Food drop-off in front office now prohibited

An+array+of+lunches+sit+on+the+office%27s+front+counter%2C+causing+numerous+bugs+and+smells.

Photo provided by: Lori Pristera

An array of lunches sit on the office's front counter, causing numerous bugs and smells.

Parents can no longer drop off food for their child in the front office, due to staff complaints, safety concerns, and odors originating from the food levels.

Students will instead be allowed to pick up food from their parents at the front of the school at lunchtime, in a similar fashion to the morning drop-off cycle.

“We were having a ton of problems with [the lunches],” said Principal Kim Stephenson. “One, it is unprofessional looking. Two, it’s a safety hazard because we don’t know who’s giving the food or what is in the food. Three, we don’t have the staff to look over [the lunches]. Four, it’s not right for our staff to work in an environment like that, that smells from the food. [Having food bags in the front office] was just really complicating things.”

Cam High, as well as many other schools in the Oxnard Union High School District, had allowed parents to drop packages in the office for many years in the past; however, the increasing amounts of food being brought into the office daily have caused unprecedented problems.

“It’s just something that’s reached a ridiculous point,” said Ms. Lori Pristera, English teacher and ASB Director. “When people walk into the office, they see [all the food] and the receptionist. There’s no other schools that have this problem.”

Ms. Jeanette Salice, Cam High school receptionist, welcomes the change, as it resolves the problem of stolen lunches. “I’ve been getting calls from parents and others complaining about the food disappearing,” said Salice. “Students just pick up their food from the office, and I’m not sure if the correct students are picking it up. There are always so many people, and I can’t keep track of them all.”

Despite the trouble caused by food in the office, some students oppose the change, saying that allowing students to pick up food in the front office is beneficial to those who are unable to make food or don’t have time to grab a lunch.“I don’t think that [banning lunch drop-offs] is a wise decision [considering] the people who can’t get their food and need to get it from the office,” said Brett Triebold, senior. “I know it helps me a lot to get [my lunch] from the office, because I’m in sports.”

As an alternative to dropping off food, students will be allowed to pick up food from their parents in the front of the school or buy food from the cafeteria. If students are unable to pay for school lunches on a particular day, free milk, fruits, and vegetables are also available at the cafeteria. Each time a student gets this, it is recorded by the student’s ID number. If they reach the limit for the number of free lunches available to each student, they will not be allowed to get it again.

Stephenson consulted both the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) and the School Site Council before making the policy change.