Rotten pears, burned pizza, and fat-filled chicken patties and burgers. Those are just some of the unappetizing, often unhealthy lunch items being served to teens at Roosevelt High School on Chicago’s Northwest Side—and some of the students have had enough. Starting Wednesday, they plan to boycott the gross cafeteria food, and they have launched a petition demanding that lunch offerings be improved.

The effort, called “The School Lunch Project: Culinary Denial,” was created in November by civics students at the school. They hope to educate the public about the problem with the food they are being served and mobilize the 1,400 students at Roosevelt to stand up for better nutrition.

“I think it’s especially important for young people in Chicago—where we see so much corruption, cronyism, and nepotism—that they learn how to make change within large organizations,” Tim Meegan, a veteran social studies teacher at Roosevelt who supports the student-led effort, told WBEZ on Monday. “This is just one of many diverse tactics that we are trying to teach young people so they are fully equipped to participate as citizens in a democratic society.

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