Cafeteria Kitchen Deemed Unsafe


Jaycee Walden

After the a beam broke in the cafeteria kitchen, engineers deemed the space unsafe.

(This story is developing. Updated Nov. 25 at 11:38 a.m.)

“This is just one of those things in life that you have to go through,” Principal Dee Palmore says as he rushingly pass out plates to each anticipating, hungry student in line. “The things where you have to go through the worst to get to the best.”

On Tuesday, the last day of transported meals, the cafeteria line stretches out past the cafeteria doors for a lunch of chicken sandwiches, a student favorite.

“This is certainly going good,” Palmore said. “With the beam fixed, we are certainly on the brighter side of the situation now.”

With the steel beam still undergoing repairs, the cafeteria staff will not be cooking meals from the kitchen for the remainder of the week.

“Everything should be fixed after the Thanksgiving break,”cafeteria manager Debbie Standley said. “Until then breakfast and lunch will be provided free for all students, faculty and staff.”

On Monday the cafeteria served hot cheeseburgers and pinto beans made in an oven that was taken out of the cafeteria and pre-packaged applesauce.

“Everybody needs a hot meal once and a while,” Standley said. “We decided that sandwiches were only good for a short term, for [Monday] and [Tuesday] we will be preparing cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches, (respectively) because I know that all the students love those.”

The cafeteria staff has been granted access to the kitchen only for cleaning purposes.

Day two of the sack lunches included a club style sandwich, goldfish  and the choice of an apple or orange along with 2% white or chocolate milk for the students.

“The sack lunches are actually going smoother than I thought,” Standley said. “The lines are certainly moving faster than normal, and I see a lot more students eating in the cafeteria. Some students make little comments while picking up the meals, but I haven’t received any complaints from students or parents.”

Even though the sack lunches may be quicker, easier and cleaner than the hot meals, the cafeteria staff is looking forward to getting back in the kitchen whenever it is deemed safe.

“The repair is going well from what I hear,” Standley said. “We hope to be cooking hot breakfasts and lunches for students very quickly.”

The cafeteria kitchen is closed due to a support beam that was deemed not safe for the staff’s environment.

“Because student safety is the first priority of the district,” WFISD said in a news release. “We will be closing the Rider kitchen temporarily until structural engineers have an opportunity to assess the situation.”

Students who eat on-campus will be handed a brown sack filled with a ham and cheese sandwich, cold pinto beans and either an apple or an orange along with 2% white or chocolate milk.

Today and “Friday the district will be providing sack lunches and cold breakfasts to Rider High School students at no cost,” WFISD said in a news release. “Students are also welcome to bring their own lunch from home.”

Executive assistant to the principal Montie Carroll said yesterday that an engineer came in and noticed a crack in a support beam in the ceiling. It had dropped six inches, and the space was big enough to fit a person’s hand through it. Assistant Principal Braveboy also said engineers are doing everything to make sure the cafeteria is safe for students. Administration will receive more information about the safety of the kitchen once engineers know everything is working properly. Upon learning of the architectural situation going on in their school, students are expressing concern for the safety of the rest of the school facility as well.

“I feel very unsafe about the broken support beam,” freshman Isiah Sauceda said. “Who knows how long it has been broken? [Rider] is an old school. If this is broken then what assures us of the safety of the rest of the school?”

With more than 40 percent of the student body on free or reduced lunch and the restriction of freshman and sophomore students to stay on campus for lunch, some students have no choice but to eat the sack lunches.

“The sack lunches are okay,” freshman Kali Beal said. “I prefer hot lunches, but regular sandwiches are a blast from the past.”