Should under-nourished students be allowed to eat in the classroom? The issue became a hot topic this week after Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy passed on making a decision, putting the future of a pilot breakfast program into the hands of the school board.
The program was launched last year after LAUSD discovered that only 29 percent of children eligible for free breakfast were eating before school in the cafeteria.
Nevertheless, teachers say that it takes away from instructional time and leaves a clean-up nightmare.
"This is another ridiculous thing that LAUSD has done. Other school districts serve breakfast before school. Kids that don't get there in time can have it at recess. There is absolutely no reason for students to eat breakfast in the classroom. It's a serious interruption to the instructional schedule. If LAUSD values student learning, they will protect the instructional schedule and establish a breakfast schedule like other school districts. Robyn Widmer I'm a public school teacher and I know that kids who eat breakfast are able to learn so much more than those who are hungry. Needs for food and safety come before the need for learning. Kids who are hungry or feel unsafe WON'T LEARN. I've taught children whose only meals were the free breakfast/lunch they got at school. It doesn't need to be during instructional time." —Diane Barkelew Wallace
"Teachers do not oppose the breakfast program. That is taking information out of context. But then again, isn't that what politicians do? Teachers only disagree with breakfast being served in the classroom once the class day has begun. It used to be served in the cafeteria just before school and again at recess for those who did not arrive early. Yes, breakfast belongs in the cafeteria." —Maria Ruvalcaba
"The breakfast is unhealthy. It is loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. Today they gave the kids burritos for breakfast and for lunch. They serve a type of bread everyday. Most students don't eat the breakfast. It goes to waste and it cuts into valuable instructional time. Moreover, the teachers are left to clean the mess and the students have to carry the heavy bags up the stairs. We agree that breakfast is important, however why shod it he served in the classroom when there was already a working system in place? Please don't judge is teachers until you have experienced breakfast in the classroom. I agree, children should have breakfast but not in the classroom." —Javier Gonzalez
"As an LAUSD teacher serving breakfast in the classroom I can confirm that it is served during instructional time AND it causes a mess that teachers have to clean. Due to budget cuts, custodial staff has been cut so teachers are left doing this job. Although it's inconvenient and disrupts regular instructional time, I support the program because I know that a hungry student is a distracted student who isn't prepared to learn. We must do what we can with what we have. The union has a valid point and I'm sure we can come to a reasonable solution if we put politics aside and put the needs of the students first. " —Kriss Hughes
"I don't have an issue with it but I do have an issue w/ cutting our custodial staff (we have 1 custodian for 900 kids), and many of the kids had breakfast already and now having a second breakfast. I don't mind it but I do mind that there is no support and the food is marginal at best. Soooo much gets thrown away, shameful." —Sheryl Lynn Robyn
"This breakfast is served to ALL students. The family's economic situation is not being considered. My second graders have missed out on instruction while I pass out the food, check off who received it, send those who spilt to the office to get clean clothes, mop up spills with paper towels I bring from home... I can go on. Before, those who could not afford breakfast at home came early and ate in the cafeteria. I ask, what was wrong with that? We would also offer a snack at recess for those who did not get to school in time for breakfast. The food that is thrown out everyday due to this program is shameful. no breakfast in classroom" —Mary Lifland