Lance Cheung (USDA) via Flickr Creative Commons
A Harmony Hills Elementary School student enjoys his morning orange juice in Silver Spring, MD, on Friday, March 8, 2013.
Los Angeles Unified School District elementary and middle schools will begin serving breakfast in the classroom this April. So far, 500 schools already serve breakfasts, but a mandatory new program will require the rest of the district’s schools to introduce classroom breakfast -- no school can opt out.
Some parents and teachers are speaking out against the program, arguing that dedicating class time to meals and clean up distracts students. Other worry about allergies, dietary restrictions, and overeating, though LAUSD assures that no student will be forced to eat breakfast.
Many students qualify for free or reduced price meals, and LAUSD says attendance is up and tardiness is down in schools offering a breakfast in the classroom program.
Should LAUSD schools have mandatory classroom breakfast? What are the potential benefits or drawbacks to the new program? What’s the best way to make sure students eat before school?
Warren Fletcher, President, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA)
Dr. William McCarthy, professor, UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health; McCarthy specializes in nutrition and has devoted most of his 30-year career to intervention studies designed to encourage members of special populations to adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Jen Furmaniak, Parent of LAUSD student at Castle Heights elementary school