As a number of students across the country have grappled with the challenges of the school lunch program, there is an innovative program being championed by Devetrion Caldwell. He is a Douglas County School board member serving district 1. As an example to other schools in the state, Mr. Caldwell has ensured that children in his county do not have to worry about school lunch, they are more able to focus on learning. As he explains, the process began the moment he took office in 2016. A concerned parent contacted me regarding our policy regarding student lunch. The policy allowed students to obtain their lunch and proceed to the checkout which gave the specter that all is well. If students did not have the available funds, their lunch would be taken and the student would be offered an alternative such as a PB&J sandwich. This system would have allowed students to be humiliated and create an environment of anxiety for the students involved. Mr. Caldwell got involved to alleviate student and parent worries about something as miniscule as lunch. He spoke with the outgoing superintendent and expressed his concerns and began exploring possible solutions. As for the outgoing superintendent, he was met with a wall of indifference, but he continued to pursue the goal. Shortly after hiring Superintendent Trent North, he mentioned his concerns for the existing policy. His ultimate goal was to ensure every child is treated fairly and with dignity. Superintendent North and Chairwoman Tracy Rookard-Shaw were completely on board. What became of this meeting was the initiative, All Students Must Eat Program, a practice that was already in place for elementary and middle school students. This program should become the gold standard of every school board throughout the state. Mr. Caldwell has brought progress and made history in Douglas County.
Devetrion D. Caldwell, the Douglas County Board of Education’s newest member, spent most of his K-12 educational time as a student in the Douglas County School System and is a Class of 2009 Temple High School graduate. He is the youngest person ever elected locally to the board and is perhaps one of the youngest elected to any school board in Georgia. Creating programs such as these are certainly gaining him recognition across Douglas County and perhaps the state. Mr. Caldwell was elected to the Douglas County School Board in 2016 beating out a Republican opponent by over 600 votes.