Why Some Students Are Unhappy With NYC's New Vegan Fridays

One of Eric Adams' earliest initiatives as New York City mayor was making a major change to public school lunch menus by instituting a Vegan Fridays program. This is an expansion on the schools' existing policy of meatless Mondays and Fridays, per ABC. While Fridays' main meals will now be vegan instead of vegetarian, there will still be non-vegan options, as school cafeterias are required by USDA guidelines to offer milk.

Adams' initiative has often been met with praise, as was the case in an opinion piece written by a group of dieticians, nutritionists, and plant-based food advocates for the Gotham Gazette. The point they make is that eating a diet more focused on unprocessed plant foods can improve one's health, a valuable lesson for young students as they form eating habits to carry into adulthood. Schools will continue to offer vegans options every day of the week in case any students get hooked on plant-based meals — though it doesn't sound like that will be the case for all young diners.

Some students just want to eat meat

Among the people actually eating New York City schools' Vegan Friday meals — the students — there has been some discontent. "I like meat more," one student explained to Fox News. Another claimed that "vegetarian options are not always the best quality." Some believe that the only way to consume a satisfying amount of protein is through animal products.

Others had a different message: "Invest more money in schools," one young New Yorker said, presumably referring to a funding issue affecting New York City public schools. Mayor Adams recently revealed a plan that would reduce the budgets of schools that have enrolled fewer students since the pandemic's beginning, reports Spectrum News. Many parents and teachers have protested the policy, as it would leave many schools with fewer resources to finance student programming. According to some critics, it seems, schools have bigger priorities than Vegan Fridays.