The Vending Machine Dilemma

An inside look into what’s going on with the vending machines


Photo taken by Kennedy Brown

Kennadee Brown, Media Manager

Upon returning to school this year, Olathe East students found that vending machines had been closed during school hours. 

“I am not going to lie. People are furious. Please open the vending machines. People are starving,” senior Josh Sherman said.

According to Assistant Principal Kraig Taylor, the “determining factors were the increase of students during classes going to vending machines, and students being late to classes.” 

However, some students feel they are being punished for the actions of a few.

“I was never late to classes. The only class I did leave was advisory and only in a situation when all my work was completed, and I was hungry,” senior Ryleigh Stratton said.

While students are not happy about the decision, the administration believes it is helping.

“I have seen a decrease in tardies and fewer students in hallways because of closing vending machines,” Taylor said.

Discipline issues aren’t the only factors to consider. East has multiple diabetic students who use food to help regulate their condition. According to Taylor, those students with diabetes are aware of the situation regarding our vending machines. 

“It is frustrating for people with diabetes,” a senior student who wishes to remain anonymous said. “Personally, during low blood sugar, I can go to the nurse, but sometimes when the nurses’ offices do not have the needed snacks, I resort to going home to raise my blood sugar.”

Being hungry can affect any student’s ability to learn. According to No Kid Hungry, 80 percent of teachers say that students lose their ability to concentrate when they are hungry and 76 percent say hunger results in poor academic performance.

“I subscribed to the notion that students can’t learn when they are hungry, so if you have hungry students and you are asking them to learn, there need to be some means of food besides lunch. On Thursday, some lunches do not start until one,” English teacher Rachel Mulvihill said.

Students agree that the lack of opportunities to get food is problematic.

“It is frustrating because when I am hungry, I cannot grab a snack from our school, and what about kids with late lunches?” senior Aliyah Thompson said. “We cannot stop by the vending machines, and the only remaining factor of food is due to the teacher providing snacks for their class.” 

Mulvihill provided snacks last year but has slowed down the amount of food purchased due to the cost.  However, she claims she will keep providing until she runs out of money due to our students being in school for eight hours and hungry. 

Other students have mentioned they did not use the vending machines in the past but have complaints about other students.

Ava Ocasio claims, “I did not use them because of their high prices, but if I did, I would be angry.” 

 In our interview, we asked Taylor if they would open vending machines during lunch. Taylor responded, “The reasoning for not being able to open vending machines during lunch is accountability because Olathe schools cannot have anything competing against our schools’ lunch.” Olathe east has multiple diabetic students, and Taylor claims those peers with diabetes are aware of the situation regarding our vending machines. 

 Our staff is currently provided with a vending machine in their teachers’ lounge, and questions were asked. Rachel Mulvihill explained, “As far as I know, yes, the one in the main office is open during school hours.”