Unhappy with a rising number of delivery executives of food-based apps bringing lunch for students during school hours, a Chennai school has asked parents not to order lunch for their wards through apps like Swiggy and Uber Eats.
The letter, sent by the principal of the school, and mailed to all parents of students from Classes 2 to 12 read: "It has been brought to our notice that parents order through Swiggy and Uber Eats for food to be delivered in school for their children, for various reasons, during lunch breaks. This will not be entertained and the ordered food will be sent back. The receptionist has been instructed not to accept these deliveries. Kindly note that the above is with immediate effect. Request compliance."
Speaking to TNM, the principal, who asked for the name of the school not to be disclosed, stated that the management and faculty had several concerns regarding the security of the school as well as the nutrition needs of the students.
"This is not a regular affair here. But we noticed this happening once or twice, which is why I decided to put a stop to it. Since children cannot bring phones to school, it is either their parents or other friends ordering food for them. This is why we decided to address the circular to the parents," the principal added.
The faculty members of the school first noticed that a large group of high school students had order food through these apps some days ago. Apart from this, multiple instances of delivery executives landing up at the school also prompted the management to take action.
"There is the question of security. I cannot let random people come to the school and deliver food as it poses an element of risk to both students, who are our responsibility, as well as teaching and the non-teaching staff," she said.
Another key concern was that of uniformity in school practices and to ensure equality at school.
"We have uniforms and other rules to ensure that every student if equal and there is parity. If we allow food delivery apps, there will be some students whose parents will not allow them to eat this food, there will be some who cannot afford every day and there will be students who will have easier access to app-based foods. This may create discrepancies which we want to avoid," she said.
The principal added that even during birthdays and special occasions, the school does not permit cutting of cakes or any kind of 'treating' inside the school and during classes. In addition to this, meeting the nutrition needs of students was also an important criterion behind asking parents to refrain from ordering via food-based apps.
"We generally discourage bringing junk food for lunch or snacks. Although we don't check lunch boxes, if we notice that children are bringing unhealthy food for lunch, we tell them not to do so. This is also why we want to avoid an influx of unhealthy food, which is facilitated by delivery apps," she added.
Food delivery apps cater to individual orders and do not track data of the delivery locations of each order. The information lies with the delivery executives who receive the location of the delivery directly.
Swiggy and Uber Eats were not available for comment.