HISD's Breakfast Was Pop Tarts and Animal Crackers

The upcoming cost-savings cutback in hours for cafeteria workers in the Houston ISD brought union leader Orell Fitzsimmons over to two HISD elementaries this week and when he looked in on the actual breakfast being served, he was not amused.

"Milk, juice, Pop Tarts and animal crackers!" the field director for the Service Employees International Union Local 100 announced at Thursday night's school board meeting. "Can anyone defend this?"

That was at Looscan Elementary. At Montgomery Elementary where he visited on another day the breakfast was marginally better: a banana instead of the animal crackers. But then the teacher in the classroom he was in topped everything off with a special treat of her own -- a Shipley's donut for every child who finished his breakfast, Fitzsimmons said.

"Why don't we use science instead of sugar? Our children need real food not processed food," he told the board.

He passed out fliers complete with a chart showing Pop Tarts have 200 calories and animal crackers 130.

Fitzsimmons is not a fan of Aramark, the food service contractor based out of Philadelphia that HISD uses and has criticized its breakfast program before.

Outside the meeting, he told of picking up a sealed Aramark breakfast with a chicken biscuit and eggs that he didn't open. Two and a half weeks later, he said, the eggs look just as they did when he first got them. "They are saturated with preservatives.".

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
Contact: Margaret Downing