• August 7 Senior Portraits for the Class of 2019 – (PIHS Auditorium)

  • June 18-22 SkillsUSA Nationals – (Louisville, KY)

  • June 18 Last Day of School – 4th Quarter Ends – 43 days – (Early release at 11:30AM).

  • June 14-18 Underclassmen Final Exams – (Includes 5 storm days)

  • June 13 Play Production Performance for HS Students – (P. 6)

Debate Over Food & Drink Memo

Food and Drink Policy Open to Different Interpretations as School Year Winds Down

Seniors+enjoy+their+last+few+moments+of+lunch+socializing+in+Mrs.+Trainer%27s+room
Seniors enjoy their last few moments of lunch socializing in Mrs. Trainer's room

Seniors enjoy their last few moments of lunch socializing in Mrs. Trainer's room

Taylor Fletcher

Taylor Fletcher

Seniors enjoy their last few moments of lunch socializing in Mrs. Trainer's room

Taylor Fletcher and Sydney Craig

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Stairwell where cinder blocks where kicked in and trash was stored near the cafeteria.

It was a typical Monday afternoon when English teacher Mary Trainer broke the news to her fourth period senior English class that drinks and food were not allowed in classrooms any longer. And the next moment, an uproar broke out in the room.

The seniors weren’t happy.

Everyone was asking the same questions “What’s the point?” “Why now? We only have a few weeks left!”

The May 2 memo from District Operations Supervisor Bob Gagnon and Superintendent Brian Carpenter read as follows: “All food and drinks (except water) will be prohibited in all classrooms and hallways throughout the District.”

“The custodians are telling me there’s a problem,” explained Gagnon. According to Gagnon, custodians have been finding chicken nuggets, potato chips, french fries, etc. pushed into heating vents in classrooms, they have also been cleaning up spills constantly in halls and classrooms.

Additionally, over April break when custodians were doing a thorough cleaning of the high school they discovered beneath the stairwell near the cafeteria that cinder blocks had been kicked in and the hole that was made was used as a garbage bin. Custodians pulled out enough drinks, bottles, cups, and take out-bags to fill a 55-gallon trash bag.

“This time of year there’s ants, there has to be mice, and God forbid cockroaches become a problem,” Gagnon said. “This high school administration is new, and they think it’s going well, but my staff tell me differently.”

Four year principal Ben Greenlaw added, “I think that we have found a good middle ground since some concerns arose a few weeks ago concerning eating and drinking in the hallway.”

“It has become worse since we said yes to drinks in the hallway,” said ten year custodian and bus driver Bonnie Burnett.  This new rule went into place during the 2016-17 school year. Burnett is a day time custodian who has seen the effects of drinks and food consumption in the hallways.

“This new rule is not about saving the custodians any time,” said Gagnon, but Burnett adds cleaning up the drinks is, in fact, “Time consuming and very stinky.”

Gagnon’s intentions for this new rule would be to cut out food and drink consumption completely except for in designated areas such as the cafeteria or teachers’ lounges.  However, Greenlaw’s interpretation was that, “We really don’t want people eating breakfast in period one or lunch in period four.”

With all the memos going around there is some confusion among teachers, students, and administration. “My interpretation was we were just going to tighten up on students bringing food in during periods one and four, but I’ve had students come in telling me they can’t have their coffees anymore,” said art teacher Ellyn Whitten-Smith.

Trainer has a different understanding of this ‘new rule.’  “There isn’t a new rule about drinks in the hallways, you can have drinks in the hallways,” she said.

There seems to be some confusion among administrative staff, with one person claiming one interpretation and another person saying something else. Here’s what everyone wants to know. Where are drinks allowed? Where is food allowed and for how much longer? There seems to be no official answer.

Common understanding is that drinks in the hallways are allowed for the remainder of the school year.

Although there is still confusion, since the May 2 memo. Greenlaw said, “Mr. Gagnon has shared with me that there has been less garbage removed from classrooms recently. We will continue to monitor the cleanliness of our school.”

However, others are concerned about future issues that may arise.
History teacher Zack Powers is worried what will happen next. “I think it will bring up old issues: how long is lunch? Open campus policy? Issues of upperclassmen privileges?”

No matter what the rule is concerning food and drinks, both Gagnon and Greenlaw agree on one thing: we have the cleanest schools in Aroostook County.

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