Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, May 30, 2002

School cafeteria helpers
need only regular TB tests

Question: At public schools on Oahu, students have to do cafeteria duty. Do students have to have TB tests to handle the food? And, if the students are vegetarians, are they required to handle meat? On the mainland, in the state I come from, they would never dream of such a thing. The only students who worked in cafeterias were paid and went through the health tests required for food service.

Answer: Students who do cafeteria duty are not required to have any additional health clearance beyond the TB tests that all students must take, said Greg Knudsen, spokesman for the state Department of Education.

"For those who would object to handling meat products, if they notify the cafeteria manager or the principal, other arrangements can be made," he said.

Title 8, Chapter 37-10, of the Board of Education's administrative rules deals specifically with student workers in cafeterias: "Students shall assist in the cafeteria as part of their duties in school services. Not more than one full day of cafeteria duty in any one month or more than a total of seven full days in one school year shall be required of any student. Any exception must be approved by the district superintendent."

Knudsen said cafeteria work is intended to provide students with a learning experience, to help them "interact with adults in a real-world work situation," as well as make a contribution to the school.

"It's not punishment, it's school service," said Eugene Kaneshiro, director of the DOE's School Food Services Branch.

He acknowledged some parents have complained about using their children for "slave labor," and they are advised to talk to the school principal. "It's (handled) at the school level," Kaneshiro said, "and principals have been managing it very well."

Accommodations can be made, especially if a child is not doing well academically and needs the class time, he said, or if the child has physical disabilities. Kaneshiro pointed out that students also help out in school libraries and administrative offices.

Beyond learning responsibility and contributing to the school, pulling cafeteria duty "is part of growing up and part of how Hawaii does its school lunch," he said.

Q: Is it OK for my son to go to the new skate park at Kamiloiki Park in Hawaii Kai? On one hand, I still see the construction barriers up, but on the other, I see the rink full of skaters. So is the skate park open to the general public?

A: No, the park will not officially be opened until July at the earliest.

"Apparently, the contractor has been allowing the inline hockey association to practice there, and that's what your reader is seeing," said Carol Costa, director of the city Department of Customer Services.

The contractor still has "finishing work" and landscaping to complete, she said. The probable completion date is around mid-July. Until the project is turned over to the city, the contractor has charge of the site, Costa said.


To all those people who could not wait patiently on Hunakai Street, waiting to make the right turn on Waialae to get on Kalanianaole Highway in the late afternoon of Monday, May 20. All of us were waiting patiently on Hunakai for our turn. Why couldn't the others wait, too, especially the man driving the green SUV, who was continually swearing in front of his young children? -- No Name


To Matthew of Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery, who gave me a ride when I encountered mechanical trouble with my vehicle on Moanalua Highway on May 2. He took me to Mapunapuna, where I was able to obtain some help and retrieve my vehicle. -- Reggie

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