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cmtrydwlr
cmtrydwlr asks:
Q:

How can we reduce food theft in the lunch line?

As a noon aide I am in charge of getting 800+ middle school students thru the lunch line in a timely manner. We do pretty good but now we are having trouble with thefts. Food not money. Anyone have any suggestions on how to curb this problem? We have cut down on the number of students in the building at a time and it seems to be helping but if anyone can suggest something else we would love to hear it.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Mar 31, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Wow, you've got a big job on your hands getting 800+ kids through the lunch line! It's important to try to find out why kids are stealing. Are the kids doing it because they truly don't have enough food to eat, or are they trying to get away with something for a thrill? I'm sure that it is difficult to figure out why they are stealing if you haven't caught anyone doing it yet, so here's an idea to help you catch the thieves. I understand that it must be tough keeping an eye on 800 kids especially if you're short staffed for lunchroom monitors. If there aren't enough staff or teachers to rotate monitoring the lunch room, ask the school administrators to put out a memo to ask for parent volunteers that would be willing to come in and help monitor kids through lunchtime. The only way to find out why kids are stealing is to witness it firsthand and ask the kids themselves. Once you catch the thief/theives and implementing appropriate consequences, chances are the thefts will stop!  Let us know how things are going.

Good Luck!
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (4)

kellysfinn
kellysfinn , Parent writes:
Hi Melanie,<br />
<br />
You certainly have quite a job, 800 middle school students at lunch, I can only imagine! Do you have any idea about what food is being stolen? &nbsp;If it is things like soda, candy, etc. maybe taking the food away for a period of time (like a week) as a punishment might work. Although not all students are participating in the stealing I am sure, punsihing all of them at once by removing the food might motivate the kids who are stealing to stop. &nbsp;Of course, if the items being stolen are healthful items essential to the school lunch then this wouldn't work!<br />
<br />
Limiting the amount of students in the room is a great idea, also maybe have each child &quot;check in&quot; when they enter the lunchroom so you can keep track of who is inside.<br />
<br />
Good luck!<br />
Kelly<br />
> 60 days ago

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kiwi165513
kiwi165513 writes:
Hi Melanie<br />
<br />
I still go to school and i eat lunch, ofcourse...lol<br />
but anyways, we had a lot of thefts too. The staff countered this by handing out the sweets, fries, hamburgers etc behind a counter. also they brought more staff into the area to watch. oh and also you had to pay in order to get it. hope that helps.<br />
best of luck!!<br />
-kiwi<br />
> 60 days ago

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vanwekat
vanwekat writes:
I have tried several things. First student must place their trays down at the point of sale. This helps with holding items under their trays out of sight. We also have had problems with theft of french fries. We now serve a student a different colored lunch tray if they have ordered french fries for which they must pay extra for. I have placed all ala carte items close the the point of sale to try and stop them from putting them in their pockets. I have also had someone moniter the entrances to the serving area to limit the amount of students so that it is easier to watch for theft.
> 60 days ago

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shiv
shiv writes:
have a good book of manners of "how to eat food properly?"
> 60 days ago

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