing the idea of students having their ID’s on them at all times because “it’s like a driver’s license” or like an actual state ID and this way, when students graduate, they’ll be able to remember to carry all of their identification cards with them at all times.