Oklahoma school district feeds students during teacher strike

An Oklahoma school district is using their school buses as mobile cafeterias to feed students during the statewide teachers strike.

Nutrition workers for the Oklahoma City school district have still been preparing meals for students despite schools remaining closed for the ninth consecutive day, The Associated Press reported on Thursday.

Employees packed ice chests with sandwiches, fruit, milk and water. School bus drivers then drove the meals to places were the students were gathering while school isn’t in session, targeting poorer neighborhoods.

The district has served 17,000 sack lunches this week at about 30 sites including community centers, parks and churches, the AP reported.

The district nutrition team fed 80 elementary school children at the South Lindsay Baptist Church, which has become the impromptu home for a Boys and Girls Club.

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Otis Moses, a supervisor for the district’s meal services division, said his staff joined forces to support teachers and students during the walkout.

“Yes, we’re ready to get our students back in school and back in the buildings,” Moses told the AP. “But, at the same point in time, we’re going to do what we can do from a nutrition standpoint to help our children out every day.”

After-school programs are being forced to relocate as well while Oklahoma City public school districts remain closed.

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma has sent out two food trucks across Tulsa and volunteers have been serving about 800 lunches a day, the AP reported.

Jimmy Burdette, a multimedia teacher at Broken Arrow High School, jumped onboard to help serve the lunches.

“A lot of them, the only meal they get that’s hot is in school,” Burdette said.

The massive teacher protests have forced school closures since April 2.

Teachers and support staff have walked out to demand higher wages and more funding for school resources.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved pay raises for $6,100 earlier this month, but teachers are saying that it’s not enough to ensure long-term education funding.

The Oklahoma Education Association, a teachers union, said the funding legislation was “incomplete” and began the strike shortly after.

Fallin criticized the teachers for striking and compared them to teenagers “wanting a better car.”