Dad angry 11-year-old daughter spent $120 on junk food at middle school

Dad says district needs to better regulate lunches

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego, Calif., father is angry his daughter's school allowed her to buy $120 worth of junk food at lunch, and he's disappointed the school doesn't make sure she's eating healthy.

Bernardo Heights Middle School student Katie Brisoce, 11, admitted she's usually in the fastest line at school getting her favorites.

"Cinnamon rolls, Doritos, ice cream sandwich for $1," said Briscoe.

Her transaction history showed that on some days she was spending more than $6 at lunch on junk food. She blew through $120 in four weeks.

"I was like your lunch is $3 a day. There is no way that's possible," said her father, Edge Briscoe.

Briscoe was mad that the school let his daughter buy those foods.

"People watching this story at home are going to say it's up to you as a parent to make sure she's eating healthy," consumer reporter Cristin Severance said to Briscoe.

"I think that is true. However, I feel blindsided because when I started the year, there was no indication that this kind of food is available," said Briscoe.

New requirements for school meals by the USDA went into effect in August. Among some of the changes: students have to choose a 1/2 cup fruit and 1/2 vegetable with every lunch meal.

Schools also have to offer certain vegetables, including dark greens.

"Poway is meeting all these requirements and exceeding them as well," said Babre Lewis, director of Food and Nutrition at Poway Unified School District.

Lewis said cashiers make sure the students get the required fruit and veggies, but only in the regular lunch line.

Severance asked about the a la carte lines where Katie Briscoe buys her junk food.

"Well, we don't regulate that. We do, however, give parents the tools to do that," said Lewis.

Lewis said parents can go online and see what their kids are eating and limit their spending amount.

"We will not provide an unhealthy choice for the kids to choose from in Poway Unified School District," said Lewis.

When asked about the chips, cinnamon rolls and some of those a la carte items and if they would be considered junk food -- "It all depends on your definition," said Lewis.

Lewis went on to say all the food, even the a la carte items, meet federal standards.

Edge Briscoe wants the school to make it more clear to parents their kids can buy this food no matter what standards they meet.

"This is a passive way of dealing with this. They are not being proactive in teaching kids and parents this is healthy and this is not," said Briscoe.

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