[Multimedia] Raccoon eats all chips in vending machine on campus, adding to increasing issues with machines at MSD

Kate Becker, Senior News Editor

On the night of Tuesday, Jan. 10, head custodian Eduardo Suarez received a text informing him a raccoon was found on campus eating all the chips in the vending machine, spotted by Athletic Director Albert Guzzo during a game on campus. Unable to do anything at 11 p.m., Suarez returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the next day, evaluated the situation and informed the front office the vending machine company needed to be called.

Administrative Support Assistant Lisa Sibila phoned the company who reported to the scene Jan. 11 during first period. Gilly’s Vending, the current vending machine company MSD uses, sent a representative to deal with removing the raccoon. The school is not responsible for paying for the snacks that were eaten.

After the representative unloacked the machine for custodial, custodians Raul Bermudez and Christopher Deberry carefully removed the raccoon with a broom, not hurting the animal at all in the process.

Guidance counselor Melanie Taylor was present in the hallway and recorded a video of the raccoon in the machine.

“We were walking by and maintenance was working on the vending machine. We asked what they were doing and they told us a raccoon was in the vending machine,” Taylor said. “It took from about 8:32 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. for them to slowly urge the raccoon out of the machine with the pole. I appreciated their constant concern to make sure no students got close during this process at class changes and that they did not harm the animal.”

It is unknown how the raccoon was able to enter the machine, possibly through the compartment close to the ground where snacks fall after purchasing; however, this is just one of the increasing problems students and teachers have been having over vending machines on campus.

When students insert their money to buy a snack, sometimes after they click the option they want, no snack comes out and students have no way to get their money back. Others complain about the fact the machine is not restocked frequently and the options they like are not there.

“I put my money in last week, and it took my dollar but nothing came out. I put another dollar in and it finally came out, but I had to pay twice for one item,” junior Emma Hershenson said. “I’m very upset with the current vending machines we have and hope they are replaced or fixed.”

Further, the machine hijacked by the raccoon is located by the gym and is currently considered “out of order.” Unfortunately, Assistant Principal Lisa Farris, who handles vending machines, said this is considered one of the more popular vending machines students use when getting snacks, shrinking current options further.

Farris met with Deborah McGlamery, district manager of Gilly’s Vending, on Wednesday, Jan. 18 to inspect the machines that need to be fixed, including the machine the raccoon got into. It is unknown if or when the repairs will be made.

Collectively due to these reasons, Farris has put together a committee of teachers and students in Student Government to meet about changing companies.

“We are looking into the possibility of a new vending machine company after various complaints by students and teachers,” Farris said.

Broward County Public School’s has three vending machine companies approved for the use of schools throughout the district; Compass Group and Bettoli Trading.

On Friday, Jan. 20, the committee will meet with all three companies who will give proposals as to why they are the best option for MSD. Gilly’s Vending will reinforce why they should continue to be the company MSD uses.

The Eagle Eye will provide updates as to whether MSD changes vending machine companies.