School district on dirty dining: “It’s embarrassing”

Published: Updated:

LEE COUNTY, Fla. – The Lee County School District said it will change the way it monitors high school concession stands after a WINK News Call for Action investigation uncovered filthy conditions at nearly all of its high school concession stands.

UPDATE: A Call for Action investigation into dirty concession stands at Lee County schools apparently upset the district so much they “robocalled” and emailed every single parent with a child in district schools. The call focused on a headline WINK News used, which contained the words “school kitchens.” The school district’s complaint is our use of the words “school kitchens” implied “cafeterias.” Our investigation found the Lee County School District had been cited 56 times during the 2014-2015 school year for “unsatisfactory conditions” inside concession stands at district high schools. WINK News would like to reiterate these concession stands are kitchens. They store, prepare and serve food to you and your kids. In the district’s message to parents Monday night, they also said “the issues have been addressed.” In the interest of clarity in our story, the Director of Student Services said they are now beginning to fix the problem because WINK News brought it to their attention.


WINK News investigators read through 134 Department of Health inspection reports for the 2014-2015 school year and what we found was disturbing. Of the 134 inspection reports completed to date, 56 of those reports were marked ‘unsatisfactory’ by the inspector. Some of the inspector’s notes included, “dead roaches observed throughout kitchen, roach and rodent debris observed throughout kitchen, moldy fruit stored in [a] GE fridge, mold-like substance in coffee maker, blue liquid in bottle labeled water, dead roach in freezer, rotten food in fridges, and lizard in reach-in.”

The Health Department inspects concession stands at random twice a year, between the periods of October through March and April through September. If a concession stand does not receive a satisfactory rating, the inspector will typically come back about a week later to do a re-inspection. In some cases, inspectors had to do a total of three inspections before schools had cleaned up the stands to meet health standards.

Documents obtained by WINK News show Fort Myers High School was charged $300 this year because the inspector had to come out three times to review four of the school’s concession stands.

DISTRICT: “The report was disturbing at best”

After reviewing the 134 reports and collecting data, Call for Action investigators took our findings to the Lee County School District. In an interview with Dr. Pete Bohatch, the Director of Student Services, he admitted they had dropped the ball.

“We appreciate you bringing it to our attention. This is something that’s unacceptable and we’re on it. I was on it as soon as we got those reports,” Dr. Bohatch said. “Obviously there’s been a disconnect in the process of keeping these places clean. It’s embarrassing.”

Dr. Bohatch said ultimately the cleanliness of each schools’ concession stand is dependent on the principal; however, he now plans to oversee them. Bohatch said after WINK News passed along our findings, he immediately contacted each principal and asked they submit proposals on how to fix the problem.

“We’ve heard from some schools already and one school said part of their plan will be pre-inspection prior to every event and then a post-inspection after every game,” he said. “I will be involved for inspecting that the process will be followed.”

Bohatch, who also oversees the schools’ athletic directors said he will make ‘concession stands’ a standard topic at monthly meetings. He also said they have discussed hosting training on safe food handling for anyone who oversees or volunteers to work the concession stands.

“I can assure you if we’re sitting here this time next year that things are going to change because the message is loud and clear from staff to the principals. Fix it.”


Of the 13 high schools in the district, only three schools’ concession stands passed their first inspection this year: East Lee County, Lehigh Senior and Riverdale.

Cape Coral High School had three unsatisfactory reports on Sept. 9, 2014 at the Indoor, NW and SW concession stands. The issues were resolved by the re-inspection.

Cypress Lake High School had three unsatisfactory reports during this school year. The baseball concession received two unsatisfactory reports. One on Aug. 25, 2014 and another on Feb. 24, 2015. The gym concession received an unsatisfactory report on Feb. 24, 2015. All issues were resolved by the re-inspections.

Dunbar High School had seven unsatisfactory reports this school year. The band, baseball and gym concession were all unsatisfactory on Sept. 16, 2014. Issues were resolved by re-inspection. On March 12, 2015 the athletic, gym and band concessions were marked unsatisfactory. The band concession had three inspections this spring, until it was finally deemed satisfactory on April 21, 2015.

Estero High School had five unsatisfactory reports this school year. The football/soccer, indoor and baseball stand all received unsatisfactory reports on Feb. 5, 2015. The baseball and football/soccer stands had to be inspected three times before health standards where met on Feb. 26, 2015.

Fort Myers High School has received 11 unsatisfactory reports this school year. The athletic booster, band and gym concessions all did not pass their first inspections last September. The athletic booster, band, baseball/softball and gym stands were all marked unsatisfactory on March 25, 2015. All four came back unsatisfactory after a re-inspection on April 15, 2015 and were each charged a $75 re-inspection fee. The stands are scheduled to be re-inspected May 6.

Ida Baker has received eight unsatisfactory reports this school year. On Sept. 9, 2014, the gym, visitor and home concession stands were all listed as unsatisfactory. The same concessions were marked as unsatisfactory two months later. In April 2015 the baseball/softball and home concession stands were listed as unsatisfactory. Those concessions were scheduled to be re-inspected May 1, 2015. We are still waiting for the documents from those reports.

Island Coast received four unsatisfactory reports this school year. The gym and home concessions did not pass inspections on Sept. 4, 2014. Those same concession stands were marked unsatisfactory March 26, 2015.

Mariner High School received six unsatisfactory reports this school year. The gym and marching band concessions were marked unsatisfactory on Sept. 16, 2014. The same stands received unsatisfactory reports this April. They are scheduled to have re-inspections on May 7, 2015. Meanwhile, in February 2015, the baseball stand had three inspections before it received a satisfactory report.

North Fort Myers High School received seven unsatisfactory reports this school year. On Sept. 2, 2014 the band, basketball, softball and quarterback club stands all received unsatisfactory reports. On Jan. 20, 2015 the baseball, basketball and softball concession stands were unsatisfactory.

South Fort Myers High School received two unsatisfactory reports this school year. Both of those were Feb. 5, 2015 at the indoor and stadium concessions.


At the end of our interview with Dr. Bohatch, he invited Call for Action investigators to come with him, at random, to tour a concession stand next school year after they have changed policies.

“I can assure you this is an easy fix and it will not happen again.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.