Tennessee students find bugs in school cafeteria meals

Several students who found bugs in their meals at a Tennessee middle school were instructed to write notes to the cafeteria staff to express what they were thankful for, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

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Parents attended a meeting of the Monroe County School Board on Thursday night, hoping to address the discovery of what officials called flour mites in granola bars on Tuesday and bugs in blackberries during a Thursday breakfast session, the newspaper reported.

The incidents took place at Madisonville Middle School. On Tuesday, Brandy Shubert said her daughter, Madison Smith, sent a video of insects or maggots crawling in her granola, the News Sentinel reported.

"She starts zooming in and it's maggots. What in the world? How can someone feed children maggots," Shubert told WBIR.

On Thursday, another student at the middle school recorded video of a bug in his blackberries as he ate the school-provided breakfast, the television station reported.

"I was just blindsided by this video that I saw today," the boy's mother, Misty Neal, told WBIR.

Shubert and Neal attended Thursday's school board meeting but were cut off by members when they tried to bring up the incidents. Members told the parents that the issued had "been addressed" and would not be discussed further because it was not on the school board agenda, the News Sentinel reported.

"They said they contacted the distributor and the health department has already been out there, and that's all they can do," Shubert told the newspaper. "We were not happy with that answer and so we told them we would go further with the issues and contact the state health department again."

School board Chairwoman Janie Harrill told the News Sentinel on Friday that the steps were taken to handle the issue.

“We’ve done everything that we possibly can to answer to this situation,” Harrill said before hanging up, the newspaper reported.

Monroe County Schools Director Tim Blankenship said Friday that school officials believed the incidents were an isolated problem.

Shubert showed the News Sentinel a photo her daughter sent from class, showing assignments written on a classroom whiteboard.

The board instructs students, after finishing a math assignment, to "write a letter to the cafeteria ladies" and "use descriptive language" to say what the students are thankful for.

"We are making an effort to be positive," the note said.

"It's like they are bullying our kids," Shubert told the News Sentinel.

Shubert and Neal said their children will take their meals from home from now on, WBIR reported.

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