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Wait, What?!

Written by Bjenning Oct 12, 2007

Being a citizen in the wealthiest nation on the face of the planet affords you comforts that other countries could scarcely imagine. It also ensures that certain standards of treatment, climate control, clean water, sanitary food, are things that no person should have to worry about. The technology exists, and there is certainly enough money. So could someone please, please, tell me why a school in New Jersey has kids eating off the floor?

I would understand (maybe, though probably not) if this school was in some of the poorest neighborhoods of a suffering city like Detroit, or Chicago, but it’s not. It’s in a town called Mahwah, a small town in New Jersey where the median income (middle income in the area) is a whopping $79,500, a full $30,000 over the national average. How is it possible then, that their school system is so decrepit that a school of 1,000 has a cafeteria that only fits 300? Obviously the math teachers in that school need to go back and relearn arithmetic.

Now, as if eating on the floor like a dog isn’t insult enough, apparently, it’s also not very good for you. Who knew?!

Renowned microbiologist Dr. Philip Tierno warns 80 percent of all infectious diseases are spread through contact. So when a child touches the floor to sit, then touches a sandwich, whatever is on the floor can then be ingested.

“I would categorize it as stupid,” Tierno said. “I would characterize it as primitive, and the scourge of third world countries.

“You may be stepping on the fecal matter, sputum, blood, urine.”

Hmmm, fecal matter, sputum, blood and urine you say? Damn, that’s the worst secret sauce for the mystery meat I’ve ever heard of! Well, at least now the kids can complain about more than just the lack of robust flavor in cafeteria food. Oh but wait, it gets better!

The school would not release their own specific results from bacterial swab tests, but a parent forwarded those results sent home Wednesday, confirming the presence of dangerous pathogens like E. coli and enterococcus found in feces.

Since our interview, the school says it forbids the floor dining, opting instead for gym bleachers and other seating.

I gotta hand it to the school, some people would build a bigger dining hall to house everyone. Others might do something as radical as making 3 lunch periods so as to minimize the number of people without tables, but instead, the school just throws the rest of them in the gym. It’s tragic to think that the town can’t find the money to fix this, I can’t help but wonder what would change if the kids themselves could vote on the matter. Who knows, maybe they like E. Coli, I hear it tastes like candy.

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