Lee County schools surveying parents about food options

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Lee County parents concerned about what their children are eating at school have a chance to sound off.

The School District of Lee County is conducting a survey about the way parents feel about the items on their menus. Fort Myers pediatrician Dr. Annette Mackoul anticipates the district will hear plenty of complaints about how healthy the breakfast and lunch choices are.

“Unfortunately a lot of the kids are not happy with the quality of the food,” she said.

Sugar is of particular concern.

“The amount that’s recommended is far less than what the students are getting in their school lunches and breakfasts,” Mackoul said.

Thursday’s breakfast menu at Heights Elementary featured Belgian waffle sticks and sausage patties with vegetables and potatoes on the side.

“The Belgian waffles are very poor nutritionally for the kids,” Mackoul said.

Bob O’Tierney, parent of a Lee County first-grader, wants to see better options.

“I’d like to see a little more vegetables and fruit,” O’Tierney said. “He loves fruit. He will eat fruit all day long.”

But Carol Thompson, whose granddaughter is a Lee County student, isn’t dissatisfied.

“She tells me that she likes it,” Thompson said of her granddaughter. “She into the salads and the vegetables and stuff like that. And the fruit, and chocolate milk of course.”

Regardless of their feelings, Mackoul wants to see parents tell the district exactly how they feel.

“Surveys are remarkably effective,” she said. “I would encourage parents to be brutally honest.”

The district hasn’t responded to an inquiry about exactly what it intends to do with the data it gathers.

Click here to take part in the survey.

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